According to the Insurance Information Institute, in 2018 alone, there were 18 named storms in the Atlantic, with eight storms becoming hurricanes. Hurricanes Florence and Michael were the two most destructive hurricanes, with Florence resulting in an estimated $2.5 billion to $5 billion in damages, while damage from Michael was estimated to be anywhere from $6 billion to $8 billion. Insurance losses from Michael alone were an estimated $6.2 billion dollars. While modelers predict that the 2019 Atlantic hurricane season might produce fewer hurricanes, it can be very difficult to predict where major storms might hit and where the most damage may occur. Being prepared for Florida’s hurricane season is key.
As the 2019 hurricane season begins in Florida, homeowners, business owners, and government agencies are taking steps to prepare. Hurricanes and tropical storms can destroy or damage your home or business property. Do you have the right kind of insurance to protect you in the event of a storm? Do you live in a flood zone? Do you know what your deductibles are? Do you know whether the items in your home are covered for cash value or replacement cost? Do you know what to do after a storm hits? The answers to these questions can mean the difference of thousands or tens of thousands of dollars when the time comes to make an insurance claim.
When homeowners or business owners make insurance claims after a storm, there are several reasons why homeowners and business owners might disagree with adjusters about the value of their claims. Sometimes this is due to a misunderstanding about what is and isn’t covered by a given policy and sometimes this might be due to the fact that adjusters may make errors. If you need assistance with an insurance claim, contact Leader, Leader, & Zucker, PLLC, hurricane and tropical storm insurance claims lawyers in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Why is the Settlement I’m Receiving for my Insurance Claim Lower Than Expected?
There are several reasons why your insurance settlement for hurricane or tropical storm damage might be lower than you expected. If, after asking your insurance adjuster why your settlement is lower than expected, you still don’t understand why you aren’t receiving more money or still have questions about your settlement, consider speaking to Leader, Leader, & Zucker, PLLC, insurance claims lawyers for hurricanes and tropical storms in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Here are some reasons why your claim might be lower:
• Your insurance doesn’t cover flood damage. If you live in a flood zone and don’t have flood damage coverage, standard homeowner’s insurance generally doesn’t cover flood damage. Or, if you don’t live in a flood zone and your home was damaged due to flooding, and you don’t have flood coverage, this kind of damage may not be covered by your policy, and you may be responsible for these costs out of pocket. As hurricane season approaches, now is a good time to check to see whether you have flood damage. Even if you don’t live in a flood zone, you may still want to purchase flood insurance coverage. Many flood maps are out of date. If you live in a hurricane-prone area, flood coverage may be a good idea.
• Your insurance has a higher deductible than you expected. The deductible is the amount of money you have to pay out of pocket before your coverage kicks in. Sometimes homeowners might find themselves shocked to learn what their deductibles are. Before hurricane season starts, you may want to check what your deductibles are and make sure you can afford them, or consider increasing your coverage to lower your deductibles.
• Your insurance only covers cash value rather than replacement cost for damaged items. Actual cash value insurance will only give you a settlement for the value of items including depreciation. Replacement value will give you enough money to buy a new replacement item. You may be able to negotiate with adjusters regarding the actual cash value of some items if you can prove that items of similar age, make, and model are on sale in your area for a higher amount than your insurance is offering. If you disagree with the value your adjusters are offering, Leader, Leader, & Zucker, PLLC are insurance claims lawyers in Fort Lauderdale, Florida who may be able to assist you with your claim.
• Your adjuster is using formulas or computer programs that may be undervaluing your claim. In the aftermath of a hurricane or tropical storm, insurance adjusters may be overworked or companies may need to hire adjusters on contract to take on the additional workload. Adjusters may use computer programs to estimate the value of your claim and these programs may not always account for local demand, local costs, or for custom work you may need to have done on your home. How adjusters enter the damage into these programs can make a difference in the settlement amount that is estimated. If the settlement you are being offered doesn’t add up to what contractors are estimating, consider speaking to your insurance adjuster about this difference. If this doesn’t work, consider reaching out to Leader, Leader, & Zucker, PLLC, insurance claims lawyers in Fort Lauderdale, Florida today.
• Denied claims. If your insurance company denies a claim outright, this may be because you aren’t covered, but sometimes this is due to insurance bad faith. Homeowners and business owners may sometimes not understand the fine print of their policies. If your claim is being denied due to insurance bad faith, Leader, Leader, & Zucker, PLLC are insurance claims lawyers who may be able to help you.
These are just some of the reasons why your insurance company might deny a claim. Navigating the claims process can be challenging. If you have questions about your rights, contact Leader, Leader, & Zucker, PLLC today. Our Fort Lauderdale, Florida hurricane and tropical storm insurance claims lawyers may be able to help you.
Need Help with a Tropical Storm or Hurricane Claim?
The aftermath of a hurricane or tropical storm can be a confusing time. Your home might be damaged. Power might be out for days or weeks at a time. You may not know what steps you might need to take to make a claim, or if you have made a claim, and the settlement being offered isn’t what you expect, you may not always know what your rights are. Leader, Leader, & Zucker, PLLC are hurricane and tropical storm insurance claims lawyers in Fort Lauderdale, Florida who can read over your insurance policy, help you understand your rights, and assist you with taking the next steps to get the settlement you may deserve under the law.