According to the Miami Herald, over 20,000 Hurricane Michael insurance claims remain unpaid. The Florida Bar notes that insurance companies have up to 90 days to deny or accept your claim after you report damage to the insurance company. Why then are so many Hurricane Michael claims unpaid so many months after the storm hit Florida? According to the Miami Herald, many of the unpaid claims are claims made by individuals who may have only recently discovered damage to their homes or property stemming from Hurricane Michael. Other individuals may have been aware of the damage, but may not have been aware that the damage was covered by insurance.
According to the Florida Bar, homeowners generally have an obligation to tell their homeowner’s insurance company about a loss as soon as they become aware of the issue. They have a responsibility to protect their home from sustaining further damage by either tarping a damaged roof or by covering a damaged window. Homeowners also have a responsibility to keep accurate records of repairs and their costs and to provide documentation requested to the insurance company. However, sometimes disputes and issues can arise as this process unfolds. Sometimes homeowners and insurance adjusters disagree about the value of a loss. Sometimes insurance companies claim that damage stems from preventable losses. This can lead to a longer and more drawn out claims process.
If you are still struggling to close a Hurricane Michael insurance claim in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, now might be the time to seek the help of a hurricane insurance claim lawyer like Leader, Leader, & Zucker, PLLC. Our firm can review your claim, review your policy, and help you take the next steps to finally get your claim closed. If you only recently discovered damage or only recently learned you have coverage, you may also want to speak to Leader, Leader, & Zucker, PLLC, because reopening a claim or making a claim longer after a storm has hit can sometimes be complex. USAttorneys.com can connect you with Leader, Leader, & Zucker, PLLC today.
Florida Law and the Three Year Time Limit to Report Windstorm Damage
Under Florida Statute 627.70132, homeowners have three years from a hurricane’s landfall to report a hurricane claim and to report wind damage. Most insurance companies require homeowners to provide immediate notice of any damage following a hurricane. However, there are situations where homeowners may need to use this three year window. For example, some types of windstorm damage may not be immediately apparent right after a storm. Another reason why a homeowner may need to reopen a claim can be if the insurance adjuster failed to properly investigate a claim and missed damage to the home during its initial investigation. Sometimes the issue can also stem from contractors missing damage, or issues where homeowners need to hire new contractors to fix errors due to managed home repairs.
When making a claim or reopening a claim long after a storm has hit, you may have to prove to a court or jury that there were good reasons why you didn’t initially identify the windstorm damage, good reasons why you delayed in making a claim, and good reasons why you need to reopen the claim. You may need to hire engineers and experts to look at the damage to your home and show that the damage is related to the hurricane. You may also need to clearly explain why you didn’t make the claim earlier. However, if you can prove in court that your reasons for reopening the claim or delaying in making the claim are reasonable, you may be able to make a claim for a hurricane that has happened within the last three years, including Hurricane Michael. Leader, Leader, & Zucker, PLLC are hurricane insurance claims lawyers in Fort Lauderdale, Florida who may be able to assist you with a claim that may need to be reopened.
Types of Windstorm Damage That May Not Be Immediately Apparent After a Storm
Not all types of windstorm damage will be immediately apparent after a hurricane. This is why it is important to get your home thoroughly assessed by an expert after a storm, especially if other parts of your home have sustained damage. But even if your home looks intact, it may be wise to get your roof checked out, especially if other homes in your area suffered roof damage. A professional can look closely at your roofs and windows and determine whether they have been damaged and need repair. However, if you think your home isn’t damaged, but later experience a leak or other problems with you roof, you may hire a roofer later who may then inform you that high winds caused your shingles to get unglued, or exposed your roof to the elements. If this is the case, you may still have the right to open a homeowner’s insurance claim. Leader, Leader, & Zucker, PLLC are hurricane insurance claim lawyers in Fort Lauderdale, Florida who may be able to help you with your delayed, reopened, or newly discovered losses related to Hurricane Michael insurance claims.