Hurricane Ian Insurance Claim Lawyers
When hurricane Ian swept through Florida in September 2022, it left a lot of destruction on its path. It was the deadliest hurricane to sweep through Florida since 1935, and it destroyed homes and businesses and even left over a hundred people dead as it slammed the South East coast.
Hurricane Ian devastated communities and properties in Port Charlotte, Bradenton, Sarasota, Naples, Bonita Springs, Punta Gorda, Cape Coral and Fort Myers, causing an estimated $50 and $65 billion in insured damages.
If your home or property suffered damage as a result of the hurricane, you may be eligible for compensation from your insurance company. However, as straightforward as it may sound, dealing with the aftermath of a hurricane of such magnitude can be overwhelming. You may not know where to begin or where to get the guidance, or you already have but find dealing with insurance companies frustrating or even confusing.
Luckily, hurricane Ian insurance claim lawyers at Leader, Leader, & Zucker, PLLC can help you with any delays, denials, and underpayments by insurance companies. Right after the hurricane, home and business property owners overloaded their insurance companies with claims. It would not be unusual if you have had difficulty reaching anyone on the phone, getting an appointment with your adjuster, or dealing with the losses and interruptions of your life.
At Leader, Leader, & Zucker, PLLC, we can help you file a claim if you have homeowner’s insurance. It is your right to have the insurance company adjust and pay your dues promptly. Considering how extensive hurricane Ian’s damage was, it may take a lot of time to rebuild and give your daily life some sense of normalcy.
The whole point of having homeowner’s insurance is to cater to moments like these – when you need all the support you can get to pay for repairs and restore utilities. As your hurricane Ian insurance claim lawyers, we may save you from the stress and red tape that may hinder or delay the insurance company from paying you the settlement you deserve.
Why Homeowners Face Difficulties With Insurance Claims after Hurricane Ian
According to ABC Action News, victims of hurricane Ian across Florida have struggled with insurance claims payouts. Only those who sought legal help and assistance from public adjusters have made some progress in dealing with insurance companies. The report points an accusing finger at insurance companies who acted unfairly to the hurricane victims they insured barely a week after the hurricane tore through the state.
Many homeowners have had a difficult time getting their insurers to pay up. Unfortunately, hurricane Ian hit Florida as the state faces an insurance crisis due to an ongoing problem of availability and affordability of insurance. This is because the policyholders in Florida pay the highest property insurance rates in the country.
Even before hurricane Ian shredded up the state, many insurance companies were already facing insolvency, and the hurricane only compounded the problems with insurance the state is facing. Many property insurers are already on the financial edge, and claims from the hurricane could push them over into bankruptcy. The billions in losses, overwhelming claims by homeowners, rampant litigation, and unknown cases of fraud have already forced six insurers into bankruptcy.
So, how do insurers respond to these challenges? Many choose to deny claims, underpay policyholders, or buy time with pointless delays. Just two months after hurricane Ian, policyholders filed over 1 million claims. According to Florida Office ir.com, insurance companies can deny as many as 1 in each three claims.
Reasons Why Your Hurricane Ian Insurance Claim Can Be Denied
Insurance companies deny hurricane Ian insurance claims for many reasons. In many situations, if you are affected by hurricanes but are unsure whether your policy covers the damage, the right action is to consult hurricane Ian insurance claim denial lawyers. At Leader, Leader & Zucker, PLLC, we will review your policy to determine what it covers and help you work out how much your insurer is required to pay.
It is critical that you understand the fine print of your policy even before you file a claim with the insurance company. This will help you know whether the insurer denied your claim legitimately or in bad faith. Here are six main reasons why your insurance companies may deny your claim.
1. Your Insurance Policy Does Not Cover Floods
The standard homeowner’s insurance policy in Florida may cover hurricanes but does not cover flooding. The most common reason that most homeowners’ claims are denied is that their policies do not cover the damages caused by floods.
A hurricane is defined as a tropical storm with high-speed winds. The definition does not cover the floods that result from the storm itself. Therefore, insurance companies justify their denial by insisting that they only pay for claims that include flooding in the policy.
In hindsight, coverage for people who live in places prone to flooding is provided by the National Flood Insurance Program. This government-backed insurance coverage includes people in specific flood zones. Unfortunately, as hurricane Ian’s storms intensified, the covered flooding extended beyond the mapped flood zones. If your home was damaged by floods and you did not have flood insurance, the damage caused by the floods is not covered.
Insurance companies may pay more promptly to homeowners with a standard insurance policy whose homes suffered wind damage. In most policies, however, a provision excluding any damage caused by flood water if the home was flooded is included. This is a complicated scenario considering how difficult it can be to distinguish which damages were caused by the storm and rain and which were a result of the floods.
Having your insurance policy scrutinized by an experienced hurricane and flood damage attorney is the surest way to ensure you file a claim for the right damages. Insurance companies and adjusters will always try to make determinations that favor them the most. Considering that water damage is the costliest aspect of hurricane Ian’s damages, a hurricane damage claim attorney is best placed to assess the damages and help you file a claim that distinguishes hurricane and rain damages from flood damages to minimize the chances of a denial.
2. You Did Not Submit Your Insurance Claim on Time
There is a standard claims process for submitting your hurricane insurance claim.
First, take the time to document the state of your home as soon as possible. Take pictures of the damage, paying close attention to the areas you need insurance to cover, such as wall and roof damage.
Secondly, you will need to make a list of all the damaged items, including the makes, models, and serial numbers of the items, where possible.
The next step is to file the actual claim. Be sure to inform the insurer that the damage is from hurricane Ian. The insurer may make recommendations on what measures you should take to stop further damage as they send adjusters to assess your property.
Insurers were overwhelmed with claims immediately after the hurricane. In some cases, you may have filed your claim in time, but it got lost in all the paperwork. Documents get lost, and mistakes sometimes happen, but this should not be a reason for the insurer to deny your claim. If you failed to submit your claim or inform the insurer of the hurricane damage in a timely manner, they may be justified to deny your claim.
If you believe your claim was denied erroneously for reasons such as you failed to submit forms in time when you did, you must reach out to a Leader, Leader, & Zucker law firm immediately. We will go above and beyond to follow up with your claim, file the right supporting documentation, and help you get a fair settlement for the hurricane damage.
3. Your Insurance Cover Has Lapsed
Did you pay all your insurance premiums on time without missing a single payment? Have you checked to ensure that you renewed your policy and that it is active? If the answer to any of these questions is a no, then you may have no insurance claim to make.
However, if both answers are yes and your homeowner’s insurance policy is active, this should not be a reason for the company to deny your claim. Insurance companies, like anyone else, make mistakes sometimes, and it is not uncommon for them to lose files or mix up policyholder information.
If you believe your insurance policy is active and premiums up to date, yet the insurance company claims that you do not have coverage, you should contact Leader, Leader, & Zucker, PLLC. As hurricane Ian insurance claim denial lawyers, we may help you file your insurance claim with the necessary documents that prove the validity of your insurance coverage.
4. Missed Claim Deadlines
As a homeowner and a victim of hurricane Ian, it is your responsibility to notify the insurance company of any and all damages as soon as possible. Following the standard claiming process, the burden of providing proof of the damage also rests on you. The insurance company needs this information to make a decision about your claim, and if you fail to provide it in time, they may deny your claim.
However, just because your claim was denied is insufficient reason to give up seeking your rightful settlement. Hurricane Ian upset and disrupted the lives of many people. In some cases, it took days or even weeks before homeowners could get back to their homes to assess the damage to your property and prepare documentation for the insurer.
Contact hurricane Ian homeowner’s insurance claim denial lawyers at Leader, Leader, & Zucker, PLLC, as soon as possible if your claim is denied due to missed deadlines. The sooner you get help with this denial, the better your chances that the insurance company will pay your claim.
5. Failing to Protect Your Home After the Hurricane
This cannot be emphasized enough: As soon as you document the damage of the hurricane and contact the insurance company, one of the first things they will do is advise you to protect your home from further damage. From this point, it is your duty to secure your home from any more damage from the elements or people. For instance, you may need to board up broken windows, close off broken water pipes, and turn off utilities.
Unfortunately, many people couldn’t get back to their property in good time after the hurricane to put up these protections. For instance, the hurricane swept off bridges, floods prevented travel, and bad weather persisted for days. If the insurance company denies your claim because of damages after the storm, contact hurricane Ian insurance claim denial lawyers at Leader, Leader, & Zucker, PLLC to argue your case.
6. Insurer Acting in Bad Faith
You have probably come across many homeowners accusing insurance companies of denying their claims in bad faith. Insurance companies are obligated to honor your insurance contract and pay legitimate claims fairly and promptly. However, cases of insurance companies intentionally misrepresenting stakeholders’ policies, failing to investigate claims, or outrightly denying a claim based on flimsy reasons are rampant.
If your insurance company has denied your claim in bad faith, the insurance claims lawyers at Leader, Leader, & Zucker, PLLC, may be able to help you. Since a homeowner’s insurance policy is a legally binding document, we will scrutinize the terms and the reason for the claim denial and appeal it on legal grounds.
Let Leader, Leader, & Zucker, PLLC Help You with Your hurricane Ian Insurance Claim
As a homeowner with an active and valid insurance policy, the law protects you from a claim denial, delay, and underpayment. The Florida homeowner’s claim bill of rights details the three most important rights you need to exercise as a homeowner who suffered damages from hurricane Ian:
- Your insurance company must acknowledge your claim within 14 days of making a claim.
- Your insurance company must inform you, within 30 days of submitting proof of loss forms, whether your claim is denied, under investigation, or covered. If your claim is covered, it must specify whether the settlement covers the damages fully or partially.
- Your insurance company must pay the claim in full, pay any disputed amount in the claim, or notify you that the claim was denied within 90 days of submitting the proof of loss forms.
No homeowner should struggle with rebuilding their home, especially when properly insured. The law is on your side if you file your claim and it is delayed, denied, or you do not agree with the insurance company’s settlement amount.
The hurricane Ian insurance claim lawyers at Leader, Leader, & Zucker, PLLC, can help you appeal your claim. Whether your claim was denied or the payment was delayed, taking quick and decisive legal action may be the only way to get the insurance company to meet its obligations to you. Call us at 954-466-1413 today for a free consultation and claim review, or go to leader-law.com for additional information.
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Leader & Leader, P.A. was founded and is operated with the fundamental principles of innovation, skill, experience, knowledge, aggressiveness and most importantly, personal attention to all of its clients, no matter how much is necessary for their particular matter. The firm has over seventy-five (75) years of experience amongst its partners, all of whom have dedicated themselves to that art of winning!
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