Water Damage Defense
Florida Water Damage Claims Lawyers
Water damage after a hurricane or a similar disaster is every Florida homeowner’s worst nightmare. You won’t have to worry about covering the cost of water damage out-of-pocket if you have an insurance policy for your home or business. Nonetheless, recovering compensation can be challenging.
An insurance company may try to blame you for the water damage or drag its feet when paying your compensation. They know too well that a successful compensation claim is bad for business, so they can try everything possible to undercut you.
For this reason, you need a skilled Florida attorney when filing hurricane insurance claims.
The water damage lawyers Florida at Leader, Leader & Zucker, PLLC have the experience, skills, resources, and aggressiveness to defend your rights and ensure your insurance company does what’s required of it—paying your water damage claim.
Causes of Water Damage in Florida
The Sunshine State is renowned for its regular storms and Hurricanes, and homes and businesses are constantly at risk of water damage. Most home and business owners insure their properties to protect themselves from the financial repercussions of adverse weather conditions. Water damage insurance claims in Florida typically result from:
- Severe storms and hurricanes.
- Leaks from windows, doors, or roofs.
- Storm surges and flooding from lakes and rivers.
- Faulty appliances or plumbing pipes.
- Sewer backups.
You may be entitled to compensation if you have water damage coverage as part of your insurance policy and your home or business suffers water damage. In this regard, you should understand the damages covered by insurance companies in Florida, the claims you can make, and how to file your compensation claim.
Water Damage Claims in Florida
As is elsewhere, water damage insurance claims in Florida can be complex. For starters, water damage is costly to repair and can significantly hinder your daily activities, besides posing a health risk to you and your loved ones. A recent report highlighted that water damage claims in Florida rank after a tropical storm, hurricane, and hail damage.
Insurance policies are difficult to navigate, especially when filing a claim for the first time. That is where water damage lawyers in Florida come in. They can help you review your insurance policy, determine how much you’re owed, and file a water damage claim on your behalf.
Types of Water Damage Covered by Insurance
A water damage claim in Florida gets perceived in two ways. It can either cover gradual water damage or accidental and sudden water damage. Homeowners insurance typically covers sudden water damage, including hurricanes, but does not extend to gradual damage.
Thus, whether your claim will be paid or rejected depends on the source and types of water damage. Here’s a low-down of the damage types covered by insurance policies:
Your homeowners’ insurance covers damage from burst water pipes in your home. Nonetheless, you can only get compensated if the water damage occurred unintentionally. Burt pipes and the water damage stemming from intentional acts can’t get compensated. For instance, the insurance company won’t pay you if you turn off the heat intentionally, causing your water pipes to freeze and burst.
Water Damage After a Fire
Your insurance policy also covers water damage resulting from the use of fire-fighting equipment like sprinklers and extinguishers.
Typically, homeowners’ insurance covers water damage resulting from roof leaks. Nonetheless, if your home’s roof gets damaged in a storm, you’ll need to repair the roof immediately to prevent water damage. You may not be able to file a claim if you fail to repair it early to stem the damage.
Water damage caused by faulty appliances like washing machines and dishwashers is also covered under your homeowners’ insurance policy.
What Damages Are Excluded?
Although different forms of water damage are covered under your homeowners’ insurance policy, the coverage has limitations. Here are the damages that aren’t covered:
Water Damage Caused by Negligence
Suppose you detect a leak in your plumbing system but fail to repair it early. If the leak causes severe damage to other parts of your home and you file a water damage claim, the chances are it will get declined. In this case, the insurance company can deny your claim on the basis of negligence.
Water Damage from Earthquakes
Although earthquakes are rare in Florida, you can’t get compensated for water damage from this disaster. You’ll need to have earthquake insurance coverage. In this case, the policy will cover any water damage caused by an earthquake.
Your claim can be rejected if the damage is deemed intentional. For instance, damaging your home’s plumbing system on purpose can lead to water damage. Since that’s an intentional act, you won’t get compensated for the damage.
Hurricanes and Tsunamis
Generally, homeowners’ insurance policies in Florida don’t cover claims related to water damage from hurricanes and storms. Even so, such claims are categorized under sudden water damage. To receive compensation for the damage, you should consider having a separate insurance cover. Nonetheless, you may still be eligible for compensation under the National Flood Insurance Program.
Filing a Compensation Claim for Water Damage in Florida
Insurance law in Florida is complicated, especially in compensation claims related to water damage. If you suffer water damage, you should take the necessary steps to ensure that your insurer doesn’t have a reason to deny your claim. That said, here are the steps to take:
Assess the Water Damage
The first step to take when you notice water damage on your property is to assess it thoroughly. You may not unearth the extent of damage, but it will give you an idea of the source. It’s equally advisable to contact a professional to inspect the water damage and determine its extent.
Working with a professional assessor comes in handy when you need to prove the extent and cost of the water damage to the insurance company. After filing a claim, your insurer will send an adjuster to assess the damage. Nonetheless, adjusters are always biased in favor of the company.
Having your inspector on the ground when the adjuster visits will ensure you do not get undercut when you file a claim. An independent assessor also knows where to check and how to document all the damage.
Notify Other Affected Parties
If the water damage extends beyond your property, it’s best to contact other affected parties. That’s particularly true if the damage was caused by a public facility. In this case, notify the relevant authorities within the required timeframe so that the necessary repairs are done. For instance, inform your landlord if you are a tenant on the affected property.
Review Your Policy
Before you consider filing a claim, you should ask yourself, is the water damage covered by my insurance policy? It’s essential to know what your insurance policy covers or excludes. Moreover, you may want to know whether the cause of the water damage is covered or not. Before filing a claim, you should also consider whether there is a deductible on your insurance policy or other limitations or requirements on your policy.
Contact Your Insurance Company
You shouldn’t wait for too long before you contact your insurance company. Water damage tends to worsen if left unchecked, so waiting too long means risking further issues. Besides, your insurance policy may cover damage from specific perils rather than damage resulting from delayed repairs. Contacting the company early enough means you’ll get compensated early and undertake the repairs on time.
Undertake Emergency Repairs
Some forms of water damage can’t wait for insurance adjusters to come by for assessments. A case in point is when the plumbing pipes in your home burst, sending jets of water into the property. Don’t hesitate to contact a repair company if emergency repairs are required. It will be easier to control the initial damage before it morphs into further damage not covered by your insurance policy.
Keep Maintenance Records
It’s a no-brainer that you won’t get compensated if you lose your property’s maintenance records. In this regard, keep the maintenance records for all repairs and cleanup done on your property. It will prove that the damage wasn’t caused by a lack of maintenance.
When repairing the water damage, the maintenance records can also prove that you have met your deductibles, if any. Furthermore, it will be easy to prove how much you’ve paid for the repairs if your insurance company is reimbursing your costs.
Keep Your Damaged Items
Proof of water damage is critical when filing your claim. Therefore, it’s essential to keep all the damaged items to prove the extent of the damage. Don’t forget to take photographs of the water damage, the source, and the affected areas. It will be easier to claim compensation if you have detailed evidence of the damage.
Gradual Damage in Water Damage Claims
You should understand the types of water damage and how to file a compensation claim. Gradual water damage is one damage type that’s difficult to detect. Your insurance policy may not also cover it. This begs the question, what should you do when there’s gradual water damage on your property?
Well, if you think you’re dealing with gradual water damage, speak to a Florida water damage claims lawyer. They will help you understand the terms of your insurance policy and your eligibility for compensation.
What Causes Gradual Water Damage?
Common causes of gradual water damage can prevent you from getting compensated, including:
- Long-term leaks in faucets, pipes, and the plumbing system, causing damage to floors, ceilings, and walls.
- Water leakage into your basement via cracks, causing dampness and weakening the structure.
- Rust, rot, and mold.
- Lack of maintenance of low-quality repairs.
- Old wires.
The thing about gradual water damage is that it’s hard to detect. When you file a compensation claim and an adjuster visits your property for assessment, the chances are that it will get rejected. A Florida water damage claims lawyer can explain your options for recovering compensation.
What if Your Water Damage Claim is Denied?
Millions of Florida homeowners purchase insurance policies to cover water damage if anything happens to their property. Unfortunately, insurance companies act in their best interests, and you shouldn’t get surprised if your compensation claim gets denied without any plausible reasons. These companies are out to make a profit, and that can’t happen if they pay out all claims that come their way.
Besides your insurance company acting in bad faith, you should remember that your policy may not cover all types of water damage, including the one you suffered. For this reason, you need an aggressive water damage claims attorney from the law offices of Leader, Leader & Zucker, PLLC. They can take such rogue insurers head-on and ensure you get compensated adequately and on time.
Why Choose Us?
At Leader, Leader & Zucker, PLLC, we pride ourselves on defending the rights of downtrodden Floridians who are at the mercy of rogue insurance companies. We understand how disheartening it is to lose your life-long investment due to water damage. For this reason, we fight to ensure insurance companies don’t deny the claims they should be paying.
Our experienced attorneys offer solutions for water damage claims, including finding independent assessors to evaluate your property, filing claims on your behalf, and holding your insurance company to account if they try to pay less than your policy stipulates. We prepare each claim with a lawsuit in mind, so we won’t hesitate to take your insurance company to court if it delays or denies coverage fulfillment.
Contact a Water Damage Claims Lawyer Today
If you are facing difficulties recovering water damage compensation from your insurer, our attorneys can help. We fully understand the tactics employed by insurance adjusters to avoid paying their clients’ claims. Our attorneys can fight for your rights and ensure you get compensated if your water damage claim is covered under your policy.
If you believe your water damage claim in Fort Lauderdale and the surrounding areas has been unfairly denied or reduced, don’t hesitate to reach out. We work with individuals facing difficulties with their insurance companies, so contact us today to schedule a free case review.