Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Hurricane Damage?

Homeowners insurance typically covers some hurricane damage, though you may need flood insurance to cover water damage from a hurricane. Generally, though, your homeowners insurance policy should cover wind- and rain-related damage.

A hurricane damage lawyer in Florida can review your homeowners insurance policy and any other insurance policies that may cover hurricane damage.

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Hurricane-Related Damage a Homeowners Insurance Policy May Cover

Homeowners insurance policies typically cover hazards associated with hurricanes, including:

  • Wind damage
  • Rain damage

Between dwelling coverage and other features of a homeowners insurance policy, you may seek compensation for damage to:

Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Hurricane Damage

  • Your home’s roof
  • Foundational features of the home, including walls
  • Windows
  • Countertops and cabinets
  • Built-in appliances
  • Freestanding appliances
  • Insulation
  • Floors and subfloors
  • Outdoor features, such as a deck
  • Detached buildings, such as a shed, guest house, or garage
  • Personal property, including furniture and electronics

If wind causes damage to home features that protect the rest of the dwelling (such as the roof and underlayment), water may enter the home and cause extensive damage. Homeowners insurance may cover all damage you can link to wind, rain, or a combination of both hazards.

Hurricane-Specific Insurance Coverage May Have a Higher Deductible

Though homeowners insurance policies generally cover hurricane-related damage, hurricane claims often have a higher deductible than a non-hurricane-related homeowners claim.

Even with this higher deductible, a homeowners insurance claim can provide substantial compensation that mitigates the cost of a hurricane.

You Must Also Consider Coverage Limits When Seeking Compensation for a Hurricane

In addition to the cost of a deductible, anyone affected by a hurricane must also consider policy coverage limits.

Homeowners typically purchase insurance that covers between 50 percent and 70 percent of their home’s value. An attorney will obtain the maximum compensation you deserve, which may mean exhausting your policy’s coverage limits.

What Does Flood Insurance Cover?

Regular homeowners insurance policies usually do not cover events that qualify as flooding.

Therefore, homeowners in hurricane-threatened areas should purchase flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which generally covers water damage to:

  • Floors, which are at high risk in a flood situation
  • Personal items on ground level, including furniture
  • Electrical, plumbing, and HVAC components
  • Appliances
  • Any other property damaged by flood waters (per the details of your insurance policy)

Flood insurers understand the types of damage that come with floods. Therefore, your policy should provide comprehensive coverage of your property expenses. Your policy may also cover some or all of the below flood-related services, including:

  • Removal of silt and other debris
  • Removal of mold and other bacteria resulting from the flood
  • Removal of damaged features of your home
  • Sterilization of your home
  • Repair or replacement of damaged property

Always review the fine details of each home and flood insurance policy. These details will dictate the items and services that entitle you to compensation. Your lawyer will analyze and cite your policy as they negotiate for compensation with a liable insurance company.

How Hurricane Victims Pursue Compensation for Rain and Water Damage

Insurance claims are the most common means of seeking compensation for hurricane-related damage. Because the claim process can be long and complex, always hire an attorney to handle your claim and protect your interests.

If the insurance claims process does not produce the financial result you seek, you may also have the option of filing a lawsuit against the liable insurer. If, for some reason, you do not hire a lawyer early in the claims process, always consider hiring one if a lawsuit becomes a possibility.

You May Need to File Multiple Insurance Claims

Depending on the nature and cause of hurricane-related damage, you may need to file separate insurance claims for:

  1. For wind and rain damage (through your homeowners insurance policy)
  2. For flood damage (through your flood insurance policy)

A single insurance claim can be complicated, requiring you to oversee several responsibilities at once. Twice the insurance claims can mean twice the communications, paperwork, negotiations, and claim-related responsibilities.

When you hire a lawyer, you allow an experienced attorney to oversee the claims process on your behalf. Whether you’re dealing with one claim or two, hiring a lawyer means reducing your responsibility to zero—your lawyer will handle the claim(s) for you).

How Much Is a Hurricane Claim Worth?

Each hurricane claim has a different value, and the cost of your hurricane-related losses may depend on:

  • The type of damage your home experienced (wind, rain, flood, or some combination)
  • Where in your home the damage occurred (damage to the roof, for example, may lead to catastrophic damage)
  • The number of features of your home affected by damage
  • The total dollar amount of hurricane-related damage (and associated cleanup)

Your lawyer will work with contractors, disaster cleanup specialists, and any other party who may have insight into the cost of your losses. Once your lawyer understands the cost of returning your property to its original state, they will know how much money to seek from any liable insurers.

Hiring an Attorney to Handle a Hurricane or Flood Insurance Claim

Anyone who suffers property damage during a hurricane wants to hire an attorney.

Some of the most common reasons why hurricane victims hire lawyers include:

  • The financial stakes of a hurricane-related insurance claim: Homeowners insurance policies frequently cover hundreds of thousands of dollars in property damage. Depending on the severity of the hurricane and the nature of your property damage, you may be facing a five- or six-figure claim. Failing to obtain the compensation you deserve can prove financially catastrophic.
  • Your post-hurricane responsibilities (not including the claims process): If a hurricane caused property damage serious enough to warrant an insurance claim, you may need to deal with cleanup, temporary shelter, and other responsibilities—more than you can deal with. You don’t need to contend with two or more insurance claims while facing other responsibilities.
  • The complexity of a hurricane-related insurance claim: A hurricane claim generally involves several types of property damage, which means hiring multiple parties to evaluate and address that damage. Your lawyer will coordinate, document, and value every property-related service and expense. You will be glad to have a lawyer handling this monumental responsibility.
  • The possibility of multiple insurance claims: If you need to file multiple insurance claims, you must keep insurance records separate and organized, deal with representatives from multiple insurers, and ensure both claims move forward promptly. You may, instead, allow an experienced lawyer to resolve both claims for you.

When a hurricane strikes, there is no way to predict how difficult the claims process may be. Rest assured that you will face your fair share of headaches and challenges if you attempt to handle your own claim(s).

A lawyer is a logical person to lean on post-hurricane because:

  • Your attorney may have a long record of securing financial recoveries for hurricane victims, proving they can succeed in circumstances like yours
  • A law firm may have experience negotiating with the specific insurer involved in your claim
  • A law firm will provide financial support for your claim, including covering the cost of hiring experts
  • Your law firm may have a team, including attorneys and paralegals, dedicated to securing your financial recovery

Law firms that handle hurricane-related insurance claims will have systems for processing your claim. Your legal team will keep records safe and organized, document your covered losses, and maintain frequent contact with the insurer.

When to Hire a Lawyer for a Hurricane-Related Insurance Claim

You can hire an attorney as soon as you decide to pursue compensation for hurricane-related property damage. There is no reason to wait before hiring an attorney, as they will take over the claims process wherever it currently stands.

Some choose to hire an attorney once signs of bad-faith tactics emerge.

Hire a lawyer if:

  • The insurance company denies your initial claim
  • The insurance company is taking a combative stance during negotiations or general claim-related discussions
  • The insurance company is challenging specific losses
  • You feel overwhelmed by the claims process and want a lawyer to take over

Everyone has reasons for hiring a hurricane claim attorney, and you may have more than one reason.

How an Attorney Benefits Your Post-Hurricane Insurance Claims

A lawyer will oversee every detail of your hurricane-related insurance claims(s), including both large and small details. Some of the most notable services your lawyer will provide are:

Documenting Your Hurricane-Related Property Damage

Your attorney may document your hurricane-related losses by:

  • Photographing your property
  • Videographing your property
  • Obtaining experts’ reports about property damage
  • Obtaining invoices for all cleanup, property repair, and other services related to the hurricane

Your lawyer may work with various experts to explain the necessity of every item or service you seek compensation for.

Calculating the Total Cost of Your Covered Losses

While documenting your losses, your lawyer will create an itemized record of those losses. This record will include the financial cost of each item and service. The total value of these losses will guide your lawyer to a fair settlement value.

Pinpoint Specific Sections of Your Insurance Policy That Entitle You to Compensation

Your attorney will closely review your insurance policy, highlight and bookmark portions that explain covered losses, then highlight portions that discuss excluded losses and any conditions that may void the policy.

Insurers cannot ignore or run away from their insurance policies. The policy is, in many ways, the final word in a hurricane claim. Therefore, your lawyer will lean on the details of your insurance policy when seeking your financial recovery.

Negotiating with the Insurance Company

Your attorney will negotiate with the insurance company that owes you compensation, which may require them to:

  • Present documentation of your hurricane-related property damage
  • Present and explain their calculation of your covered losses
  • Refute any challenges the insurer poses to your claim
  • Make a comprehensive argument demanding the compensation you deserve

Your lawyer will aim to convince the insurer to pay you a fair settlement. If the insurer refuses to offer a fair settlement, your attorney will discuss the possibility of suing.

Challenges Your Attorney Will Overcome During the Claims Process

Hiring an attorney means avoiding the challenges and headaches insurers often pose to claimants.

These challenges may include bad-faith negotiating tactics, such as:

  • Denying your entire claim without justification
  • Denying specific losses within your hurricane claim
  • Offering a lowball settlement (which may result from the undervaluation of your losses)
  • Refusing to renegotiate a lowball offer (at least initially)
  • Delaying the resolution of your claim

Insurers have financial reasons for engaging in such bad-faith tactics. Generally speaking, an insurer will pay you less than you deserve if they can get away with doing so. By hiring a competent attorney experienced in resolving hurricane-related claims, you will not let an insurer get away with underpaying you.

How to Choose a Lawyer for Your Hurricane-Related Insurance Claim

Lawyers who handle hurricane claims generally offer free consultations. Use the free consultation process to ask law firms about their experience, willingness to take cases to court, and any other questions you have.

As a general guide, seek a law firm that:

  • Serves your geographic location (and, ideally, has an office in your city)
  • Has a record of impressive results in property claim cases
  • Specifically serves hurricane victims
  • Has positive testimonials from clients

Use your judgment to identify a law firm you believe is capable and trustworthy. If you ever become unsatisfied with your lawyer, you may transfer your case to a different law firm.

Hire a Hurricane Claim Lawyer as Soon as Possible

Tatiana Boohoff - hurricane damage lawyer in Florida
Tatiana Boohoff, Florida Hurricane Damage Attorney

Do not wait to hire a law firm to lead your hurricane insurance claim. Your personal injury lawyer likely needs to document your property damages right away, and they may face multiple legal deadlines related to your claim.

September 18, 2023
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