Does Hurricane Insurance Cover Water Damage?

Hurricane insurance generally falls under a homeowners insurance policy and does cover some water damage. You may also have flood insurance for heavy rain and storm surges associated with hurricanes.

If you purchased basic insurance that those in hurricane-prone areas typically buy, you should receive compensation covering all storm-related water damage. Homeowners insurance will not typically cover flooding, however—only flood insurance will.

A Florida hurricane damage attorney can determine which insurance policies cover your water damage, as you may receive compensation from different policies.

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Both Homeowners Insurance and Flood Insurance May Cover Water Damage

Those who purchase homeowners insurance generally have substantial coverage for hurricane-related water damage. Specifically, your insurer may have to cover damage caused by the combination of wind and rain.

Depending on where you live and your personal decisions, you may also have coverage through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). 50 insurance companies facilitate this federally-administered insurance, and the law might require you to have such insurance if you live in a high-risk area.

Types of Water Damage a Homeowners Insurance Policy Covers

If your homeowners insurance policy (or other applicable policy) includes hurricane coverage, you may receive compensation for:

Does Hurricane Insurance Cover Water Damage

  • Damage to the dwelling: An insurer may cover damage to your home, shed, detached garage, guest house, or any other structure covered by the policy.
  • Damage to personal property: An insurer may also cover damage to furniture, appliances, electronics, and other personal property damaged during the hurricane.
  • Temporary living accommodations: If you must relocate due to hurricane-related damage, as many hurricane victims do, your insurer may cover some or all temporary living expenses.

Note that homeowners policies generally cover water damage from wind and rain. You may need flood-specific insurance to pursue compensation if water damage results from a flood.

Note that the deductible for accessing hurricane-specific coverage may be higher than deductibles for other coverage types within your homeowners policy. An attorney will review your policy and explain the deductible you must pay. While reviewing the policy, your attorney will also explain your covered losses, coverage limits, and other relevant details.

Types of Water Damage Flood Insurance Covers

Flood damage generally affects home features and personal property on ground-level floors. This may include flooring, appliances, furniture, cabinets, and other features threatened by flood waters.

Your homeowners insurance company will almost always categorize rain-related water damage as flood-related water damage if it thinks you will let it. An attorney and their network of experts can define the two types of damage and determine which insurer owes you compensation for which losses.

Covered Losses Resulting from Hurricane-Related Water Damage

Knowing the specific losses you deserve compensation for after a hurricane is important. Note that covered losses are subject to the details of your insurance policies, but you may deserve compensation for:

Temporary Housing

One of the first priorities after a hurricane is finding shelter, and your homeowners policy’s loss of use coverage may help pay for:

  • A hotel
  • An Airbnb, Vrbo, or comparable accommodation
  • Renting an RV, trailer, or other mobile shelter

Loss of use coverage may also cover meals and other living expenses related to relocation.

Water Removal

You must remove all visible and hidden water from your property after a hurricane. Failure to adequately dry and ventilate your property can lead to mold, structural damage, and other hazards.

Your attorney will speak with services like Roto-Rooter, Servpro, and others who provide disaster cleanup services. This will afford your lawyer a reliable estimate to use in their calculation of your losses.

Removal of Storm-Related Waste

In addition to removing water, you may also need to remove:

  • Silt
  • Branches and leaves
  • Garbage
  • Other debris brought into your home by floodwater, wind, or rain

When consulting disaster cleanup services, your lawyer will learn the cost of removing debris from your property.

Removal of Damaged Features of the Dwelling

You may need to replace floors, walls, cabinets, and other features of your home with damage by storm waters. Your attorney will calculate the cost of removing such features. They will work directly with any contractors or other parties overseeing the removal and reinstallation processes.

Cleaning and Sterilization of the Property

Many dwellings need sterilization after suffering water damage. This is yet another service that your attorney will value when calculating a fair settlement.

Repairs for Your Home

Your attorney will obtain estimates for the repair or replacement of damaged features of your home, including:

  • Flooring and subflooring
  • Walls
  • Insulation
  • Stairs
  • Any other feature compromised by water damage

Costs for repairs can vary substantially from one claim to the next. Your lawyer will work with experienced professionals to ensure they’re seeking fair compensation for all your hurricane-related property repairs.

Replacement of Damaged Personal Property

Your lawyer will seek compensation to replace appliances, furniture, and any other personal property you cannot repair.

Note that each of these services may be subject to a deductible. Furthermore, an insurer may provide only partial coverage for certain losses. Your attorney will review your policy and speak with your insurer(s) to understand your coverage accurately.

How Does a Hurricane Victim Pursue Fair Compensation for Their Losses?

Filing an insurance claim is the most common way to seek compensation for hurricane-related losses, including water damage. However, if an insurer that owes you compensation engages in bad-faith behaviors, your insurance claim may become a lawsuit.

This is another reason why you want to hire an attorney to handle your claim.

Should a Hurricane Victim Hire a Lawyer to Lead Their Claim?

Those affected by hurricanes and other natural disasters find themselves in chaotic, potentially devastating circumstances. These hurricane victims often choose to hire a lawyer to lead their insurance claim, and do so because:

The Hurricane Takes a Psychological Toll on Victims

Scholars recognize post-hurricane mental distress, which may produce symptoms similar to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Studies have found that one’s environment after a hurricane may affect the severity of their distress.

Dealing with a hurricane-related insurance claim may require you to:

  • Interact regularly with a home (or other property) that has been decimated by water damage
  • Discuss the intricate details of the damage the hurricane has caused
  • Relive the details of the hurricane time and again

These responsibilities may be unhealthy for hurricane survivors, whether or not you were in your home when the storm hit. If you hope to recover psychologically from the effects of the hurricane, hire an attorney to handle your claim.

Claimants Often Face Many Personal Responsibilities (Hurricane-Related and Otherwise)

A hurricane throws a host of unexpected responsibilities on the claimant’s doorstep. From arranging temporary housing to continuing to work, a hurricane victim may have little time to dedicate to the claims process.

Life goes on after a hurricane, and you may find your to-do list brimming with obligations. If you allow a lawyer to lead your claim, you will significantly lighten your list of responsibilities.

The High Cost of Water Damage Makes Hurricane Claims High-Stakes

Water damage, and hurricanes more broadly, can cause hundreds of thousands of dollars (or more, depending on the home) in damage. This means that a water damage claim may be a high-stakes claim. If you do not resolve the claim successfully, you can lose out on thousands of dollars.

What Does Hiring a Hurricane Claim Lawyer Solve?

Hiring a lawyer for a hurricane claim solves several problems (while affording you several benefits).

When you trust your claim to a proven law firm, you:

  • Get the law firm’s financial support: When a law firm agrees to lead a client’s hurricane claim, the firm takes on the financial cost of the claim. A law firm may hire experts, commission testing (mold testing, for example), and take other elective measures to strengthen the claim. These services come at no added cost to the client.
  • Obtain the benefit of a lawyer’s experience: Attorneys who regularly handle property insurance claims bring valuable experience to your claim. There is no substitute for experience when seeking an insurance settlement, and a lawyer can lend you experience-based insight you might not otherwise have access to.
  • Can focus on your health, responsibilities, and loved ones: Without the obligation to deal with insurers, gather evidence, and oversee the details of your claim, you can focus on your mental health and other duties, including the well-being of your loved ones.
  • Make your claim as strong as possible: While hiring a lawyer does not necessarily guarantee the results you hope for, consider what it means to trust your claim to an attorney. The attorney’s will obtain the compensation you deserve. A lawyer’s undivided attention on your claim may produce the outcome you hope for.

Those affected by hurricanes often find solace in the services of a law firm. If you feel that your claim consumes too much of your time, causes you harmful stress, or exceeds your experience or knowledge, let a law firm help.

How Attorneys Assist with Water Damage Claims

A lawyer will perform several duties as they work to resolve your claim, including:

Studying Your Insurance Policy

Your lawyer will become an expert on your insurance policy, whether it is a homeowners’ policy, flood policy, or other policy. Understanding the most important details of an insurance policy is pivotal to your claim.

A lawyer may pay particular attention to:

  • Covered losses
  • Excluded losses
  • Coverage limits
  • Circumstances that may void coverage
  • Any other detail with a direct effect on your covered losses

When an insurer issues an insurance policy, they are bound to deliver on that policy. Therefore, your lawyer may refer to that policy during settlement negotiations and any necessary legal proceedings.

Documenting Your Property Damage (Perhaps With Experts’ Help)

Your lawyer will document all of your hurricane-related property damage, including but not limited to water damage.

Useful documentation may include:

  • Photographs and video of your damaged property
  • Invoices for waste removal services
  • Invoices for replacement of damaged dwelling features and property
  • Invoices for temporary housing and similar losses
  • Expert testimony about your hurricane-related losses (and the obligation of an insurer to cover those losses)

Your attorney will gather any documentation that benefits your claim for compensation.

Calculating the Value of Your Insurance Settlement

An attorney must know exactly how much money their client deserves. Before entering negotiations with liable insurance companies, your attorney will calculate the value of a fair settlement.

Your lawyer will calculate any future losses you may suffer. For example, if you have yet to complete renovations for your home or continue to suffer symptoms of PTSD, your lawyer will consider these ongoing losses.

Negotiating a Settlement

Your lawyer will lead negotiations with liable insurers. Negotiations are arguably the most important step in the claims process. Having a law firm that has fought for and won financial settlements may greatly benefit you.

Pursuing a Lawsuit (if Necessary)

Not every hurricane claim ends with a fair settlement (though most do). In some cases, insurance companies fail to offer a fair settlement. In such cases, an attorney can pursue legal action against the insurer.

What Does It Cost to Hire a Lawyer for a Hurricane-Related Insurance Claim?

Clients pay no direct cost to their lawyer. Instead, a claimant:

  • Hires the attorney at no upfront cost
  • Agrees to pay the law firm a percentage of their recovery, but only if the law firm obtains a settlement or judgment
  • Pays nothing to the law firm unless the law firm obtains compensation

The law firm covers the cost of the case, and the claimant does not pay any out-of-pocket cost to the law firm. This allows law firms to represent any hurricane victim needing legal services.

Hire Your Law Firm as Soon as Possible

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

Your personal injury attorney may face multiple deadlines for filing your claim and any necessary lawsuit. Just as importantly, your lawyer will need to document your losses and begin fighting for a financial recovery.

Research law firms serving your area and hire a hurricane claim lawyer as soon as possible. You already suffered enough damage and stress; allow a legal professional to protect your interests during the claim process.

September 20, 2023
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