Wind Damages And Denied Or Unpaid Insurance Claims
While many Floridians may think the bulk of tornadic activity occurs in Tornado Alley, Florida consistently ranks among the top five states for reported sightings per the national average. These storms, while isolated in nature, are capable of decimating commercial and residential buildings and causing widespread utility disruption. With recorded windspeeds nearing 300 mph, tornadoes, and the damage they inflict caused by flying debris results in billions of dollars’ worth of damages every year.
For Florida property owners, damages sustained from severe weather is a sobering reality, particularly in areas with high flora concentrations. To better prepare properties and mitigate the harmful effects of wind-driven storms, the Shiner Law Group provides a list of steps property owners can take to secure their homes and businesses:
- Trim back vegetation away from roofs and windows, and remove any fallen or broken tree limbs.
- Cover exposed glass by securing storm shutters or affixing pre-cut plywood.
- Store all exterior furniture, as well as toys, gardening tools, and pots.
- Close and secure all windows and doors, including garage doors.
Types of Damage to Look For
Five factors that determine the severity of windstorms: speed, direction, duration, debris, and the strength of a structure. If you think your home has been damaged by a storm, assess the damage and consult a certified contractor who can perform a full property inspection. It is recommended that property owners obtain three written proposals from reputable contractors with storm-related claims experience.
Be wary of contractors who are approved by insurance companies, as they may have a financial incentive to save the insurance company money.
Storm damage can significantly impact the value of a home. Unfortunately, many homeowners find out too late that their residence is in need of costly repairs years after the time to file a claim has expired. The Shiner Law Group has identified four areas where the most common damage occurs:
- Roofs Damage inflicted to roofs, particularly from hail or flying debris, may leave holes, scratches, or dents. Receiving financial compensation for damaged roofs depends on several factors: the age of the roof, its condition prior to the storm, and the type of coverage purchased.
- Interiors While flying debris and heavy rains can cause significant damage to a structure’s interior, one of the biggest concerns is mold growth.
- Equipment Flooding and power surges can devastate home electronics and commercial equipment.
- Utilities Water, electrical, and telecommunication utilities are susceptible to widespread disruptions caused by severe wind-driven storms.
It is imperative to file a claim in the immediate aftermath of a storm because most insurance policy’s limit a property owner’s time to file; however, it is important to remember that insurance companies cannot increase a policyholder’s rate without increasing the rate for all policyholders in the area. While insurance agents may offer world-class service, they are primarily interested in mitigating their financial liability.
What If Your Insurance Claim Is Denied or Underpaid?
Immediately seek the legal counsel of an experienced storm-related property damage lawyer. Insurance companies and their adjusters will use loopholes to protect their company’s bottom line, which means there is no guarantee a storm-related property damage victim’s claim will be paid.
While hardly an exhaustive list, the Shiner Law Group provides a guide you should follow in the aftermath of a severe storm to build the most compelling claim:
- Gather evidence by taking photos or video.
- Contact your insurance company to report the claim (preferably in writing) to receive a damage assessment by an insurance adjuster.
- Record the names of insurance representatives you have communicated with and document conservation.
- Recover receipts and proofs of purchase.
In the event a claim is denied, property owners are entitled to meet with three insurance adjusters. Most state laws prohibit policy cancellations in the event of severe weather.
Speak with a Shiner Law Group Property Damage Attorney
Have you or someone you love been the victim of storm-related property damage? Call us at (561) 777-7700 or contact us online for a free case review. The Shiner Law Group represents property damage victims in Boca Raton, West Palm Beach, Boynton Beach, Delray Beach, Lake Worth, Palm Beach County, and the surrounding cities.