September 19, 2017

After the Storm

There is a price to pay for living in paradise. Key West residents who had fled the Florida Keys ahead of Hurricane Irma were allowed to return to their homes as authorities prepared to reopen Key West last weekend. Meanwhile, many Floridians have yet to return to work or school because power outages and damaged structures have forced closures throughout the Sunshine State.

In addition to the tragic and devastating loss of life, the destruction to homes, hotels, apartments, shopping centers, and gas stations, to name a few, is massive. Unfortunately, standard homeowners’ and renters’ insurance policies may cover wind damage, but generally not flooding. That requires separate coverage from the National Flood Insurance Program or a private insurance company.  

Even a flood insurance policy has its limitations, and some losses may not be covered. Insurance companies are in the business of making a profit, and they will try to minimize coverage, or avoid paying altogether for the damages sustained to your property.

Document, Document, Document

Filing claims for hurricane damage can be a full-time job because you must document every loss and negotiate a fair settlement. Oversights and errors you make can mean an insufficient and paltry payout or none at all. As a result, consulting an attorney should be a top priority after your home or business has experienced damage due to storm-related flooding and winds.

It is important that you take photos, capture as much information as you can, and write down, to the best of your recollection, any conversations you have with emergency workers, government representatives, licensed contractors, and your insurance company.  Draft descriptions of damage that may not be obvious by looking at a photograph alone.  Preserve invoices, proofs of purchase, estimates, bids, receipts, and even corporate records in the event of a business interruption loss to support your claim.

 Why You Need A Lawyer

Insurance companies try to offer a low payment or completely deny a claim, citing that the damage was not caused entirely by the storm, or that some element of the damage is not covered by your policy. An attorney can help in your claim consisting of fire damage, water damage, lost/stolen property, and vandalism after a hurricane. It’s important to have an attorney relay the right information correctly to your insurer. 

At Corless Barfield, we work to safeguard that the insurance company does not delay payments, which could severely impact a property and increase repair expenses. Insurance policies that cover flood and hurricane damage are complex. Florida hurricane insurance dispute attorneys can help you get back on your feet and get the coverage you deserve. Our legal team works conscientiously to make sure insurers honor the contracts signed with their customers. If your insurance provider has underpaid or denied your claim, contact Corless Barfield and schedule a consultation today.