Hurricanes are among the most devastating natural disasters a policyholder can face – and recent evidence suggests that storms are becoming stronger, and coastal areas are increasingly at risk for bigger, more powerful storms. Strong winds, rain, tidal surge, and flooding often come all at once, leaving behind a path of devastation and costs to communities in the many billions of dollars. Because of the amount of money at stake for insurers, and the complexity of the legal claims, hurricane claims require specialized expertise.
In many cases, competing insurance policies and insurers (as well as their experts) attempt to blame the damage on the other insurer, e.g. a homeowner’s policy may exclude rising water, and claim all of your damage was from storm surge alone – when, in fact, much of it was caused by the high winds. The experts hired your insurers know how to play the “game” and are rarely looking for ways to help you – instead, they frequently look for ways to save the insurer money.
The national policyholder lawyers of Daly & Black, P.C. have handled thousands of such cases across the country and are committed to helping you or your business through the frustrations of rebuilding after a hurricane has damaged your property. Whether it takes the form of a denial, an underpayment, or delay, our lawyers have your interests at heart, and are paid only if you recover.
The experts hired your insurers know how to play the “game” and are rarely looking for ways to help you – instead, they frequently look for ways to save the insurer money.
Before calling a lawyer, we recommend you do the following so that you are in the best position to fight, should that become necessary:
- File a claim with your insurance company.
- Take photographs of any damage to the interior and exterior of the property.
- Compare new photos with those taken before the storm, if possible.
- Have a public adjuster, contractor, or damage expert assess the property. Make sure you hire someone that works for you, not the insurer. Many of these professionals will work on a contingent fee basis, and sometimes for free.
- Understand your insurance policy and what is and isn’t covered. If you have questions, call us – consultations are always free.
- Contact us if your insurer is wrongfully delaying, denying, or underpaying your claim. Do not sign anything, do not give recorded statements, and do not try to resolve the matter on your own without at least consulting with a lawyer from our firm. Again, consultations cost you nothing. And there is no downside to being well informed.
Many clients call wanting to know if their hurricane damage is covered. In most instances, if you have insurance, the damage is covered. But coverage always depends on what the actual policy says. For example, many policies exclude flood damage, which is problematic since flooding can often lead to the most significant type of damage suffered by a home during a hurricane. Because most homeowner’s policies separate water damage from flooding, you should separately procure flood coverage through either the National Flood Insurance Program, FEMA, or another authorized private carrier.
Clients also frequently want to know how much is covered. Again, it depends. An insurance coverage “limit” determines the maximum amount of money an insurance company will pay for a covered claim. There may also be time limits within which you have to file a claim for incurred damage(s). We strongly recommend that you provide your policy to one of our experienced policyholder attorneys, so you fully understand the limits of your particular policy. Again, the consultations are always free.
Regardless of whether you intend to sue your insurer for bad faith or failing to do what it was supposed to do, always arm yourself with all the facts – and know your rights under your applicable insuring agreements. The lawyers at Daly & Black, P.C. are ready to go all in on your hurricane insurance claim and are standing by to answer any questions you may have. Free of charge.