Floods are the most common natural disaster in the United States. This kind of damage can occur from flash floods, heavy storms, hurricanes or when rivers or lakes overflow.
Flood damage to real or personal property usually results when an excess of water or mudflow saturates normally dry land. Flood damage often leads to additional water or mold and mildew damage. Even an inch of water in a home can cost thousands of dollars to repair.
If your insurance claim for flood damage has been unlawfully denied or denied in bad faith, it is imperative to hire an experienced property insurance lawyer for a claim in the Tampa Bay area.
Insurance Attorney for Flood Damage in Tampa, FL
Contact the Germain Law Group at (813) 835-8888 for a consultation about your flood damage claim in Tampa, Florida. Attorney Michael B. Germain is knowledgeable in all areas of Florida’s insurance laws and is experienced in all aspects of flood damage.
Call the Germain Law Group today about your property damage claim or claim denial throughout the areas in Hillsborough County, Pinellas County, Polk County and Citrus County, Florida.
Flood Damage Insurance in Florida
Most basic insurance policies do not cover damage from water, flood or mold, and if an individual desires to purchase flood insurance, there is usually a 30 day waiting period. A standard flood insurance policy in Florida can cover damage to the building’s structure, furnace, water heater, air conditioner, carpet, tile and other damage from debris. Contents of the building are not usually covered, but can also be covered for an additional premium.
It is important to examine your insurance policy to determine if you have flood coverage and if your policy has any exclusions about flood damage or other policy limits on the type and amount of damage covered by the flood insurance.
Flooding insurance policies can cost a lot of money for individuals living in high-risk flood areas, and many providers may even require policyholders to first pay a deductible on the total flood damage before the insurance company will pay. This can cost the insured thousands of dollars before their insurance policy will even kick in. It is important to look at your deductible and determine if your provider is acting in bad faith and unfairly increasing your premiums and any deductible because you live in a high-risk area.
Filing a Flood Damage Claim in Florida
When your home is initially damaged from a flood, it is important to immediately call your Tampa property insurance attorney to make sure you disclose only relevant information to your insurance provider. If you provide inaccurate information, your insurance company may deny your claim altogether.
After consulting with your lawyer, you should then contact your property insurance provider. You may have different insurance companies and provisions for various types of coverage, so it is important to contact the correct provider. Certain statutes of limitations (SOL) for filing flood damage claims exist under Florida law, so contacting the correct provider the first time is essential to timely filing your claim.
Maintain all documentation of every conversation, purchase and receipt pertaining to the damage, and to take photographs and videos of all damage when the loss first occurred and subsequently thereafter. Your insurance provider will require detailed information to even begin processing the claim. If your insurance company disputes the damage, it can be used as evidence to help you receive the financial benefits arising from your insurance claim.
You will probably also have to mitigate any other damage to your property after the initial flood damage. If additional damage occurs to your property because you failed to prevent additional damage, your insurance company may deny your claim.
Florida’s statute of limitations for filing flood damage property claims is generally five years according to Fla. Stat. § 95.11. However, if the flood damage was caused by a hurricane, the statute of limitations is only three years.
A new Florida law permits insurance companies to withhold payments for any home damage until the repairs for the damage have been made. This means the insured is required to pay for the repair of any damages before they can be reimbursed by their insurance company.
Denial of Flood Damage Claims in Tampa
Insurance companies will find various reasons to deny your flood damage claim. For example, they can usually claim the premium was not paid on the insurance, the policyholder did not disclose certain information to the insurance company, the policyholder did not follow required conditions to the insurance policy, or the property damages were preexisting.
According to Fla. Stat. § 627.7019, insurance companies are required to follow standardized claim reporting requirements, permit grace periods for paying premiums, and provide temporary postponement of cancellations and non-renewals after certain natural disasters occur, including flash flooding and hurricanes.
After your application for additional flood damage coverage or a claim for property damage resulting from flooding was denied, the insurance company must provide you with a notice of the denial explaining the provision in the policy that was denied and the specific reasons the coverage was denied.
It is important to hire a property damage lawyer if your flood damage claim was unlawfully denied or your insurance provider acted in bad faith. After your claim has been denied, your attorney will proceed with any necessary legal action on your behalf to help you receive the benefits you deserve.
Germain Law Group, P.A. | Flood Damage Attorney in Tampa
Contact the Germain Law Group today for a consultation about your flood damage property claim in Hillsborough County, Pinellas County, Brevard County and Manatee County. Michael B. Germain is an experienced property damage claims lawyer in Tampa who will listen to the facts of your situation and help you determine the best recourse in pursuing your flood damage claim.
Contact the Germain Law Group at (813) 835-8888 for a consultation about your property insurance issues throughout Central Florida, including Tampa, Plant City, Temple Terrace, Hunters Green, Sun City Center, and surrounding cities and towns throughout Hillsborough County, FL.
This article was last updated on Friday, September 1, 2017.