Water Damage

Water damage to real or personal property can arise from a hurricane, flooding, flash floods, broken water pipes, or sewage back-ups. This type of damage can result in rotted wood, rusted steel, mold and mildew damage, and several other kinds of damage to materials in your home or building.

If your water damage claim was illegally denied or your insurance company acted in bad faith, it is imperative to hire a Tampa insurance lawyer knowledgeable in all areas of property damage claims.

Tampa Water Damage Lawyer

Hurricanes, tornadoes, thunder storms, floods, and any prolonged contact with water can result in serious property damage. Water damage can cause mold, rot your floors, stain your walls, and repairs for it can cost hundreds sometimes thousands of dollars. That’s why it’s so important your insurance cooperates when you’re filing a claim for water damage. However, some insurance companies will dispute or deny your claim in an effort to make money off your policy. If this has happened to you, we recommend you call Germain Law Group, P.A..

Contact the Germain Law Group at (813) 835-8888 for a consultation about your water damage claim in Tampa, Florida. Attorney Michael B. Germain is educated in all areas of Florida’s insurance laws and is experienced with all aspects of water damage. Call the Germain Law Group today about your property damage claim or claim denial throughout the areas in Hillsborough County, Pinellas County, Brevard County and Manatee County, Florida.

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Water Damage Insurance in Florida

Most basic homeowner’s and property insurance policies do not cover water, flood or mold damage. It is important to examine your insurance policy to see the types of damage your insurance policy covers and whether any provisions exist excluding water damage or that impose limitations on the type and amount of water damage claims.

The premiums on flooding and water damage policies can be very high, and many insurance companies may require policyholders to pay a deductible on any water damage before they will begin to pay benefits under the policy. Therefore, the insured may have to pay thousands of dollars before their policy coverage will even apply.

It is important to examine your deductible and make sure your provider is not acting in bad faith by taking advantage of you and increasing your premiums if you live in a high risk area for water damage.

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Filing a Water Damage Claim in Florida

After a disaster has occurred resulting in water damage to your home, it is important to immediately call your property insurance attorney to ensure you only provide the most accurate information to your provider. Failure to give your insurance company the most complete information could result in a denial of your claim.

Once you discuss your situation with your attorney, you should then contact your insurer. Many people have different insurance providers for different types of coverage. It is crucial to initially contact the correct provider because statutes of limitations exist under Florida law that restricts the amount of time policyholders can file a claim for damage to their property.

It is also essential to document of every conversation regarding the damage and keep every receipt for repairs to the damage. You should also take photographs and videos of all water damage immediately after the damage occurs and throughout the entire claims process. Your insurance provider may require this information before they will provide any coverage under your insurance policy. If your insurance company disputes the extent or cost of any damages, any information you have can be used as evidence in any litigation with your insurance company.

After the initial damage, you are most likely required under your policy to take steps to prevent any other damage from occurring to your property. Failure to do so can result in a denial of all your water damage claims if any additional damage occurs.

According to Fla. Stat. § 95.11, the statute of limitations (SOL) for filing personal property water damage claims water damage is five years. However, if the water damage resulted from a hurricane, the statute of limitations is only three years.

A new Florida law permits insurance companies to withhold any insurance payouts for water damage to a home until the repairs have been made. This means the policyholder is required to initially pay for the repairs before they will receive any assistance from their insurance company.

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Denial of Water Damage Claims in Tampa

Insurance companies will often find some reason to deny the insured’s claim for water damage. These reasons can usually include failure to timely pay insurance premiums, the insured did not follow required conditions in the insurance policy, the insured did not disclose required information to the insurance company, the claim was fraudulent, or the damage was excluded under a provision in the insurance policy.

Under Florida law, Fla. Stat. § 627.7019, insurance companies must follow standardized claim reporting requirements after certain natural disasters, including flash floods or hurricanes that can result in water damage. They are also required to allow grace periods on paying premiums, and provide temporary postponement of cancellations and nonrenewals after a natural disaster occurs.

After your claim for property damage resulting from water was denied, the insurance company is required to provide you with notice of the denial explaining the specific coverage in your policy that resulted in the denial and the specific reasons the coverage was denied.

It is important to hire an experienced property insurance attorney if your water damage claim was unlawfully denied or your insurance provider acted in bad faith. After a denial, your attorney will proceed with any necessary legal action on your behalf.

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How to Maximize Water Damage Claim

  1. Stop & Control the Cause of Damage – After discovering you have water damage, it’s important you take every step possible to stop and control it. If you don’t stop it and the water damage worsens, then the insurance company is within reason to deny your claim. So, it’s best to do whatever you can to limit the damage after you’ve discovered the issue. You might even need to hire a professional, but we recommend you not sign off on any major repairs until the claim has been processed. You may want to instead wait and get an estimate to show to your adjuster instead.
  2. Log Everything You Can – You must have supportive evidence when filing your claim. It’s important you do everything possible to document the water damage on your property. You can take photos or take a video and describe the damage while you’re recording. Write a list of personal items that were damages and their projected replacement costs. If you have professionals assisting you, then get quotes and reports to explain why you hired them and how much the damage cost.
  3. Find Out Whether It’s Flood or Water Damage – It’s important to understand there’s a difference between flood and water insurance. Your policy may cover water damage but might not offer coverage for damage related to flooding. Be sure to check in with your insurance company before you file a claim so you can identify whether it’s flood or water damage.
  4. Hire a Public Water Claim Adjuster – Your insurance company will send a water claim adjuster, but it will take them up to 15 days to do so. You may want to hire a public water claim adjuster instead. Especially if you have a large water claim. Public water damage claim adjusters have no ties to the insurance company so they will give an unbiased report.
  5. Hire an Attorney – The most important step is to hire an experienced insurance lawyer. They can guide you through the process, take over communication with your insurance company, and assess your policy to ensure you qualify for coverage.

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Additional Resources

How to Protect Your Home from Water Damage | III – Visit the official website for the Insurance Information Institute (III) to read an article an article on how to avoid water damage in your home. Access the site to read about how to prevent basement water seepage, maintain indoor plumbing systems, protect your possessions, and repair your home.

National flood Insurance Program – Visit the official website for the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which is a federal program created by Congress to mitigate future losses by floods nationwide. Access the site to look at their flood maps, what’s covered, and helpful resources for policyholders.

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Germain Law Group, P.A. | Water Damage Attorney in Tampa

Contact the Germain Law Group today for a consultation about your property’s water damage claim in Hillsborough County, Pinellas County, Brevard County and Manatee County. Michael B. Germain is an experienced Tampa property claims lawyer who will listen to the facts of your situation and help you determine the best recourse in pursuing your water damage claim. Contact the Germain Law Group at (813) 835-8888 for a consultation about your property insurance issues throughout Central Florida, including Tampa, St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Titusville, Palm Bay, Melbourne, Bradenton and Palmetto.