Natural Disaster Damages & Homeowner’s Insurance
Florida is, as we all know, prone to natural disaster. Hurricanes, floods and other catastrophes can affect you and your loved ones when you least expect it – and sometimes, your insurance company adds insult to injury by denying your claim or voiding part of your policy. This can leave some out a large amount of money, or even homeless. It is imperative to know your rights.
Know What Your Policy Contains
Many people, especially those who may not be native to Florida, assume that homeowners’ insurance will cover any damage caused by disasters such as hurricanes or tornados. This is not generally the case – in fact, most of the time, even if a policy may cover natural disasters, it will not cover the flooding and/or other damages directly caused by the disaster – for example, medical bills incurred due to extreme heat or injuries sustained in attempting to liberate items from one’s home. Reading your policy is critical, and many simply do not bother.
Flood damage in particular can be a problem for homeowners in Florida, especially given that floods cause the most damage of any event immediately following a natural disaster. The remedy is to ensure that you have a separate flood policy, offered by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Because so many people wind up needing flood-related homeowners’ insurance coverage, the NFIP seeks to offer it to all who may need it. Florida has the highest number of flood policies in the nation, and it is generally a good idea for you to have one, especially if you live near the coast.
Disputes Over The Real Cost Of Rebuilding
The other way that insurance companies may leave you with the lion’s share of post-natural disaster bills is by disputing issues like intangible costs, as well as other seemingly unimportant expenditures that in reality can add up. A good example is roof damage; an insurance company may claim that damage is due to normal wear and tear, when you are able to show that the damage occurred as a result of a natural disaster or other Act of God. Such conduct is almost always manifestly unreasonable.
A variant of this tactic is to cancel your policy altogether, which happens especially after particularly damaging natural disasters. Insurance companies will dump policies that prove a drain on the bottom line, but in the homeowners’ insurance business, this often means those held by people who have lost their homes or livelihoods. In rare situations this may be a necessary business practice, especially for smaller companies that might otherwise be at risk of bankruptcy, but very often it is simply a wish to improve the bottom line.
Consult An Orlando Homeowners’ Insurance Attorney
Natural disasters are unfortunately a fact of life in Florida, but if you educate yourself, and have the right people on your side, you will never lose everything to one. The knowledgeable Orlando homeowners’ insurance attorneys at Hornsby Law Group are ready, willing and able to assist you with your claim or answer questions if we are able. Call us today to set up an appointment.