Hurricane Nicole Claims
Navigating Homeowners Insurance Claims for Hurricane Nicole
On November 9, 2022, Hurricane Nicole struck Florida. It was the sixteenth and final storm of the 2022 Hurricane Season. In total, Hurricane Nicole caused over $1 billion in damage. This rare November hurricane had a wide impact on Floridians. Many Floridians affected by Hurricane Nicole filed hurricane insurance claims with their insurance companies. Unfortunately, some of those individuals’ claims have been denied outright or underpaid. Fortunately, a hurricane property damage attorney can help you recover a maximum settlement for your damages, giving you the money you need to restore your home as well as peace of mind. Here is what you can expect as you navigate your homeowners’ insurance claim.
What Are Some Common Damages That Result From Hurricanes?
Hurricanes can cause a tremendous amount of damage both to people and property. Here are some of the most common damages that result from them:
- Loss of life
- Bodily injury
- Roof damage
- Water damage
- Wind damage
- Storm damage
- Damage to the exterior structure of the building’s siding
- Damage to possession in the interior of the property
What Are My Options After My Home Has Been Affected by Hurricane Nicole?
Your first option is to file a claim with your insurance company. After you are safe, be sure to document the damage and contact your insurance company as soon as possible. Once they receive your claim, they will send out an insurance adjuster to look at the damage and come up with an estimate. Ideally, you will get the repairs you need.
It is really important that you thoroughly assess the damage done. Hurricanes are notorious for causing very widespread damage to property, from what you can obviously see (such as a roof torn off) to what you cannot see (water damage inside the walls). If something does not seem right, be sure to note it. Having before and after pictures really helps with this.
The other crucial thing to keep in mind is that damage can sometimes become obvious later. For this reason, while it is imperative to get the claim submitted as soon as possible, you do not want to rush the process. Have someone who is vetted, hopefully from your community, come and assess the damage. They will know what to look for.
It is possible–as the next section discusses–that your claim can be denied or underpaid. In those instances, you can negotiate with the insurance company and try to get your claim paid out.
If that does not work, it may be time to hire an attorney who is experienced with insurance claim denials or underpayments. They can help you fight to get the maximum settlement for your property damage claim.
What Can I Do If My Hurricane Insurance Claim Has Been Denied or Underpaid?
The reason that people buy insurance is so that claims are promptly paid as long as they are covered. Unfortunately, not all insurance companies will honor their contracts. You may encounter an insurance company that either does not pay or underpays your claim following this crisis.
A claim denial means that an insurance company simply refuses to pay out your claim. They will often cite a reason (such as it not being a covered loss or that you did not provide sufficient proof of damage) in support of their denial.
An insurance provider may also underpay your claim. This means that they will offer to pay part of what you are owed but will not give you enough to cover the full extent of the damage caused by the hurricane.
One thing that people often wrongly think is that if their claim is underpaid or denied that they have no options. A crisis–such as a hurricane–and all the stress that accompanies it can cause people to simply give up the hope of getting their money.
First step: Do not panic.
Second step: Pursue the full value of your claim and all covered damages necessary to restore your property to its preloss condition. Remember, an insurance company makes a profit if it pays less on its claims than what it receives in premiums. That is, it is in the company’s best interest to pay as little as possible. Denials are also very common when there is a hurricane because the insurance company is overburdened. During this period, the insurance company will look for whatever reason it can to deny your claim.
Even if the insurance company offers you money, do not feel that you have to take the first offer if it does not fully cover your damage. Sometimes, homeowners feel pressured to take the first offer for fear that they will not get any money if they reject it or because they just need money to move on. You may be able to contest it by providing evidence of the damage and dollar amount. If the insurance company does not offer you anything, and your claim is covered, you can fight this.
Sometimes, claims are denied or underpaid for easily fixable reasons. Here are things to think about:
- Did I submit all the necessary documentation?
- For instance, did you attach receipts, photos, and estimates? Does the insurance company have a strong sense of the damage that you sustained?
- Did I contact the right people?
- Sometimes, people get frazzled and fail to alert the correct people of their claims. Make sure that you notify your insurance company as soon as possible and document each interaction. If you do not hear from them, maintain contact to ensure that they received your claim.
Sometimes, claims are denied or underpaid for other legitimate reasons.
- The claim was denied under the terms of the policy.
- Each policy will have exclusion clauses or things that the policy will not cover.
- The homeowner failed to mitigate the damage.
- While the damage is not the homeowner’s fault, the homeowner has a responsibility to take measures to prevent further damage from happening.
- The claim was not submitted in time.
- While the first priority is avoiding danger, claims should be submitted as soon as possible. In Florida, you generally have a year from when the hurricane landed to file your claim.
Other times, it becomes obvious that the insurance company is acting in bad faith.
How Can a Lawyer Help Me After My Home Was Affected By Hurricane Nicole?
Hurricanes are incredibly traumatizing to homeowners. Fortunately, experienced property damage attorneys are well-versed in negotiations with insurance companies so that you can work on emotional recovery, pick up the pieces, and move forward with your life.
Attorneys can review your case, determining whether you have legitimate reasons for receiving compensation from the insurance company. Qualified attorneys will get you the compensation that you are legally owed.
First, a lawyer will try to settle the case out of court. But if they do not pay, your attorney may recommend filing a lawsuit against the insurance company. At court, your attorney will demonstrate to the judge that you are owed more than what your insurance company is offering you and that your insurance company is breaching its contract by not paying out. Be sure to retain counsel that has had trial wins for hurricane insurance claims.
Frequently Asked Questions About Hurricanes and Claims
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about homeowners insurance claims following hurricanes:
Does My Homeowners’ Insurance Cover Damage From Hurricanes?
Generally, homeowners’ insurance policies will typically cover damage that results from strong winds. This includes hurricanes. Still, check your policy. It may have a separate deductible for hurricane damage, which can be significantly higher than your standard deductible. Additionally, not every standard home insurance policy covers windstorms, so this is something to check before a hurricane hits.
What is a Hurricane Deductible?
A deductible is the amount of money you have to pay before the insurance company pays out. Sometimes, you may have to have a separate home insurance deductible for hurricane losses. This is especially the case for those who live in Florida or other states where hurricanes are high risk.
Is It Harder to Get Money for Hurricanes?
The process of getting money for a hurricane can be trickier than other events for many reasons. First, a lot of people are typically affected by hurricanes. This means that insurance companies will be swamped with claims, resulting in possible delays for you, denials, or underpayments.
Will All of My Losses Be Covered?
It depends. One thing to note is that hurricanes can cause flooding. Flooding may or may not be covered by your insurance policy. So while the event (a hurricane) could be covered, not all of the damage may be covered by the policy. You want to double-check your policy and purchase any additional coverage to make sure you will not be out a lot of money in the event a hurricane strikes.
Seek Guidance from a Skilled Hurricane Nicole Attorney at StrubleCohen
We know how devastating a hurricane can be. However, you don’t have to go it alone. Contact our office today to discuss your legal rights and options. We present the material contained on our website for general informational purposes only. It does not constitute the rendering of legal advice and does not create any attorney-client relationship. If you need legal or other professional advice, you should consult with legal counsel about your particular facts and circumstances. Call 321-415-9012 or contact us online to see how we may be able to fight for your claim!