Florida Water Damage Claims Lawyers
The Florida water damage claims lawyers at Smith & Vanture work closely with homeowners whose water damage claims have been denied or underpaid. Water damage claims can be very complicated, and insurance adjusters may have many loopholes to use when it comes to reducing your settlement amount. Water damage can cost homeowners thousands of dollars to repair. You’ve paid your insurance premiums and deserve to receive the fullest coverage permitted under the law.
Standard homeowner’s insurance policies exclude some types of water damage, while covering others, and differentiating between the two or even convincing your insurance adjuster that you should be covered can sometimes be challenging. The water damage claims insurance lawyers in Florida at Smith & Vanture are here to help you navigate the appeals, negotiation, and claims process if your Florida water damage claim was denied or underpaid.
Most standard homeowner’s insurance policies will cover water damage due to rain, or due to a burst pipe. But these same standard homeowner’s insurance policies don’t cover flood damage. If water damage in your home was due to flood damage, then your water damage claim might be denied if you didn’t purchase additional flood damage coverage. Sometimes, however, homeowners sustain both flood damage and water damage due to wind and rain. While one type of water damage might be covered, the other type might not be, and differentiating between the two can be challenging.
The Florida water damage claims insurance lawyers in Florida at Smith & Vanture can take a close look at the fine print of your homeowner’s insurance policy, evaluate the type of damage your home sustained, and help you fight to receive the settlement you deserve under your insurance policy. Contact us today to learn more about your rights. Rebuilding after a storm is difficult enough. Let Smith & Vanture negotiate with your homeowner’s insurance companies so you can focus on rebuilding after the storm or disaster.
Understanding Water Damage Coverage
A standard homeowner’s insurance policy will only cover some types of water damage. Unfortunately, flood damage is not covered in most standard homeowner’s insurance policies. In Florida, standard water damage coverage in your homeowner’s insurance policy can include:
- Water damage from a burst pipe
- Accidental leaks from appliances
- Water damage caused by a fire (as when firefighters throw water on your home to put out a fire)
- Water damage from a roof leak or broken roof (for example, water damage from a tree limb falling on your roof and leaving a hole in it, or water damage caused because of a broken window)
- Water damage from wind-driven rain
Water damage that is typically excluded from homeowner’s insurance coverage includes:
- Flood damage due to heavy rain that results in rising waters that enter your home from below, storm surge, or water from an overflowing river.
- Water damage due to negligence, like failing to fix a slow leak.
- Water damage that occurs due to sewage back up.
- Water damage that seeps up through your foundation.
- Costs to repair sources of water damage, like a broken washing machine or dishwasher.
It is important to note that while your homeowner’s insurance coverage will cover sudden water damage, it won’t cover gradual water damage. So, if your roof was damaged on a rainy stormy night or during a hurricane, your homeowner’s insurance policy will generally cover any water that got into your home that night, but not after. Your insurance company will expect you to make temporary repairs and put up a tarp to prevent further gradual damage. And while standard homeowner’s insurance coverage will protect you if a pipe suddenly bursts, it won’t cover damage from a gradual leak that you don’t repair.
Problems with water damage claims can arise when homeowners and insurance adjusters disagree about the nature of the water damage. For example, you might claim that the water damage happened due to wind-driven rain on the night a hurricane hit, but your insurance adjuster, to reduce liability, might claim that most of the water damage happened in the week after because you didn’t put a tarp on your roof. Other issues that can arise include disputes about whether water damage occurred due to flood damage or due to wind-driven rain.
When these disagreements arise, it can be helpful to have a water damage claims insurance lawyer in Florida at Smith & Vanture on your side. Our water damage claims lawyers in Florida can evaluate the source of your water damage, fight insurance adjusters if they wrongfully claim it isn’t covered, and fight for your rights. Contact our Florida water damage claims lawyers today.
How a Water Damage Claim Lawyer in Florida Can Help You
There are many ways a water damage claim lawyer in Florida can help you. If your claim has been denied or underpaid, contact the Florida water damage claim lawyers at Smith & Vanture today. Here are some common water damage claims disputes that can arise when homeowners make a homeowner’s insurance claim:
- Your insurance company believes your water damage was due to flooding, but you know it is due to wind-driven rain. Flood damage isn’t covered by standard homeowner’s insurance policies. Issues can arise if your home sustained water damage due to both flooding and wind-driven rain, or sustained water damage because windows broke, or your roof was damaged. Some insurance policies might exclude all water damage if flooding was also a cause of damage. Other insurance policies will cover wind-driven damage even if flooding was also an issue, but insurance adjusters will need to differentiate between wind-driven water damage and water damage due to flooding. As you can imagine, this can get complicated. A water damage claims insurance lawyer can help you appeal a denied claim, dispute an underpaid claim, or negotiate with insurance companies to make a big difference in the outcome of your case.
- Your insurance company claims that negligence on your part resulted in the water damage. If your home was damaged in a storm, and your roof was damaged or your windows were damaged, then you do have a responsibility to make temporary repairs to prevent further damage to your home. Yet, complications can arise with this. In the aftermath of hurricane Ian, for example, one of the deadliest hurricanes to hit Florida since the Labor Day hurricane of 1935, many homeowners were unable to access their homes because of damaged bridges or hazardous conditions. In this case, any gradual damage that occurred after the day of the storm would not really be the fault of the individual. Sometimes insurance adjusters might claim that a homeowner didn’t take precautions to prevent further water damage when the homeowner did take these precautions. Insurance companies want to reduce their liability as much as possible and may make these claims to reduce liability. Homeowners who aren’t aware of their rights might accept a lower settlement, unaware that they have the right to appeal a denied or underpaid claim. A water damage claims insurance lawyer in Florida at Smith & Vanture may be able to help you understand your rights and help you fight for them.
- Hurricane-caused water damage may sometimes be subject to higher deductibles than damage from other causes. If the cost to repair your roof is less than the deductible, you may end up having to pay the whole thing out of pocket. Yet, issues can arise if your insurance adjuster underestimates the value of your damages, or only wants to pay for a partial roof repair when a full repair is in order. Insurance policies can differ in terms of what is covered. For example, if your windows were damaged in a hurricane, you may need to rebuild them to code. In Florida, all windows must be impact resistant or have coverings, like shutters. Depending how far inland or close to the coast you live, your windows must be designed to withstand certain wind speeds. For example, homes in very vulnerable coastal areas may need windows that can withstand wind speeds up to 150 miles per hour. When repairing windows with insurance money, most insurance policies will only cover costs for the same materials and quality that you had before. Yet, you’ll still need to meet current codes. Some insurance policies may have additional money available to cover these code upgrades, but not all may include this provision. A water damage claims insurance lawyer in Florida at Smith & Vanture can help you navigate these unique concerns.
- Mold due to water damage. Mold damage is also covered by most standard homeowner’s insurance policies, but only if the mold was caused by covered water damage. So, if your home was flooded and developed mold, most standard homeowner’s insurance policies won’t cover this mold damage, while standard policies would cover mold damage due to water that got into your home due to wind-driven rain. Disputes can arise if your home was both flooded and damaged by wind-driven rain, or if you weren’t able to return to your home for some time due to damaged bridges or hazardous conditions. Smith & Vanture is a Florida water damage claims insurance law firm that may be able to help you appeal a denied claim or negotiate to receive the settlement amount you may deserve under the law.
These are just some of the types of disputes that can arise with water damage claims. If your home sustained water damage in a hurricane or due to some other cause, the water damage claims lawyers in Florida at Smith & Vanture are here to help you. Our Florida water damage claims lawyers can read the fine print of your policy, review your damages, estimate the value of your claim, and fight or negotiate with insurance companies to help you get the settlement you may deserve under the law. Contact Smith & Vanture, water damage claims lawyers in Florida today.
Reach Out to Our Water Damage Claims Lawyers in Florida
If your home was damaged in a hurricane or sustained damage due to wind-driven rain, or due to another cause entirely, you could be facing thousands of dollars in repair bills. This can be incredibly stressful, especially if your insurance company has denied your claim or underpaid your claim. The water damage claims lawyers in Florida at Smith & Vanture are here to help you. We understand the unique challenges that homeowners face when they cannot get the settlement they deserve from insurance companies.
Contact our water damage claims lawyers today to learn more about your rights and begin taking the next steps in rebuilding.