Hurricane Hermine is the first hurricane to make landfall in Florida since hurricane Wilma in 2005 and many residents have begun to fortify their homes. The elemental damages from hurricanes can be frustratingly unpredictable and can come in all forms. Elevated tides and heavy rain can lead to flooding and high winds can bombard homes with debris, causing all manner of property damage. Altogether, a hurricane can be responsible for tens of thousands of dollars in damages and if homeowners are not prepared, they may be left pay for repairs out-of-pocket.
In Florida, the proximity to the ocean and the frequency of storms can make hurricane insurance a requirement. Many Individuals and families depend on this insurance as a safety net and the last line of defense against the destructive power of a storm. Unfortunately, some homeowners find that when they go to collect on an insurance claim, the money isn’t there. When insurance companies attempt to deny, reduce, or withhold a legitimate claim, they are said to be acting in bad faith.
Hurricane Claims and Bad Faith Insurance
As a Florida resident, it is important to know that your insurance will be there when you need it as well as what steps to take when it isn’t. In the event that a storm or hurricane leads to property damage, ensuring that you receive the claim you deserve begins with knowing your rights and having a plan of action in place. Below are three steps to take if you ever find yourself dealing with an insurance company that is acting in bad faith.
- Understand your policy: At its core, an insurance policy represents a legally binding contract which both you and the company must abide by. Many people are guilty of signing a contract after only a quick scan of its contents. However, the language contained in each clause can be tremendously important to the success of your claim. It is a good idea to read and understand everything contained in your policy. If you do not have a copy of your claim and an accident happens, request a policy from your insurer that is dated before the event occurred.
- Know the signs of bad faith: At the end of the day, insurance agencies are corporations that take actions to protect their bottom line and increase profits. When an insurance company does this unlawfully and at the direct expense of their customers, they are acting in bad faith. The signs of bad faith can include, failure or refusal to investigate a claim, denial of a claim without explanation, misrepresenting insurance coverage, and undervaluing a claim. By understanding what to look for, you can take action immediately.
- Gather evidence for your claim: Tactics used by insurers acting in bad faith can often include placing the blame for an accident on the homeowner. For example, a company may attempt to claim that damages were not caused by a storm or damages existed before the event happened. For this reason, it is vital to collect evidence that supports your case. Take pictures and videos of all affected areas, water levels in the event of flooding, and find pictures of areas before the damage occurred. If possible, gathering witness testimony can also be an effective tool.
Attorneys Helping Hurricane Victims
As a homeowner, you pay your insurance year in and year out so that in the event of a hurricane, you will not have to worry about your property. When insurance companies fail or refuse to uphold their end of the deal, it can be tremendously frustrating and stressful. At the Morgan Law Group, we are highly knowledgeable of the laws and regulations surrounding hurricane damage claims and can help you to hold insurance companies accountable. Our Miami insurance attorneys possess more than 40 years of legal experience and if you believe that your insurance company is treating you unfairly, we want to hear your story.