As we know here in South Florida, September can often be the apex of a dangerous hurricane season. After last year’s storms, it’s important to understand what your homeowners’ insurance covers and what you need to do if you find it is not sufficient. As Miami insurance lawyers, we believe there are some things you need to know about your coverage in the event of another hurricane strike this season.
Flooding Will Not be Covered
When it comes to damage from sustained winds and wind-driven rain, the damage from any water that comes in through your roof, doors, windows or any holes that are created by the storm will be covered by your homeowners’ insurance policy. But when it comes to homeowners’ policies, any damage caused by flooding will not be covered.
When you think of flooding, this will be the water that rises up, not the water that intrudes from the top down. Much of the damage caused in last year’s’ hurricane activity in Texas was due to rising waters, This type of water intrusion is only covered through the National Flood Insurance Program.
But Your Car May be Covered
If you have comprehensive automobile coverage, flooding that causes damage to your car may be covered. It is always important to consider this when buying a used car in areas where there has been flooding as cars with flood damage may have entered the market.
A Higher Deductible
Until recently, many homeowners in hurricane high-risk areas were required to purchase separate policies for windstorms. But now, more insurance companies are offering this coverage as part of the standard homeowners’ policy. What you may find, however, is that you will have a substantially higher deductible for hurricane damages. These deductibles can often be 2 to 5 percent of your coverage amount.
What About Fallen Trees?
Even if a hurricane isn’t what damaged your home, technically, it may have been what precipitated fallen trees and damaging brush. Your policy should pay for damage to your home in this case. If a tree of yours hits a neighbor’s home, he or she should file a claim with their own insurer. In the case of a fallen tree that causes no damage to a structure, insurance policies will sometimes pay for the cleanup. Consult your policy.
File a Claim Immediately
If your home has sustained damage due to a hurricane, it is important to contact your insurance company immediately. Your insurer may ask you to make temporary repairs before an adjuster is able to assess the damage. Make sure you document any damage before you make any of these temporary repairs. Make sure to use resources at the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation’s page entitled Hurricane Season Resources.
If You Are Displaced
If you are unable to live in your home after hurricane damage, most homeowners’ policies will pay some of the living expenses you incur while being unable to live in your home. Make sure to keep all receipts in order to get appropriate reimbursement.
Contact a Legal Expert
If you are looking for assistance when it comes to your insurance company and whether they are responsible for covering specific hurricane damages, contact our Miami hurricane damage lawyers at Korin Law, P.A. for a no-cost consultation.