Handling the pain and destruction hurricanes cause in Florida every year is hard enough without an insurance dispute. Unfortunately, many insurance companies will fight tooth and nail to pay their clients as little as possible. Most people look for ways to help in response to disasters. However insurance companies are often more worried about their bottom line.
If an insurance company offers you a low settlement or denies your claim altogether, help is available. At Johns Law Group, PLLC, we know how to hold insurance companies accountable for their legal responsibilities and contractual obligations.
When insurance companies refuse to pay valid claims, someone has to make them.
Contact us and speak with an experienced hurricane claims lawyer today!
Common Hurricane Damage Claims Our Firm Handles
At Johns Law Group, our hurricane insurance lawyers fiercely advocate for clients in a broad range of insurance disputes. There are several types of claims that our firm sees regularly.
Wind damage is among the most common insurance claims after a hurricane. Strong hurricane winds can rip off shingles, destroy roofs, break windows, and even demolish an entire house.
Fortunately, most homeowners insurance policies in Florida cover wind damage. Still, some insurance companies try to provide low damage estimates and underpay in response to wind damage claims.
Water damage is also typical after a large storm. Rain, leaks, and flooding can ruin walls, undermine foundations, create mold problems, and make a house uninhabitable. When it comes to coverage, water damage can be tricky.
Some homeowners insurance policies cover damage from rain and leaks but not from flooding. It is easy to imagine that assessing the actual cause of water damage after a storm is challenging. Having a skilled hurricane claims lawyer on your side is vital.
Flying and Falling Debris
Flying and falling debris cause massive damage to homes in Florida every year. Tresses can fall through roofs and knock down entire sections of a home. Flying objects break windows and cause severe personal injuries. Given the large potential payouts, insurance companies often try to undermine these claims.
Hail can be a significantly destructive force in Florida. Though less common during hurricanes, hail damage can be a factor. Hail regularly destroys roofs and personal property. It can also sometimes cause significant injuries.
Fire damage is not expected during hurricanes but is a widespread cause of damage during other storms. Fire damage is also among the most expensive claims for insurance companies. The high degree of damage makes having a hurricane damage attorney on your side when filing a claim essential.
Common Tactics Insurance Companies Use to Avoid Paying Valid Claims
Insurance companies use several different illegal tactics to avoid compensating their customers. An experienced hurricane claims lawyer from Johns Law Group can help you counter these tactics and hold companies accountable for their bad behavior.
Denying a Claim with No Explanation
Simply denying a claim without communication or further explanation is among insurance companies’ most egregious tactics.
According to the Florida Homeowner Claims Bill of Rights, insurance companies must communicate the denial of a claim within 60 days of receiving your proof of loss statement. The denial must provide a reasonable basis for the insurance company’s decision.
Refusing to Investigate a Claim
Insurance companies sometimes refuse even to investigate a claim that they receive. However, insurance companies must begin an investigation into any claim they receive within seven days of receiving a proof of loss statement. They also must perform any necessary physical inspection of the property within 30 days.
Generating Unreasonably Low Damage Estimates
Generating unreasonably low estimates of damage or repair costs is a widespread tactic insurers use. Some insurance companies might even change the estimates of independent adjusters. Doing so is fraud and plainly illegal. Working with a hurricane damage lawyer at Johns Law Group can help you avoid being the victim of this unfair tactic.
Delaying Decisions or Refusing Documentation
Time is money. Insurance companies sometimes delay their decisions to delay payouts to claimants. They hope any delays will discourage a claimant from taking further action. They also might refuse to provide documentation in connection to a claim.
Florida residents are entitled to timely decisions and to receive the documentation they request concerning their claims. You should receive a decision on your claim within 60 days of filing a proof of loss statement.
Refusing to Pay a Valid Claim or Delaying Payment
Refusing to pay out claims or unreasonably delaying payments is another tactic insurance companies use. If you do not receive a denial letter for your claim, you should expect payment within 60 days after you file the claim. After 60 days, your insurance company must pay interest on the claim.
Misrepresenting Facts, the Law, or Contractual Agreements
Insurance companies can attempt to lower their payouts by misrepresenting their responsibilities to customers. This tactic often comes in the form of stating that damage is not covered under the insurance policy when, in truth, it is.
Insurance companies might also misstate the actual cause of damage to put it in an uncovered category. If you think an insurance company is misrepresenting something, working with an experienced hurricane claim attorney is critical.
Though uncommon, threatening policyholders to avoid valid payouts severely violates a claimant’s rights. An insurance company should never threaten you. Not only is the behavior wrong on its own, but it is also often indicative of a deeper problem with your claim. If an insurance company threatens you, working with an experienced attorney is essential to hold them accountable.
Compensation for Improperly Denied Claims
Victims of these insurance practices can often recover compensation for the losses inflicted on them by insurance companies. Compensation after an insurance claim is improperly denied can include the following:
- Payment for the initial claim’s value,
- Payment for accrued interest,
- Compensation for the costs incurred due to the insurance company’s improper denial, and
- Punitive damages.
If an insurance company denies your claim, a hurricane claims lawyer from Johns Law Group can help you recover the compensation you deserve. Our attorneys work on contingency, meaning we get paid only if you do. Contact us today and schedule a consultation.