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Home Property Loss Claims

When your property is damaged or destroyed by a flood, wind, fire or other unforeseen event, you would expect your insurance company to cover your losses. But after you file a claim, you discover that your insurance carrier is doing everything they can to avoid covering your loss.

Insurance companies often limit the amount they’re willing to put out for damages. Some home property insurance companies go as far as to deny an entire claim. If that is the case, speak to a lawyer experienced in home property loss claims. They will review your insurance policy and make sure you’re not missing out on payment.

Limiting a claim’s compensation or disregarding it entirely causes devastating financial effects, which leads to debilitating stress and anxiety. After a hurricane or tropical storm, you need to focus on getting your day-to-day routine back, as opposed to spending countless hours on the telephone with an insurance agent. If you need help getting started on a home property loss claim or unsure about the process, seek the advice of a home property loss claims attorney.

Lawyer for Home Property Loss Claims in Miami, FL

It can be a debilitating experience losing the home you spent so many years building memories in. Unfortunately, hurricanes and tropical storms are common occurrences in the sunshine state, and they can leave widespread and massive property damage.  However, you don’t have to face the effects of home property loss alone, the attorneys at Abrams Justice Trial Attorneys can work with you and submit a claim on your behalf.

Ivan and Isabel Abrams proudly serve clients in the greater Miami-Dade area including Miami, Homestead, Hialeah, Kendall, Miami Gardens, Miami Beach, North Miami, Doral, Coral Gables Pinecrest, Palmetto Bay, and Cutler Bay. Call Abrams Justice Trial Attorneys at (305) 709-0880 or submit your information in the online form available on the website.

Overview of Home Property Loss Claims

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Types of Home Property Damage Claims

Hurricane Irma caused about $200 billion in property damage in Florida, and while hurricanes are not the only cause of property damage in the state, they are a common problem. Such storms can cause wind, mold, water and sometimes fire damage to homes. Listed below are some of the most common types of property damage claims in Florida:

Wind/Hail Damage: Wind and hail damages are probably some of the most common causes of property loss. Wind and hail from hurricanes and tropical storms can be especially destructive to homes. Depending on the strength of the storm, the winds can cause debris or trees to hit the house or rip out shingles and siding.

Water Damage: Florida is no stranger to water issues caused by the rainy/hurricane season. Water damage is one of the most common insurance claims that include flood damage, burst pipes, and plumbing backups.

Mold: Unchecked water damage can frequently lead to mold damage. This type of damage can be disastrous for homeowners. Not only does it damage property, but it can also create serious health problems for those who live in the home.

Fire & Lightning: Fires can destroy a home in a matter of minutes. Along with the flames from the fire, smoke damage is very dangerous and can be very damaging to a home. The same thing is said for lightning. Lightning can lead to house fires and room damage.

Theft: Homes break-ins happen every day, and along with the breach in security, there’s a lot of personal property loss during a break-in. Home theft is especially common after a hurricane or severe storm when there’s a limit on surveillance of a home.

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Home Property Insurance Policies

Property insurance covers the main structure of a home, plus other structures within the home property such as a garage or a shed. Property insurance also covers personal property—the limits and exceptions on those vary by insurance policies.

Like other states, Florida requires every property owner to carry liability coverage. This coverage exists in the event of damage done to another person inside the home. The limits on liability also vary by carrier. Additionally, you have the option to pay for temporary housing coverage in case your home were to be damaged. This part of the policy includes hotel expenses and even meal costs.

It is important to note that when it comes to water damage or wind damage caused by hurricanes and tropical storms, a standard policy has to adjust to include these. You might have to purchase a separate insurance policy or pay an additional cost for these types of coverages. However, since Florida is high-risk for these types of damage, the state pushes insurance companies to offer discounts on hurricane or windstorm damage.

The most common types of home property insurance policies are as follows:

HO-1 – basic perils covered here (or potential threats)

o Fire /Lightning/Smoke

o Explosion

o Hail and Windstorms

o Theft

o Vandalism or Malicious Mischief

o Damage from a Vehicle

o Damage from an Aircraft

o Civil Commotion or Riots

o Volcanic Eruption

o Glass

HO-2- broad perils are covered here in addition to the basic HO-1

o Falling Objects

o Weight of Ice, Snow, or Sleet

o Heating Systems or AC Rupture

o Damage from Overflow of Water or Stream (plumbing related)

o Electric Current Damage (artificially generated)

HO-3- This policy type combines both HO-1 and HO-2, with more perils added depending on the policy. However, it doesn’t cover against specified natural disasters like an earthquake, flood, landslide, or mudslide.

HO-5- This type of policy is often more costly than the rest. Like HO-3 it covers all perils previously stated, plus more comprehensive items not seen before.

HO-6: This policy is similar to an HO-3 or HO-5, except it’s specifically for condo owners or co-op owners who own some part of a building structure.

HO-8- This policy is usually used to cover old homes whose replacement costs amount to more than their actual value. Water damage, earthquake damage, or falling objects are also often not covered under this policy.

Homeowners Association Insurance (HOA): This is a policy that includes complexes of buildings owned by different individuals. Depending on the specific policy, the items covered cross over to some business property coverage.

Mobile Home Policy (MHP): This type of policy is specifically designed to include mobile homes. This policy is similar to the rest of the others; however, it only covers a stationary home, not a moving one.

DF-1: This policy is for owners who don’t qualify for other policies but still wish to insure the property. This type is usually similar to a HO-1 policy, in addition to some limitations subject by the insurance policy.

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Exceptions to Home Property Loss Coverage

Florida is a high-risk area for flooding and storm damage. You need to make sure you have coverage from such included inside your existing policy, or you buy a separate policy specifically for these types of damages.

Insurances will also point out certain damages that they will not cover, and it is vital to pay attention to these types. On the other hand, perhaps you’re sure a peril was within your policy, and now the insurance tells you that it’s not. It’s especially important to always secure a copy of your home property insurance policy and contract. You should bring this over to your home property loss lawyer as soon as you can, so you both can look it over, and point out any misinformation.

The limits on certain items covered are also necessary, especially dealing with a theft incident. Some of the following things may have a cap on coverage:

  • Jewelry
  • Guns
  • Furs
  • Cash
  • Cameras
  • Art or antiques

When dealing with some of these items, it is also essential to consider the depreciation of value. Some policies distinguish between offering actual cash value (ACV) versus replacement cost coverage. Actual cash value (ACV) would take into account the depreciation of the item and subtract it from its value cost. Replacement cost coverage would replace the item based on how much it takes to replace it period.

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Florida Laws for Claims

The state of Florida has robust laws regarding home property insurance. Some of the Florida laws regarding home property insurance claims include the flowing:

 Bill of Rights: The state of Florida has a bill of rights regarding home property damage claims that must be followed by both insurer and insured. The insurance company is required to review and acknowledge a claim within 14 calendar days. If the communication includes a notification of a claim, the insurance company should provide the necessary, claim form, and instructions. Within 10 days of the insurance company receiving proof of loss, they must begin their investigation into the claim.

You, as the insured, should also talk with your insurer about anything regarding your claim or property damage. You need to let them know about the contractors you have working inside the property and their work. Sometimes the contractors themselves are the problem which could lead to further damage. The insurance company needs to be aware of this for security reasons.

Statute of Limitations: You have three years to file a claim with an insurance company after hurricane damage. This is not a problem, as most people file with their insurance company as soon as some property damage is present. You have five years to file a lawsuit against an insurance company if you believe they have wrongfully breached your contract by denying or limiting your claim.

Attorney’s Fees:  When an insurance company underpays, denies, or disputes your claim, they are required to pay the insured’s attorney’s fees and cost. This was created to prevent insurance companies from taking advantage of their customers.

Other suggestions:

Situation: When filing a claim either against a specific person, entity, or insurance, you have to consider the timelines of events and make sure you tell everything to the lawyer. As soon as you finish documenting the damages you see in your home; you should also take photographs of it all.

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Additional Resources

Notice of Windstorm or Hurricane Claim– Read full text of the Florida Statue that governs how long homeowners have to file a claim with their insurance company following a windstorm or hurricane. The statute can be read on Online Sunshine, the official site for the Florida legislature.

Insurer’s Duty to Communicate Regarding Claims, Investigations– Follow the link to read the Florida statute that establishes how long insurance companies have to communicate with the insured regarding claims and investigations. The statute can be read on Online Sunshine, the official site for the Florida legislature.

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Home Property Loss Claims Lawyer in Miami Dade County, FL

If you are having trouble settling a claim with your homeowners’ insurance, you should contact Abrams Justice Trial Attorneys as soon as possible. Their attorneys are experienced in dealing with insurance companies and they will fight to ensure you are properly compensated for your loss.

Call Abrams Justice Trial Attorneys today at (305) 709-0880 or submit your information in the online form for a free case evaluation.  Abrams Justice Trial Attorneys serves clients in communities that include Miami, Homestead, Hialeah, South Miami, Miami Gardens, Miami Beach, North Miami, Doral, Coral Gables, and Cutler Bay.

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