Hurricane Ian property damage lawyer Fort Myers Fl
We are experienced hurricane damage lawyers who have collected millions of dollars for our clients after their insurance company wrongly denied or underpaid their hurricane damage claim. There are many “gotcha” traps and tricks set up by insurance companies that they will utilize to avoid paying your Hurricane Ian claim in full or paying anything at all.
Unfortunately, insurance companies do not have their policy holder’s best interest at heart, even after a state wide emergency like Hurricane Ian. We know this is true even because we have finally concluded all of our Hurricane Irma claims from 5 years ago. Insurance companies fought hard to avoid paying but we ensured every one of our client’s got the money they deserved. Insurance companies are for profit businesses, which leads to obvious hurricane damage claims being denied, delayed, or underpaid. This is a known tactic by insurance companies designed to wear you out and get you to take less money than your claim is worth. They will use any reason they can deny the or delay the claim from full payment. This why you need a hurricane damage lawyer to represent you and deal with the maze of insurance law on insurance policies.
You may think you have done everything right, but insurance policies are complicated contracts and so is the insurance law which is set up in favor of big insurance companies. When your home or building sustains serious hurricane damage from a windstorm like Hurricane Ian, there are duties and obligations that the homeowner or policyholder must comply with according to the insurance policy or you may prevented from collecting any money or being able to file a lawsuit.
For example, you must make a claim with your insurance company promptly or they can try to deny your claim. You must also mitigate your damages. This means you cannot just throw up your arms and give up. You must try to lessen the damage, or prevent it from getting worse. Even if there is nothing you can do after the hurricane hits, your insurer will still try to blame you for not adequately preparing for the storm or taking care of your property during the hurricane or in its aftermath.
Another trap is if you mitigate your damages too much and are too quick to clean up and repair your property before the insurance company inspects the house, or authorizes demolition, remediation, and repairs. They will try to deny your claim if you discard the damaged building parts or your personal contents before they inspect it. For example, if your shingles flew off the house or your sofa and wood floor is soaking wet and collecting mold, if you do not keep the damaged building materials and furniture, the insurance company may try to deny your claim, accusing you of not adhering to the policy provision of preserving the property for inspection and salvage. This is why taking a lot photographs and video is important, just in case you do need to remove the wet materials from the home.
After a category 4 hurricane like Ian it may take a long time after a storm for the insurance company to get to your property. Typically the law requires the Insurance company to make a cover determination and payment within 90 days after the loss. After a category four hurricane it will be chaos and it may take much longer to inspect and get any coverage decision or payments from the insurance company. The 90 day law will not be enforceable against the insurance company because they have a built in excuse under the law that allows them to claim due to the exigent circumstances they could not timely investigate and pay. Having a hurricane damage lawyer may get you attention from the insurance company sooner.
Another trick insurance companies try to do in order to comply with the law and pretend they are not acting in bad faith is to write you an undisputed check for a small amount, much less than the obvious hurricane damage. They do this to protect themselves from a potential bad faith claim later. It is an excuse that they tried to act reasonably and pay but the hurricane caused a state of emergency beyond their control.
Another “gotcha” trap is the sworn proof of loss requirement and inventory list. Most policies require a soon proof of loss to be submitted to the insurance company within 30-60 days of their request. This must be signed and notarized under the threat of the penalty of perjury. The insurance policy and law says the insurance company may not have to pay up anything until you send in the sworn proof of loss within the time limit on the form they require and with the documentation they will demand from you. They put the onus on the property owner to find all the damage and get estimates from general contractors and other vendors. If any mistake is made by overstating the damage, the insurance company will accuse you of fraud and if you do not submit it on time they will say they do not have to pay because they are unable to evaluate the loss.
Another trick by insurance companies after a hurricane is to send a letter to the client asking for a long list of documents and information that they know the property owner may not have or be able to get, especially in the chaos after a hurricane. And if you do not get everything on their list they can delay any payments and can even deny your claim outright claiming you prejudiced their investigation and evaluation of coverage. Insurers will do this even when the hurricane damage is obvious.
Hurricane Ian has brought record wind gusts, storm surge and rain to the already saturated coasts of Florida. High tides such as the King Tides only exacerbate the problem. You may lose your roof, shingles blow off, decking may break, wind and barometric pressures may create vibration and openings in the roof system, roof decking and roof trusses may fails. Window systems and sliding doors may fail. The seal or interface between the frame of the windows and sliders may bend or break allowing water to come in. Cracks ins the stucco and masonry walls may open allowing water in causing water damage to floors, cabinets, walls, drywall, ceilings, paneling and trim. Electrical failures from water and lightening may require all new wiring, outlets, and switches. Paint, stucco, drywall, base boards, will all get wet and need to be dried or removed and replaced. Pool enclosures and pool screens get blown away, pool decks and pool pavers wash out. Pool heater and pool cups, air conditioners and appliances get damaged.
You will need to hire vendors like dry out companies, restoration companies, remediation companies, general contractors, roofers, estimators, carpenters, plumbers, tree removers, debris haulers, etc to come out immediately to help mitigate damages. You need to tarp your roof and can’t just let it continue to rain inside your home or they may deny coverage blaming you for neglect.
Be careful what you report to the insurance company. Always call us first. There are many things that you could say incorrectly or do wrong that may jeopardize the value of your property damage claim. The insurance policies are designed for the insurance company to be able to deny your hurricane Ian claim or find a way to pay less than what you deserve.
Also while many public adjusters to great work, they are not necessary to hire if you have a hurricane property damage lawyer. This saves you a lot of money because you will have to pay a public adjuster 10% of your Hurricane Ian money recovery from the insurance company. When you work with our hurricane property damage lawyers, we will typically get paid by the insurance company separately and apart from your recovery, allowing you to pocket all of your settlement money.
Hurricane Ian property damage lawyer Fort Myers Florida
It is free to hire a Hurricane Ian Damage Lawyer. The insurance company will typically have to pay your attorney fees if they wrongfully deny or underpay. If you have any questions or need to make a claim of any sort please call Perkins Law Offices at 305-741-5297 or email [email protected] or visit us at perkinslawoffices.com.