Water-related damage claims are one of the most common insurance claims in Florida. Floods or other natural disasters (tornadoes, hurricanes) can inflict water damage, but your property can also be damaged from by leaky pipes and poor drainage.
Water-related property damage claims can be tricky to understand. People who are less educated on the subject often get into arguments with their insurance provider, and as a result, their claims are denied. Understanding your Florida Homeowner’s Policy is crucial while dealing with damage claims. Let’s go through the steps one by one so you can get back to living your normal life as soon as possible if your property is ever damaged by water.
Water Damage or Flood?
Property damage caused by pipe leaks or drainage issues, and damage caused by a flood are two different scenarios that require two different claim processes. Insurance providers use this technicality to their benefit. Most insurance contracts cover only damage caused by problems within your house – for instance, if a pipe breaks in your basement and the house is flooded, the damage will be covered under Florida Homeowner’s Policy.
On the other hand, if your property is damaged by run-off from a flood or any other natural disaster, the chances are high that your insurance policy won’t cover the damage. To get a settlement after natural flooding, you need a special type of insurance. There are a few public providers of this insurance, such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and The National Flood Insurance Program. Private insurance providers also offer it.
What Water Damage Does Your Insurance Cover?
Common water-related damages include:
- Drainage Issues
- Pipe Leakage
- Sewer backup or overflow
- Storm-related water damage
In the end, as the homeowner, it’s your responsibility to find out whether your insurance covers the most common water-related damages. What might have the greatest chance of damaging your household sometimes depends on where you live. Low-lying areas near rivers or the Florida coast, for instance, are more prone to flooding.
Why was Your Water Damage Claim Denied?
When you receive a notice saying your claim has been denied, you might feel it shouldn’t have been. However, it’s important to understand the reason for the denial. There are a few common reasons why an insurance provider may deny a damage claim:
- Previous Leak Issues: Claims are often denied because the affected individual failed to provide solid evidence that the source of the water damage wasn’t an unrepaired leak. Agencies use terms like “ongoing Leak” and “unrepaired Leak” to brush off these claims.
- Maintenance Issue: If it was a preventable maintenance issue, you aren’t getting a settlement. If you had taken preventive measures, you wouldn’t have had to deal with a water-related problem.
- Failure to Lessen the Impact: As the homeowner, it’s your job to look after your home, even when it gets damaged. If the insurance agency finds negligence on your part, they will deny your damage claim.
- Gradual Damage: Gradual damage is covered either partially or isn’t covered at all. Let’s say your roof was damaged in a storm. If you don’t repair it and later your house suffers water damage, the insurer won’t cover it. Even if they do, the settlement will be the bare minimum.
What Can You Do to Get a Settlement?
More often than not, people underestimate the damage caused by water. And by the time they realize their mistake, it’s already too late. As already stated, there are loopholes in the insurance contracts that can lead to your claims getting denied. But you can avoid the loopholes and get the coverage you truly deserve. Here’s how:
- Understand your Policy: The policy explicitly describes the damages it covers, and the limitations on this coverage. It also outlines your responsibilities as a homeowner. If you’re facing trouble with the language, get help from a public adjuster.
- Mitigate the Damage: You should try to mitigate the damage once you’ve identified the issue. But never restore damaged property. Insurers often try to blame the owner for not trying to solve the problem, so try to lessen its impact.
- Documentation: Solid evidence can do wonders for your damage claim. The key is pointing out the before-after alteration of your property. Take photos and videos of your home before you’re affected. If the property is damaged, document every small detail and change in your property so you can prove conclusively what was damaged.
- Maintain Records: Always maintain records of your house repairs, no matter how minor. If you live in an apartment, contact the landlord and ask for his assistance in doing so.
- Regular Maintenance: Small repairs might seem unnecessary and unimportant, but they can save you from incurring major expenses. Also, your insurance provider won’t be able to deny your claim based on gradual damage.
Who to Ask for Help
If you’re having trouble understanding your policy, you can always reach out to your local public adjuster. For people living in Florida, there’s another reliable source of help. Louis Law Group can help you get the settlement you deserve
Whether you want to submit a new claim or get help with a previously submitted one, Louis Law Group will guide you and take the burden off your shoulders.
If you feel your claim was wrongfully denied, reach out to an adjuster or insurance lawyer in your area. Understanding an insurance contract is a tough task for anyone. Speaking with an expert is the best thing you can do for yourself and your property.