Living in Florida is a unique experience. Many different landscapes, from swamps to oceanfront property, can be found right outside your door. While many flock to the state to escape terrible winters, the trade-off may be more than they expected. Weather-related events can be catastrophic in the Sunshine State.
Insurance is one of the most important purchases a Floridian can make. It offers the financial protection you need from storms, natural disasters, car accidents, and even theft or vandalism.
Here are some of the most common types of property damage claims in Florida. We’ll cover what you should cover and what to do if you suspect unfair treatment from your homeowner’s insurance company when it comes time to use your policy.
Florida experiences hurricane season several months out of the year. The winds associated with hurricanes can account for major damage to homes and other property. That’s why if you live in Florida, it’s important to keep solid hurricane coverage.
Insurance companies in Florida often limit your exposure to loss by selling policies with a percentage deductible for storm damage. This contrasts with the standard fixed deductible. It basically means you only pay a certain percentage of a damage claim before the policy payout initiates.
Water and Flood Damage in FL
Homeowner’s insurance often covers water damage from events like rain or a busted water pipe. It’s important to understand, however, that many insurance policies see water damage and flood damage as two separate things.
Thus, if one of your appliances malfunctions and floods the basement, that may be covered – but heavy rains from a hurricane that flood your basement may not be covered.
The rule of thumb: a normal homeowner’s policy doesn’t typically cover any water that flows into the home or through the foundation. Florida’s high flood risk means that Floridians need to add flood insurance in addition to regular water damage coverage.
Theft and Vandalism
You may consider your neighborhood safe, but it’s always a good idea to protect your property against vandalism and theft. If someone robs you or damages your home in some way, you need to record the damage done. Contact your insurance company with the record to see if your losses will be covered.
Start now by doing a complete inventory of your home. Take pictures to document items and make notes regarding their worth or how much you paid for them. This can help streamline the process if vandalism or theft ever happens.
FL Auto Accidents
This type of property damage isn’t covered by homeowner’s insurance. It will fall under your car insurance instead.
Cars are generally a large, expensive investment, so make sure to obtain adequate coverage for yours. In a no-fault state like Florida, you’re required to maintain personal injury protection insurance to cover any losses sustained, even if the accident was not your fault.
Bad Faith Claims
If you file a claim with your insurance company and feel you’re getting the runaround, they may be acting in bad faith. If this happens to you, consult with an attorney. After all, you fulfilled the payment commitment of your insurance policy. You are entitled to the correct compensation.
About the Author:
Andrew Winston is a partner at the personal injury law firm of Winston Law. For over 20 years, he has successfully represented countless people in all kinds of personal injury cases, with a particular focus on child injury, legal malpractice, and premises liability. He has been recognized for excellence in the representation of injured clients by admission to the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, and named one of America’s Top 100 High-Stakes Litigators. Mr. Winston is AV Preeminent Rated by the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, enjoys a 10.0 rating by AVVO as a Top Personal Injury Attorney, has been selected as a Florida “SuperLawyer” from 2011-2020 – an honor reserved for the top 5% of lawyers in the state – was voted to Florida Trend’s ”Legal Elite,” recognized by Expertise as one of the 20 Best Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorneys, named one of the Top 100 Lawyers in the Miami area for 2015-2017, and one of the Top 100 Lawyers in Florida for 2015-2017 and 2019.