Florida’s proximity to the ocean is both a blessing and a curse. On the blessing side, our state has thousands of miles of shoreline and is home to some of the most scenic beaches in America. On the curse side, as all residents know, we’re incredibly vulnerable to hurricanes and tropical storms.
Because of this, having property insurance (especially flood insurance) is pretty much a requirement for anyone who owns a home or other building here.
Insurance enables you to bounce back from structural damage caused by natural disasters by helping you repair, rebuild and replace the damaged property.
However, it’s not only natural disasters that Floridians ought to be worried about.
There are several other ways that property owners can experience damage. In this post, we’re going to look at the most common types of property damage as evidenced by claims.
To find out which damage claims are most common, we looked at averages over several years in the recent past. The following events stood out as being the most frequent triggers of property insurance claims in Florida.
Wind and Hail Damage
Weather-related claims are the most common, accounting for a sizeable percentage of all insurance claims in Florida. The most prevalent of these weather-related claims are wind and hail damage.
Windstorms, hailstorms, tornadoes, and hurricanes are the main culprits behind wind and hail damage to property in Florida. Most home insurance policies cover these perils. However, there are times when one might be required to purchase a separate policy to cover wind and hail damage – make sure you understand exactly what your policy covers.
Water and Freezing Damage
Water damage in Florida may be attributed to rain, flooding, plumbing defects, and – in rarer cases – melting ice. Freezing damage is primarily caused by snow – something, again, that most Floridians don’t have to worry much about. Still, most home insurance policies provide adequate coverage against all of these types of damage.
Flooding is particularly a common cause of water damage here. Flooding in Florida may occur in several ways, including:
- A hurricane or tropical storm can cause a tidal surge
- Heavy, rapid rainfall may cause water to overflow into homes, streets, car parks, etc.
- Clogged or inefficient drainage systems may result in flooding
Plumbing failures are also fairly common causes of water damage to properties in Florida. A typical home with 2.5 bathrooms has about 13 water sources or faucets, and every one of them is susceptible to water leakage. Water that leaks inside a home may cause untold water damage – especially if it goes unnoticed for a long time.
Fire is the most expensive – and perhaps the most stressful – property insurance claim. Fires do a lot of damage to properties, and they typically do it quickly.
Moreover, fire also brings with it additional expenses such as moving out, looking for temporary shelter, and rebuilding the property – either partially or entirely.
Thankfully, homeowner’s insurance was originally designed to provide coverage against fires. Because of this, it’s relatively easy to find coverage for fire damage claims.
Other Property Damage
Other miscellaneous property damage claims that are frequently reported in Florida include:
- Tree falling damage
- Termite damage
- Falling objects damage
- Toxic mold damage
- Sinkhole damage
- Lightning damage
- Smoke damage
- Mildew damage
Property insurance, according to Section 624.604 of the Florida Statutes, is insurance on both real and personal property. Real property refers to your house, home, or land. Personal property refers to moveable property such as livestock.
Insurers should always honor legitimate property damage claims, but sometimes that doesn’t happen. If an insurer fails to settle your property damage claims as set down in your contract, you should consider taking legal action against them.
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, 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 2011-2017 – an honor reserved for the top 5% of lawyers in the state – and was voted to Florida Trend’s ”Legal Elite” and as one of the Top 100 Lawyers in Florida and one of the Top 100 Lawyers in the Miami area for 2015, 2016, and 2017.