You can claim flood damage in Florida by immediately connecting with your insurance provider to let them know about the damage. You can also work with a Florida flood damage lawyer for guidance throughout your claim.
Damage from flooding can be extensive and costly. If you purchased flood insurance to protect your home or business, you have made a wise choice. When the worst happens, and you need compensation to repair your property, you should document your losses and file a flood damage claim immediately.
You File a Flood Damage Claim Through Your Insurer
According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), flooding is the most common and costly natural disaster in the United States, leading to billions in economic losses annually. Yet, flood insurance is not a part of standard homeowners, renters, or commercial insurance policies. Instead, you must purchase flood insurance separately through a private insurer or the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
The process for claiming flood damage in Florida will be similar, whether you do so via a private insurance company or the NFIP. If you do not carry a flood protection policy, you should consider purchasing one as soon as possible.
You can also work with a property damage lawyer with our firm. We can review the policies you hold and help you explore your options for seeking compensation.
What Should You Do If You Have Flood Damage?
When your personal property floods, there are several steps you should take to protect your claim for compensation. You should do the following as soon as you can safely return to your property:
- Take photographs and videos of the flood damage. Make sure you capture the inside and outside of the building and the damaged contents.
- Make a list of your damaged property. Gather bills, receipts, invoices, or other proof of the cost of the damaged items.
- Separate salvageable items from the damaged property. Do not throw away the damaged items until the insurance adjuster can document them.
- Take steps to protect your undamaged property, including moving items to a dry area.
- Make repairs to your building to stop or mitigate the flood damage. Document the repairs and keep records regarding the costs.
- File your flood damage claim with your insurance provider immediately.
- Keep a file of the above information and have it ready when the insurance adjuster visits your property. Cooperate with the adjuster and allow them to inspect your building for damages.
ow Long Do You Have to File a Claim for Flood Damage in Florida?
As mentioned, you should file your flood damage claim as soon as you can safely get back inside your home or business to assess the damages. According to Florida Statutes § 627.70132, if you do not file within one year of when the damage occurred, the insurance company can refuse to pay you a settlement. The law allows 18 months to file a supplemental claim.
What Does Flood Insurance Cover?
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) defines a flood as “an excess of water on land that is normally dry” that affects two or more acres or two or more properties. In general, you can seek compensation for flood damage caused by the following:
- Hurricanes and tropical storms
- Storm surges
- Heavy downpours
- Melting snow
- A lake, river, or nearby body of water that overflows its banks
- Sewer backups caused by flooding
Flood insurance policies do not pay for flooding caused by broken pipes or appliances or non-storm-related sewer problems. However, your homeowners insurance or commercial property insurance may compensate for water damage claims arising from these issues.
You Can Get Flood Damage Compensation for Your Building and Its Contents
You can file a flood claim to recover compensation for repairing your building and replacing its contents. Most policies cover damages to the following:
- Structural components, including foundations, walls, and staircases
- Electrical and plumbing systems
- Furnaces and water heaters
- Carpeting and flooring
- Window blinds and curtains
- Built-in appliances
- Built-in cabinets and bookcases
- Well water tanks and pumps
- Fuel tanks
- Solar energy equipment
- Detached garages
- Clothing and personal items
- Washer/dryer units
- Portable and window air conditioners
- Original artwork and valuables
Flood insurance policies usually do not pay for:
- Moisture, mildew, or mold damage the property owner could have prevented
- Patios, decks, and landscaping
- Swimming pools and hot tubs
- Valuable papers and currency
- Cars, motorcycles, or boats
- Living expenses if you must vacate your property
hat Should You Do If Your Insurance Carrier Denied Your Flood Damage Claim?
If the insurance company denies your flood damage claim or you disagree with the dollar value of its assessment, you can appeal. When doing so, it may benefit you to work with a Florida flood damage attorney with our firm. We can put our insurance and legal knowledge behind assisting you with the following tasks:
- Reviewing your insurance policy to understand what is and is not covered
- Investigating the cause of your flooding and establishing your damages stemmed from a covered issue
- Documenting and proving your economic losses
- Filing your flood insurance claims, appeals, and related paperwork
- Managing case-related communications and deadlines
- Reviewing your settlement offers, rejecting lowball payments, and fighting back against bad-faith tactics
- Aggressively negotiating for fair compensation under your policy’s limits
- Preparing a lawsuit and representing you at trial if necessary
If the insurance company refuses to compensate your claim for flood damage fairly, we can take legal action to get the financial awards you deserve. As mentioned, you must file your claim within a year of when the damages occurred. If you go to court, Florida’s statute of limitations for filing a civil lawsuit will also apply. We can tell you more about these deadlines and help you get started before it is too late.
Contact Ged Lawyers About Your Florida Flood Damage Claim
Since 1995, Ged Lawyers has helped clients across Florida recover compensation for flooding and property damages. Contact us for a free consultation and learn more about how a flood damage lawyer with our firm can fight for you.
Don’t wait to get started on your flood claim. Connect with a property damage attorney near you today.