Florida homeowners and business owners know the pain of water damage on their property. Florida’s climate is extremely humid, and rain and hurricanes are common occurrences, which do not bode well for structures. Even if your property is covered by insurance, how do you know if you are getting the payout you are entitled to when you file a water damage claim?
At Stabinski Law, we have seen insurers time and time again fail to pay policyholders what they are owed under their insurance policy. We are proud to represent homeowners and business owners in their fight to navigate water damage property claims in Florida and recover compensation through their water damage insurance. Our experienced legal team understands that the consequences of damage to your property can leave you without a home to live in or without a source of income, which is why we strive to get our clients what they deserve. Call us at (305) 643-3100 or contact us online for more information, and to ensure your legal rights remain protected.
Common Causes of Water Damage
Water damage can come from many sources, whether it be flooding from natural causes or problems with your building’s internal plumbing. Some of the most common types of water damage we have seen include:
- Broken pipes
- Sewer backups
- Roof leaks
- Window leaks
- Water heater leaks
- Cracks in the structure’s foundation
- Natural disasters
In addition to the damage that the water can cause to the structure, stagnant water and humidity also lead to mold and mildew, which can be a severe health hazard.
What to Do If You Experience Water Damage in Florida
If your home or business experienced water damage, there are a few steps you should take immediately to protect yourself, your property, and your future claims. These steps will help you navigate your water property damage claim in Florida.
Protect Yourself and Your Property
As much as possible, take steps to protect any people or remaining property in the area. Start by making sure the electricity is turned off and any appliances or electrical devices are unplugged. If your area is flooding, evacuate the area until it is safe to return. If you are remaining on your property, be on the lookout for mold, which can be toxic to breathe in. If there are any valuables or important documents or electronics, remove them from the property to somewhere safe.
Mitigate the Damage
If you can identify the source of the leak, try to temporarily stop the flow of water if possible and safe to do so. For example, if the water damage is coming from a burst pipe, then turn off the water to the property to stop the leak. If you are unable to stop a leak, then simply putting a bucket under the leak can help prevent further damage to the floor.
For leaky roofs and windows, try to identify the source of the leak and temporarily stop the lead if possible, in an attempt to avoid further damage. Attempt to dry out anything that is waterlogged, like furniture, rugs, and carpet, to minimize the cost of the damage. During this time, you should attempt to keep a detailed list of damaged contents of your home and save all damaged contents (if it can be done safely) to provide evidence of your claim.
Call Your Insurance Company Immediately
You should be sure to alert your insurance company as soon as practicable after any water damage occurs on your property. You can also report it to your insurance agent, if you have one. You will want an adjuster to be on the scene to see the damage while it is at its worst. You should also be diligent in taking photographs and documenting the damage yourself, in the event that there is something the adjuster overlooks. This is a vital step in the process of filing water property damage claims in Florida.
Understand How Insurance Companies Operate
Once an insurance company is on notice of your claim, they have a legal and contractual duty to determine if your losses are covered under your policy, and the total amount of compensation will be owed by preparing and providing an estimate to you. Remember, an insurance company is interested in their own profit, which can cause them to improperly deny the claim for various reasons, claim that the loss is excluded (or limited) under your policy, or pay as little as possible on the claim.
Visiting with an experienced water damage property claim attorney at Stabinski Law can help you understand all of your legal rights, and help answer all of your questions before insurance company compensation and negotiations begin.
Tips for Filing Water Damage Property Claims in Florida
While you will need to work with your insurance company to seek financial recovery for the damage, be aware that the insurance company is likely going to try to minimize the amount they pay you. Here are a few simple tips for filing your claim and dealing with your insurance company.
Do Not Undervalue Your Claim
As discussed, you should take photographs and keep records of the damage to preserve evidence of how much was lost or destroyed. Another important element of the claim is appraising the damage. Make an inventory of everything you wish to include in your claim, including the make, model, and price, to help you get a better idea of the total cost to repair or replace all of the property covered under your policy. Though the insurance company will only cover repairs up to the market value of the property, you should still be certain of how much the damage will cost you so you can seek a fair amount from your insurance company.
Be Prepared for a Low First Offer
One of the tactics insurance companies tend to use is to offer you a very low amount to compensate you at first, hoping that the idea of a lump sum payment will entice you to accept. This is understandable, as repair bills, costs of alternative lodging, or the lost income from shutting down a home or business can impose serious hardship, placing the claimant in an unfair position.
However, it is not always in your best interest to accept the first offer, as it is often much lower than your claim is actually worth. Our attorneys can provide a calm, objective voice representing your interests. At Stabinski Law, we have years of experience representing our clients in water damage property claims in Florida.
Trust Stabinski Law with your Water Damage Property Damage Claims in Florida
Insurance claims can be arduous, complex, and exhausting. We have seen many of our fellow Floridians lose so much to water damage, and to make matters worse, we have seen insurance companies try to manipulate them into accepting a lower offer than they are entitled to under the law. Consider visiting with our legal team at (305) 643-3100 or contact us online to set up your free consultation with a dedicated Florida water damage property claim lawyer. You do not need to go it alone – contact us at any stage of the process. We fight to protect our clients from their insurers so they can focus on restoring their homes and business from the devastating effects of water damage.