If you own a business in Florida, you undoubtedly know about the potential damage water can cause to your business property. Whether that damage occurs because of a powerful storm, a destructive flood event, or something more mundane like a broken water pipe, the cost to repair or replace property damaged by water is often high.
You understandably expect your business insurance policy to cover the costs associated with water damage to your business. Instead, you may find that your claim is unreasonably delayed, inexplicably underpaid, or outright denied. If that happens to you, it is time to get help from the Florida business water damage insurance claim lawyers at Malik Law.
Why Might Your Florida Business Water Damage Insurance Claim Be Delayed, Underpaid, or Denied?
As a commercial property owner, you purchased insurance to protect the (likely large) financial investment you made in the property. You did so with the expectation that your insurance company would pay for repairs to the property made necessary by covered damage, including water damage. Unfortunately, your insurance company has a strong financial incentive to underpay or avoid paying claims. Your insurance company will use several common justifications for delaying, underpaying, or denying your water damage insurance claim, such as:
- Forms or documents missing. When you file a water damage claim, you may quickly realize that your insurance company asks you to submit what appear to be unnecessary and often duplicate forms and documents. Some insurance companies do that intentionally to slow down the claims process, or to provide justification for denying a claim if a single document is not submitted by the stated deadline.
- Excluded damage. When an insurance company can claim some or all damage falls under an exclusion to coverage, they will do so to get out of paying the claim. Water damage claims that involve flood water can be tricky to categorize because flood damage is often excluded or treated differently than other types of water damage. Indirect damage, such as mold, may be covered even if the direct flood damage is not, but your insurance company may lump all damages together and deny the entire claim.
- Undervaluing the cost of repairs. Your insurance company may send out an adjuster to estimate the cost of repairs. That estimate may significantly undervalue what it will actually cost to repair the damage.
- Refusing to replace. Sometimes the damage caused by water cannot realistically be repaired and instead requires a replacement; however, the insurance company may resist paying the cost to replace the damaged property.
- Failure to mitigate damages. Anytime your property suffers damage you have an obligation to take reasonable steps to try and prevent further damage. Your insurance company may claim you failed to mitigate damages even though further action on your part was hindered by the risk to you or your employees.
- Lack of supporting evidence. Your insurance company may contend that you failed to provide sufficient evidence (photos, estimates, receipts, etc.) to support your claim.
What Should I Do When a Dispute Arises after Filing a Florida Water Damage Insurance Claim?
If you filed a water damage claim and your insurance company has failed to pay the claim in full within a reasonable time or has denied the claim entirely, there are steps you can take to help resolve the dispute and get your claim paid, including:
- Review your insurance policy. Take the time to thoroughly review your insurance policy to make sure you understand your coverage as well as any exclusions or limitations that might apply to your claim.
- Read through correspondence from your insurance company. Carefully read through any correspondence you received from your insurance company and look for explanations for a delay, underpayment, or denial.
- Be prepared to support your claim. If a dispute over your claim appears imminent, start preparing to support your claim by gathering evidence, including estimates, before and after photos, and proof of the value of damaged/destroyed property.
- Contact your insurance agent. As soon as it becomes apparent that your claim will not be paid in full in a reasonable amount of time, contact your insurance agent in writing and attach copies of all evidence you have supporting your claim. Request a re-evaluation if the claim was denied or underpaid and/or a reason for the delay in paying the claim.
- Consult with an experienced water damage insurance claim lawyer. Once it becomes apparent that your claim is not going to be paid in full and in a timely manner, it is time to consult with an experienced Florida business water damage insurance claim lawyer. Your attorney will intervene on your behalf and try to settle the claim or litigate the claim in court if necessary.
When Should I Hire a Florida Business Water Damage Claim Insurance?
If it becomes clear that your water damage claim for your business property is not going to be paid in full and without delay, contact a Florida business water damage insurance claim lawyer immediately. The sooner you get an attorney involved, the sooner your claim can be reviewed, and a settlement negotiated, or litigation initiated.
Just like your business is focused on making a profit each year, your insurance company also needs to make money to remain in business. That means your insurance company has a vested interest in limiting the amount of money paid out in claims. An experienced Florida business water damage insurance claim lawyer can protect your rights and advocate on your behalf to get your claim paid in full either through negotiation or by filing a lawsuit in court.
How Can Florida Business Water Damage Insurance Claim Lawyers Help?
If your water damage claim is in dispute, contact the experienced Florida business water damage insurance claim lawyers at Malik Law. Every day that your claim is left unpaid it puts the financial future of your business at risk. Now is the time to seek expert legal advice and intervention if necessary.
At Malik Law, we have an in-depth knowledge of the strategies employed by insurance companies to avoid paying valid claims as well as the experience and skills needed to get a claim resolved. We will aggressively advocate on your behalf to get your business water damage claim paid in full without further delay.
Call us today at 407-500-1000 or submit the Free Case Evaluation form on our website for a free consultation with one of our expert Florida business water damage insurance claim lawyers.