Anyone who owns property in the Orlando area knows that between June and November, the threat of hurricane damage is very real. With the NOAA predicting an above-normal hurricane season, we could see yet another year where thousands of homes and businesses are damaged by strong winds, heavy rains, and storm surge.
When this hurricane damage occurs, home and business owners expect their insurance companies to pay for necessary repairs or replacements for damaged items and structures. Thinking they have paid insurance premiums to make sure they are covered for this type of storm damage, many property owners are very discouraged when they discover that the process of filing a claim, collecting what they think is owed to them, and getting repairs made satisfactorily is frustrating and disappointing.
At Malik Law, we have witnessed the destructive power of hurricanes and the aftermath of homeowners being left without a safe and sanitary home. We have also witnessed the unfortunate aftermath of insurance companies denying, delaying or underpaying legitimate claims filed by Florida property owners whose homes, personal items or businesses have been damaged.
If this happens to you – if your hurricane damage insurance claim is denied, delayed or undervalued, an experienced Florida insurance claim attorney from Malik Law can help you obtain the insurance payment that is rightfully yours. We have many years of successful experience negotiating with and litigating against insurance companies and understand all aspects of insurance law, as well as the tactics insurance companies use to try to avoid paying claims. Let us put our experience and expertise to work helping you get the payment you need to recover from your hurricane property damage.
Extensive Damage from Powerful Florida Hurricanes
According to the NOAA, an average hurricane season has 12 named storms (winds of 39 mph or greater), six hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or greater), and three major hurricanes (winds of 111 mph or greater). In recent years, however, there have been more tropical storms and more powerful storms than usual.
In 2019, for example, there were 18 named storms, six hurricanes and three major hurricanes. The 2020 season topped the previous year and all previous years, with 30 named storms, of which 13 became hurricanes, including six major hurricanes. In addition, the 2020 hurricane season also brought unprecedented water levels to several areas, including the Gulf Coast.
Three relatively recent hurricanes demonstrate the level of destruction the high winds, rain and storm surge associated with these tropical storms can cause:
- Hurricane Sally (2020) only reached Category 2 status; however, the slow-moving storm drenched the area between Mobile, Alabama, and Pensacola, Florida, with 20 – 30 inches of rainfall. According to the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI), the flooding and high winds caused approximately $7.3 billion of damage.
- Hurricane Michael (2018) reached Category 5 strength, with devastating winds of 160 mph. Storm surge over 15 feet, coupled with the intense winds, caused extensive damage in Mexico Beach and Panama City, Florida, as well as inland. The NCEI reports the storm caused 49 fatalities and approximately $26.0 billion in damage.
- Hurricane Irma (2017), a Category 5 hurricane, damaged 65% of all buildings in the Florida Keys and damaged or destroyed over 65,000 structures in Central and Southwest Florida. According to the NCEI, the storm’s prolonged 185 mph winds and powerful storm surge caused 95 fatalities and approximately $53.5 billion in damage.
Hurricane Damage to Florida Homes, Businesses and Personal Property
When storms such as Hurricane Irma, Michael or Sally occur, news outlets report extensively on the damage they cause throughout Florida and other states. After a week or two, however, cleanup begins, life goes on, and most people stop thinking about the storm and the impact it has had on the lives of families who have suffered property damage.
Unfortunately, their lives have been painfully disrupted. In many cases, their security has been threatened, and they need help obtaining the funds to make necessary repairs and/or replace the items they have lost. The damage to their property and their losses can be extensive, including:
- Roof damage
- Water damage
- Broken glass
- Structural damage
- Cosmetic damage
- Downed trees
- Landscape damage
- Damaged vehicles
- Damaged electronic equipment
Florida property owners who have suffered hurricane damage naturally turn to their insurance providers to cover their hurricane-related losses. Many homeowners are disheartened when payment of their claim is unreasonably delayed or their claim is underpaid or completely denied.
Florida Hurricane Insurance Claims
As a property owner, you count on your homeowner’s insurance to cover losses when a hurricane causes damage to your home or business. In reality, however, a number of things can occur during the insurance claims process that affect your payment:
- Denial of coverage– In most states, standard homeowners’ insurance policies cover wind damage, including damage from strong hurricane winds. However, in Florida, property owners typically need a separate policy or a rider to their policy to be covered for hurricane wind damage. Those homeowners who do not read their policies closely can be shocked when their hurricane wind damage claim is denied because their policy did not include coverage for hurricane damage.
- Delayed approval or payment– When processing of your claim is dragging on for weeks without any explanation for the delay, it could indicate a bigger problem. It may be time to consult with a hurricane damage insurance claim attorney if your hurricane damage claim has not been approved and/or payment for an approved claim has not been issued in a timely manner.
- Undervaluing a claim – As an insured property owner, you undoubtedly expect to be fully compensated for the loss you have suffered. If the insurance company undervalues the loss, leaving you without the resources to adequately repair the damage, it may be time to consult with an attorney.
Get Help from Experienced Orlando Hurricane Damage Attorneys
The Orlando hurricane damage insurance claim attorneys of Malik Law have extensive experience helping home and business owners with the insurance claims process. We know the tactics insurance companies often employ to avoid paying a claim and can help you get the payment you deserve. If you have suffered losses as a result of a hurricane, we will aggressively advocate on your behalf to ensure that you are fully compensated for your losses.
Call us at 407-537-0229 or submit our online form today for a free consultation. One of our experienced Orlando hurricane damage attorneys will explain your rights and discuss how we can help you.