Filing a Florida Tornado Damage Insurance Claim

Filing a Florida Tornado Damage Insurance Claim
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Filing a Florida Tornado Damage Insurance ClaimIn Florida, tornadoes can occur throughout the year, but summer brings more than its fair share, since tornadoes occur as a result of tropical cyclones and strong sea breeze boundary collisions. In fact, because of its location between the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico, Florida is susceptible to tornadoes whenever a hurricane starts swirling in the Gulf.

This summer alone, Central Florida has already been hit with three tornadoes with winds up to 85 miles per hour. These tornado winds have damaged homes and businesses, uprooted trees, and knocked down power lines.

In the wake of this tornado damage, home and business owners are left to get the wreckage cleaned up and file claims with their insurance companies to try to get enough money to cover clean-up and repair expenses. Unfortunately, many Florida home and business owners discover that filing a claim and getting paid can be a lengthy, time-consuming process with less than satisfactory results.

In this blog post, I’m going to discuss what you can do to help make the claims process go as smoothly as possible and what to do if it doesn’t go smoothly.
 

Document All of the Tornado Damage

When your home or business has been damaged by tornado winds, you should contact your insurance company as soon as possible to file a claim. You probably want to clean up the mess and start making repairs right away, but this is probably not in your best interest. An insurance company representative needs to see all of the damage so they can determine how much they will pay you to make repairs and replace damaged items.

It’s a good idea to take pictures of all of the damage before you move or try to salvage anything. Writing descriptive notes to accompany the photos is also recommended, and so is finding photos you have of your home and belongings before the damage occurred and receipts for the damaged items.
 

Get a Second Opinion

After you notify your insurance company that your property has been damaged, they will send a representative to your home or business to assess the damage. Getting a second opinion from a licensed contractor or public adjuster you trust at the beginning of the claims process is recommended so that you’ll have an estimate of repair costs to compare with your insurance company’s evaluation.
 

Get Help from an Experienced Insurance Claim Attorney

If you are satisfied with your insurance company’s assessment of the damage and comfortable negotiating with them, then you most likely do not need an insurance claim attorney’s help. However, if you disagree with or don’t understand your insurance company’s decision on your tornado damage claim, an experienced insurance claim attorney can definitely help.

At Malik Law, we’ve helped hundreds of Florida clients obtain fair payment for damages through negotiations or litigation in cases, including:

  • Denied claims. Your insurance companymight deny your tornado damage claim for a variety of reasons. Some could be legitimate, but many are not. If your claim has been denied and you don’t understand why or don’t agree with the rationale for denial, an attorney can help you understand the denial and fight for the payment you deserve.
  • Disagreements over what your policy covers.In many cases, insurance companies try to justify paying for only some of the damage. For example, if the wind rips off part of your roof, your insurance company might say they will pay for repairs, not replacement, even though you believe the whole roof needs to be replaced. In other cases, they offer a percentage of the replacement cost, given the age of the roof, and not the actual cost. In cases such as these, having an experienced tornado damage claim attorney review your claim can be very advantageous.
  • Disagreements about the extent of damage.In other instances, insurance companies limit the amount of payment because they say the damage is less than you think it is. They may only see the surface damage, or they may think some of the damage occurred earlier.
  • You don’t agree about the damage.You believe your home was damaged by a recent tornado, but your insurance company insists it’s old damage. There are a lot of viewpoints regarding wind damage, and even minor disagreements about the type or extent of damage can make a huge difference in the outcome.
  • An insurance company acts in “bad faith” when handling your claim.An insurance company acts in “bad faith” when it unfairly denies, delays, or underpays a claim or otherwise doesn’t “play by the rules.” In these cases, an attorney can help you understand your rights, build a case against the insurance company, and file a lawsuit, if necessary.

If your home, business or personal property has been damaged by a tornado or other storm, the experienced insurance claim attorneys of Malik Law can help with your claim. We know the loopholes and tactics insurance companies use to deny, delay, or underpay legitimate claims and will work diligently to help you obtain the payment that is rightfully yours.

For expert advice and personalized service, call us, chat online with us, or submit the Free Case Evaluation form on our website.

 

Sources:

Florida Division of Emergency Management. (n.d.). Tornadoes,
https://www.floridadisaster.org/hazards/tornadoes/

Pedersen, J.M. (2020, June 8). Central Florida weekend tornado tally: 3 for sure, 2 more possible. Orlando Sentinel. i
https://www.orlandosentinel.com/weather/os-ne-tornado-central-florida-tropical-storm-cristobal-20200608-si6xokeifvbypk5thsmz6pr6v4-story.html

Spectrum News 13.l (2020, June 8). Cleanup continues for tornado-damaged Central Florida neighborhoods.
https://www.mynews13.com/fl/orlando/news/2020/06/07/damage-across-orlando-neighborhood-after-tornado-touches-down

Imran Malik
Imran Malik
Imran Malik, rated AV® Preeminent, by Martindale-Hubbell, is the founding member of Malik Law P.A. An AV® Rating signifies that a lawyer has reached the heights of professional excellence. He has practiced law for a number of years, and is recognized for the highest levels of skill and integrity by fellow attorneys in his area of practice. Martindale-Hubbell is the oldest and most trusted lawyer information service in America.