Will My Florida Homeowners Insurance Cover Damage from Hurricane Idalia?

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Will My Florida Homeowners Insurance Cover Damage from Hurricane Idalia?

On August 30, 2023, Hurricane Idalia made landfall along Florida’s Big Bend region as a Category 3 major hurricane. Bringing a storm surge of 4-6 feet above normal high tide, Hurricane Idalia was the most powerful hurricane to hit the Big Bend region in over a century. Early reports estimate that the damages from Hurricane Idalia could exceed $20 billion. If your home was damaged during Hurricane Idalia’s destructive path across the Sunshine State, you are likely counting on your homeowner’s insurance to cover the cost of repairing or replacing the damage.

If you have questions about what your homeowner’s insurance policy should cover, or you are having problems getting a Hurricane Idalia claim approved, a hurricane damage lawyer at Malik Law can help. Contact us today by calling 407-500-1000 to find out how we can help you get your Hurricane Idalia claim approved in full so that you and your family can begin the process of recovering.

Does Homeowner’s Insurance Usually Cover Hurricane Damage?

Floridians make a point of preparing each year for the Atlantic Hurricane Season by stocking up on water and canned goods, removing wind hazards from their property, and keeping generators, flashlights, and other emergency provisions on hand. One thing they often fail to do, however, is review their hurricane coverage in their homeowner’s insurance policies. Consequently, homeowners are often unsure what coverage they have when their home is damaged by a hurricane.

Although each homeowner’s insurance policy is a separate and distinct contract between the company and the homeowner, there are some losses that are commonly covered and some that are commonly excluded. For example, your homeowner’s insurance policy should cover losses caused by natural disasters including fire, wind, and rain.

Coverage will include repairing or replacing damage to your home as well as attached and detached structures, such as a pool house, garage, or shed. Coverage amounts for structures as well as for possessions inside your home are typically based on a percentage of the coverage amount you have for your primary residence. For example, if your primary residence is insured for $500,000, structures will commonly be insured for 10 percent of that amount, or $50,000 with possessions covered at 50-75 percent, or $250,000-$375,000.

In addition to coverage for damage to your home, structures, and possessions, your homeowner’s insurance policy will also likely provide reimbursement for living expenses incurred because your home was made uninhabitable due to a primary loss, such as the expense of staying in a hotel, eating meals at restaurants, or doing your laundry at the laundry mat.

What Hurricane Damage Is Typically Not Covered by a Homeowner’s Insurance Policy?

A typical homeowner’s insurance policy also includes deductibles, policy limits, and exclusions that may apply to damage caused by a hurricane that may reduce the value of a claim or cause a claim to be denied outright. For example, common exclusions in a Florida homeowner’s insurance policy include:

  • Losses caused by flooding. A major hurricane brings considerable amounts of rain and high winds to areas in the path of the storm. Not surprisingly, flooding is a common problem following a hurricane. Unfortunately, losses caused by floodwaters are commonly excluded from a standard homeowner’s insurance policy in Florida. To be covered for damage caused by flooding you must purchase separate coverage from your insurance company or from the National Flood Insurance Program.
  • Damage caused by coastal winds. Much like flood water damage, some homeowner’s insurance policies exclude damage caused by “coastal winds” unless the policyholder purchases separate coverage. Given that Florida is a peninsula, the “coastal winds” exclusion can be problematic for a high percentage of Floridians during hurricane season.
  • Losses caused by earth movement. Although losses caused by natural disasters are usually covered, an insurance policy may exclude losses caused by “earth movement,” such as sinkholes and mudslides.

Along with losses that are excluded from a homeowner’s insurance policy, there are limitations to coverage that likely apply. The coverage amount for your primary residence should be sufficient to pay to completely tear down and rebuild your home. Unfortunately, however, homeowners frequently put off reviewing their insurance coverage, leaving them vulnerable to a situation where the cost of rebuilding exceeds the maximum coverage limit.

Finally, and often most importantly, a separate deductible applies to hurricane damage in a Florida homeowner’s insurance policy. If the hurricane deductible applies, no other deductible applies. Under Florida law, the hurricane deductible is triggered by windstorm losses from the time the National Weather Service issues a hurricane watch or warning for any part of Florida, up to 72 hours after such a watch or warning ends, and anytime hurricane conditions exist throughout the state. Florida law further requires your insurance company to offer hurricane deductibles of $500, 2 percent, 5 percent, and 10 percent of the policy’s dwelling limit, with your choice of deductible reflected in your insurance premiums.

What Are Some Issues A Policyholder Might Face When Filing a Claim and Getting Paid?

If your home was damaged during Hurricane Idalia, you are undoubtedly counting on your homeowner’s insurance company to pay your claim in full and within a reasonable time frame. Regrettably, you may face problems getting reimbursed, such as:

  • Missing documents, forms, evidence. Some insurance companies send request after request for additional documents, forms, photos, and other evidence as a way to delay or deny paying a valid hurricane claim.
  • Miscategorized damage. To avoid paying out a claim, your insurance company may try to classify damage under an exclusion when, in fact, the damage should be covered.
  • Claim undervalued. Your insurance company may send out an adjuster to create an estimate of the cost to repair or replace the damage to your home. That estimate may be considerably lower than what it will actually cost.


Get Help from a Florida Hurricane Attorney

If your home was damaged by Hurricane Idalia’s ferocious trek across Florida, you are relying on your insurance company to help return life to normal for you and your family. You have paid your premiums as required. Now it is the company’s turn to fulfill their part of the contract. If your claim has been delayed or denied, do not give up. A Florida hurricane damage lawyer at Malik Law can help. Call us at 407-500-1000 or submit our online form today. One of our experienced hurricane attorneys will explain your rights to you and discuss your legal options at no cost.

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.