Hurricane Ian Insurance Claim Denial
In late September of 2022, Hurricane Ian made landfall as a Category 3 storm in Cuba, but quickly intensified to a Category 5 storm as it moved toward the coast of Florida. By the time it encroached on the United States, Ian was the fifth most powerful storm to ever hit the nation. Cuba, Florida, and the Carolinas all suffered immense damage and flooding from the storm, but Florida saw the worst of it. Over 100 deaths have been reported in Florida alone as a result of the catastrophic hurricane.
Being a coastal city, Fort Myers and the surrounding regions were hit incredibly hard by this disaster. Homes and buildings were demolished, with wind speeds of up to 150 mph and flood waters reaching a new record of 30 feet high. Needless to say, the devastation of Hurricane Ian will remain far longer than the storm itself, and residents of the affected areas will require plenty of assistance rebuilding their communities.
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Hurricane Insurance Claim Attorneys in Southwest Florida
Following the wreckage of Hurricane Ian, many Florida homeowners will depend on their homeowners’ insurance policies to cover the damages. Unfortunately, as millions of people file insurance claims at once, far too many of them will be met with underpaid and outright denied claims.
When property owners take appropriate measures to protect their homes and businesses, they deserve to be compensated accordingly. At McIntyre & Bermudez, PLLC, our Florida hurricane insurance attorneys know the tactics insurance carriers use to underpay and reject insurance claims. Likewise, we know how to fight against these companies to ensure our clients receive the coverage they are entitled to.
If your Hurricane Ian claim was denied or you feel your payout is seriously undervalued, call the dedicated legal team at McIntyre & Bermudez, PLLC today at (239) 935-8426 or complete our online intake form to schedule a free consultation regarding your claim.
Do I Need an Attorney for My Hurricane Damage Claim?
In the wake of an economic crisis, several private insurers in the state of Florida have been downgraded, gone bankrupt, or otherwise stopped writing property insurance. As a result, many Florida residents are flocking to Citizens Property Insurance Corp, a government-owned and state-backed insurer that is intended to be a last resort. This, along with the millions of affected businesses and homeowners rushing to file claims and approximately $50 billion in insured damage estimates, can make filing a claim a difficult and unsettling process.
That’s why our legal team at McIntyre & Bermudez, PLLC is here to advocate for you. We understand that you have your hands full dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Ian. When you have to deal with problems such as finding temporary housing and adjusting to this post-disaster lifestyle, the last thing that you should be worrying about is fighting with your insurance carrier to provide the coverage you need.
Our Florida attorneys help clients with all kinds of insurance claims in Fort Myers and the surrounding areas, including property insurance claims, storm damage insurance claims, flood insurance claims, and of course, hurricane insurance claims. We can help guide you through the claims process, build and strengthen your claim, and aggressively negotiate with stubborn insurance providers to obtain the full compensation you are entitled to.
Does My Policy Cover Flood Damage?
Even though Hurricane Ian’s wind speed marked it as one of the most powerful hurricanes to make landfall on the United States, it is likely that the majority of Florida businesses’ and homeowners’ disaster-related expenses will stem from flood damage. Unfortunately, flood damage is not always covered in homeowners insurance policies. This means many Floridians who are not covered by flood insurance will have to rely on federal aid from the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) insurance company.
FEMA assistance can help cover property damage and lost personal property. However, the problem with this, aside from the complexity of the claims process, is that coverage is limited, and it can take quite a while for the grants to be issued. Even then, the grants may not be enough to even begin to cover the extent of the damages and additional living expenses. According to Mark Friedlander of the Insurance Information Institute, these grants typically only reach $10,000.
So how do you know if your homeowner’s insurance policy covers flood damage? First, you’ll need to personally verify your current level of coverage with your insurance company. If you find you are covered in the event of a flood, the specific damages that will be covered should be determined by the language in your policy. However, even if your plan does carry flood coverage, that doesn’t always mean they will honor those coverages. If you’re having trouble getting compensation from your insurance carrier for covered damages, our Florida property insurance claim attorneys can assist you by evaluating your claim and establishing whether you’re eligible to take legal action.
Extensive Damage Caused by Hurricane Ian
With the havoc that was wreaked along the gulf coast, for some Floridians, home repairs may not even be an option. Many residents have lost everything, as Hurricane Ian swept away the entirety of their homes and livelihood. Rest assured, Florida residents will need plenty of financial help to rebuild from this wreckage, and our insurance claims attorneys at McIntyre & Bermudez, PLLC are here to make sure they get it.
Policyholders who wish to file claims with their insurance companies will need proof of the extent of the storm damage to their home or business. This means taking the necessary steps to build and strengthen their claim, including documentation of any and all damage caused by the storm.
Some of the more common types of damage we expect to see after a hurricane of this nature include:
- Roof damage, including lifting and destruction of shingles, tiles, gutters, and facia boards
- Leaks and water stains
- Flood damage
- Broken windows
- Moisture damage
- Collapsed structures
- Cracked building foundation due to water damage
- Fire damage from fallen electrical wires
- Damage to vehicles and boats
- Damage to outdoor fixtures such as trees, landscaping, pools, and sheds
- Damage from projectiles
- Destruction of doors on homes and garages
- Damage to personal items, furniture, appliances, clothes, artwork, etc.
- Structural damages to walls, porches, and outer buildings
Policyholders should be sure to take photographic evidence of these things (as well as any additional damage) to provide to property insurers. Making a written account and inventory of all damaged property can also help your claim. Once the extent of your damage is captured to the best of your ability and knowledge, it is important that you take appropriate measures to minimize any further damage to your property.
What To Do If Your Insurance Claim Gets Denied
Even when policyholders take all the necessary steps and precautions to bolster their claim, insurance companies will do as much as they can to limit the amount of coverage afforded to them. This is especially true when hundreds of thousands of affected residents are filing claims all at once. Some common tactics that an insurance adjuster might use to minimize your payout include the following:
- Failing to properly investigate your claim
- Failing to respond to your claim in a timely manner
- Delaying claims due to a large volume of claims
- Citing pre-existing damage that is not attributable to the hurricane
- Underpaying the full value of the claim
- Denying payment for repairs deemed “unnecessary”
- Requiring you to submit endless rounds of unnecessary paperwork and documentation
- Claiming certain damages were not included in the policy
The best thing you can do in any of these scenarios is to reach out to a skilled attorney with plenty of experience handling property insurance claim denials in your area. Our Fort Myers insurance claim lawyers at McIntyre & Bermudez, PLLC have years of experience negotiating with insurers and litigating claims for home and business owners across Southwest Florida. We will review your insurance policy to determine everything that your provider owes you after a natural disaster. We are also prepared to go head-to-head with your insurance agent/company until you receive what you are legally entitled to.
In the event that a lawsuit is needed to protect your property rights and to enforce your insurance policy, our legal team will also be able to represent you and show the courts any evidence of the misrepresentation of facts, unreasonable delays, deceitful practices like fraud or incomplete investigations, and more.
Let Our Hurricane Ian Claims Attorneys Help You Get the Most Out of Your Policy
When Hurricane Ian moved through Fort Myers Beach, Sanibel Island, Captiva Island, Matlacha, Pine Island, Fort Myers, and the surrounding coastal areas, it left monumental devastation in its wake. As residents of Fort Myers ourselves, our legal team at McIntyre & Bermudez, PLLCis dedicated to helping our community recover from this disaster, and that starts with ensuring businesses and homeowners receive the coverage they are entitled to from their insurance company.
If you’re one of the hundreds of thousands of Florida residents met with an underpaid or denied insurance claim, allow us to fight for you to get you everything you need to restore your home or business to its prior condition. If your home is uninhabitable post-storm, we are also able to help you navigate the hurricane insurance claim process, which may provide you with the funds to obtain temporary lodging while your home is repaired.
To get in touch with the experienced attorneys at our Fort Myers, Florida office, give McIntyre & Bermudez, PLLC a call at (239) 935-8426 or reach out to us online to schedule a free case evaluation today.