Damage from Irma? How Floridians Can Get Compensated
September 22, 2017
Irma was the strongest Atlantic hurricane ever recorded and it had the numbers to back it up:
- Irma’s tropical storm force winds covered 70,000 square miles. Our state’s whole area is actually less than that at 65,000 square miles.
- The strong winds of the hurricane reached 300 miles wide, which is two times wider than the state of Florida.
- Irma’s maximum sustained winds reached up to 185 mph. In 1992, Hurricane Andrew’s top winds only hit 175 mph.
Many places throughout Florida are closed and are unsure when they will reopen due to the staggering damage.
Monkey Jungle, one of South Florida’s favorite wildlife parks, has been devastated by fallen trees. Jungle Island on Watson Island has suffered “hundreds of thousands of dollars” in damage – more damage than they suffered during Hurricane Andrew. The Miami Seaquarium suffered structural damage as well as the deaths of seven Nile crocodiles.
These attractions, along with numerous other locations, businesses, schools, and homes that suffered damage and are still without power, are just trying to recover in the wake of Irma.
Right now, you might still be in the middle of cleaning up after this record-breaking storm and determining the damage you suffered from this catastrophe. One of the things that can help you recover is getting compensation from a hurricane property damage insurance claim.
Let’s look at how you can ensure you get the compensation you deserve from the damage that Irma caused.
What Types of Insurance Claims Can I Make for Hurricane Damage?
Depending on the type of insurance you have and the property that was damaged, you might be able to make more than one insurance claim.
Homeowner’s and Flood Insurance
Once you know a hurricane is on its way, you might want to double-check your homeowner’s insurance policy just to make sure you are covered in the event that your property is damaged. You should know whether or not your current policy covers hurricane damage and flooding, and if it doesn’t, find out what you need to do in order to make sure it does.
Some people have to take out a separate policy for flooding – especially if they live in a high-risk area that is prone to floods. If you live in a moderate to low-risk flooding zone, you might want to consider getting flood insurance, but it shouldn’t be a requirement from your mortgage lender.
If you don’t have flood insurance, however, it’s imperative that you find out if your regular policy will cover flooding from a hurricane. It should, but sometimes the wording in insurance policies can be vague, which is usually by design.
If your car was damaged by Hurricane Irma, you’re probably wondering if your car insurance policy will cover the damage.
A regular car insurance policy won’t, but if you have collision and comprehensive coverage, your auto insurer will pay for repairs or the total loss of your vehicle.
The collision part of the insurance will cover you if your car hits or is hit by another car or object. For example, if you’re driving during the middle of the storm and the water causes you to hydroplane and crash, you could potentially make a collision claim.
During a hurricane, though, you’re probably not out driving your car. If your car suffers damage, it will most likely be caused by torrential rain, high-speed winds, or both.
For this, comprehensive coverage comes into play.
Comprehensive insurance covers theft, fire, broken glass, and damage from natural occurrences like hail, floodwaters, and hurricane-force winds.
Your regular car insurance policy covers injuries and property damage from accidents you cause, but it doesn’t protect your own vehicle from the elements. So if you want to receive compensation for hurricane damage to your car, make sure you’ve got the proper insurance policy in place.
What If My Hurricane Property Damage Claim Is Denied?
If you have a valid property damage claim and follow the proper guidelines for filing that claim, you should receive compensation to have your property repaired. However, insurance companies are notorious for finding ways to avoid giving you the payout you deserve.
If this happens to you during your Hurricane Irma insurance claim, reach out to an experienced Florida hurricane and property damage attorney to guarantee that justice is served and your insurance company gives you what you are rightfully owed.
Regardless of their excuses or reasons for denying, delaying, or giving a lower-than-expected estimate of your claim, if you’re entitled to money, you should get it.
About the Author:
Lawlor, White & Murphey in 1998. Since 1995, Mr. Lawlor’s trial advocacy and litigation skills, as well as his wide-ranging legal expertise, have provided plaintiffs and their families with a distinct advantage when seeking financial compensation and justice for injuries caused by the negligence of others. Mr. Lawlor is an EAGLE member of the Florida Bar Association and an active member of the American Association for Justice, the Broward County Justice Association, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and several professional associations.