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Why Filing Your Hurricane Insurance Claim on Time is Crucial

May 10, 2024

Hurricanes are a harsh reality for residents of Florida. While preparation is key, even the most prepared homeowners can find themselves facing significant storm property damage. This is where your windstorm insurance comes in. However, navigating the claims process and securing fair compensation can be challenging, especially if you miss the deadline to file your claim.

Understanding Windstorm Insurance and Coverage

In Florida, windstorm insurance, rather than being a separate policy, is typically included or a supplement within your standard homeowner’s, condo, or renter’s insurance coverage, unless you live near the coast, in which case you might have a separate windstorm policy in addition to your homeowner’s policy. This coverage protects your property against damage caused by hurricanes, storms, gales, winds, hail, and other gusty hazards. It’s crucial in this state due to its vulnerability to severe storms.

Most policies have a higher deductible if the storm that caused the damage is a “named storm”. This means that damage caused by a named storm, such as a hurricane or tropical storm, may be subject to a higher deductible compared to damage caused by regular wind events.

Florida’s Claim Filing Deadline

Navigating the insurance claim process can be very complex, and it’s crucial to act promptly. As per Florida Statutes § 627.70132, depending on the date of damage, and assuming your policy effective date is after December 16, 2022 for that loss, you have one year from the date a hurricane makes landfall in the state to file an insurance claim, and an additional 6 months after that to file any supplemental claims. This means timely action is critical to secure the compensation you deserve. If negotiations with your insurance company fail within the allotted time, Florida Statutes § 713.23(1)(e) provides you with five years from the date of the loss to file a lawsuit, assuming you filed the claim timely. However, understanding your policy, assessing damages, and negotiating with insurance adjusters can be daunting tasks. That’s where the expertise of Insurance Litigation Group (ILG) can help. Our experienced team can guide you through the entire process, ensuring you understand your rights and receive fair compensation.

Hurricane Idalia: A Case in Point

On August 30th, 2023, Hurricane Idalia made landfall near Keaton Beach in Florida’s Big Bend area as a Category 4 hurricane, packing sustained winds of 115 mph. The storm caused significant coastal flooding with storm surges reaching 7 to 12 feet. Communities like Cedar Key experienced record water levels of 6.8 ft, while areas further inland like Tampa Bay and Clearwater saw surges exceeding 3 ft. Idalia also dumped torrential rain across the region, leading to extensive flooding and flash flooding both along the coast and inland. The storm’s impact wasn’t limited to property damage, causing an estimated $64 million in losses to Florida’s timber industry, damaging over 289,000 acres of trees.

It is important to note that you can still file a claim for Hurricane Idalia even though it struck in 2023. The one-year deadline is from the date the damage occurred, giving you time to assess the damage and gather necessary documentation. If you’re unsure about your policy coverage or need assistance with your claim, give us a call today for a no-charge claim review home inspection. Our experts can help you understand the specifics of your policy and ensure you’re on the right track to receiving the compensation you deserve.

Why Timely Filing Matters

Delaying your claim can have significant consequences.

  • Missed Deadlines: Failing to file the initial claim within the one-year window can lead to your claim being denied, leaving you financially responsible for repairs and rebuilding.
  • Evidence Degradation: Over time, evidence of damage weakens, making it difficult to prove the extent of the hurricane’s impact. Witnesses’ memories fade, and weather patterns can change, making it harder to establish a direct link between the storm and the damage.
  • Insurance Company Leverage: The longer you wait, the more leverage your insurance company may have to deny or offer a lower settlement for your claim. They may argue that any damage is unrelated to the hurricane or that it worsened due to neglect during the delay.

Seeking Help from Property Claim Attorneys

Filing an insurance claim, especially after a major disaster like a hurricane, can be overwhelming. Property insurance claim attorneys, such as those at ILG, can provide invaluable assistance throughout the process. We understand the complexities of hurricane insurance claims and the importance of acting swiftly and decisively.

We are client-focused Florida insurance attorneys dedicated to protecting the rights of residential and commercial policyholders, contractors, restoration and mitigation companies against insurance companies. Our insurance litigation team possesses the expertise, skills, and experience necessary to navigate the intricacies of insurance law and fight for maximum recovery results on your behalf.

We have five offices conveniently located across Florida in North Miami Beach, Orlando, Pensacola, Fort Pierce, and Naples, to serve you better. We understand the devastation hurricanes can bring and are committed to helping you recover what you are rightfully owed.

Our Offices

We are a client-focused law firm that fights aggressively on behalf of residential and commercial policyholders, contractors, restoration and mitigation companies, to produce maximum recovery results from insurance companies through our unique expertise, deep understanding of insurance law, cutting edge technology and proactive approach to litigation.

Insurance Litigation Group serves clients across the state of Florida. With over 7 offices statewide, our attorneys have the knowledge, skills and experience to resolve your dispute against the insurance company. 

North Miami Beach

1500 NE 162nd St
North Miami Beach 33162

786.529.0090

Orlando*

20 North Orange Ave
11th Floor Suite 1100
Orlando, FL 32801

405.564.8555

Pensacola*

225 N Pace Blvd.
Pensacola, FL 32505

850.919.4357

Naples*

5660 Strand St, #315
Naples, FL 34110

239.237.1818

Fort Pierce*

130 S Indian River Dr
Suite 202
Fort Pierce, FL 34950

772.248.4050

By Appointment Only*

Contact Us

Contact us today about your situation so we can fight to get you paid. We can assist you in any coverage dispute, disagreement over liability or damages, or related matter.

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