Hurricane Irma seen from space

On September 10, 2017, Hurricane Irma made landfall on the Florida coast, barraging the state with high winds and heavy rain of the likes that had not been seen in the United States for over a decade. Three out of four Florida residents evacuated, leaving behind their deeply valued property and possessions and not knowing what they would return to.

Now that the storm is over, Floridians are returning to their homes and assessing the damage. While the storm was not as severe as some of our worst fears, billions of dollars in damage was done. Some of the most common costs of the hurricane include:

  • Wind damage, such as damaged roofs and broken windows.
  • Water damage from rain, flooding, or burst pipes.
  • Damage from falling trees or other objects.
  • Vehicle damage.
  • Damage caused by power surges or fires.
  • The cost of finding shelter while repairs are completed.

If you have home insurance, flood insurance, and auto insurance, it’s likely that some or all of these losses are covered by your policies. If everything goes as promised in your insurance coverage contract, your damage will be quickly and carefully assessed and paid for according to the details of your policy. However, if your insurance company does not follow the particulars of your contract and fails to compensate you appropriately for damages, they may be acting in bad faith.

If you believe that your insurance company is acting in bad faith in the wake of Hurricane Irma, it is vital that you contact an experienced Florida bad faith insurance attorney about your claim. At David M. Benenfeld, PA, we are dedicated to helping our clients get justice and compensation after their insurance claims have been denied, delayed, or underpaid. Call us today at (954) 677-0155 to tell us about your case and ask all of your legal questions. We offer Hurricane Irma victims free, private legal consultations.

Common Examples of Insurance Company Bad Faith Actions

Insurance company bad faith cases take place when an insurance company does not uphold it’s half of the deal when it comes to the contracts it agrees to with policyholders. Very simply, bad faith occurs when an insurance company does not do what it promised you it would do if you paid your premiums. While insurance company bad faith can occur with all kinds of policies and in all kinds of events, bad faith can be even more common after a large disaster in which insurance agencies are facing thousands of claims (and paying out very large amounts of money).

Here are some of the most common types of bad faith insurance claims following a hurricane:

  • Failing to properly conduct a claim investigation.
  • Delaying payment on a valid claim without good reason.
  • Offering less money than a claim is worth.
  • Misrepresenting or misinterpreting your policy
  • Misrepresenting the law.
  • Any deceptive practices.
  • Any threatening statements.

Unfortunately, insurance companies need to turn a profit just like any other business. When there is a large hurricane event, they stand to lose money by approving thousands of large claims. Some companies use illegal tactics, like the ones above, in order to minimize the financial damage done to the company in the event of a large storm. Do not let you, and your claim, be affected by these tactics.

What To Do After A Hurricane Strikes Your Home & Property

Returning to your home or property after a natural disaster like Hurricane Irma can be extremely difficult. Whether you are shocked by the damage, or thankful that it wasn’t worse (or both), there is a lot of work to do before you can return to your life as it was before the storm. Contained below are the five actions you should take after your property sustains hurricane damage.

  • Carefully read your insurance policies. It seems obvious, but a surprising number of people have never thoroughly read their insurance contracts. Although insurance policies can be difficult to read due to their legal jargon, it is vital to understand exactly what you have agreed to and what you are paying for. If you have trouble understanding the policy, don’t hesitate to ask your lawyer for help, or to call and ask the insurance company questions.
  • Assess the damage and take pictures. Before you start fixing or moving anything, assess the damage thoroughly, taking notes, pictures, and video as necessary. The more evidence you have, the better if you later have to dispute the insurance company.
  • Make emergency repairs. While large issues can wait, some small repairs can prevent further damage, such as covering a hole in the roof with a tarp or turning off the water supply to a broken pipe. Just be careful, understanding that structures and conditions may not be safe. When in doubt, wait for a professional.
  • File a claim as soon as you can and do so accurately. As soon as you have as much information as possible about the damage, call your insurance company and formally file a claim. After large disasters such as Irma, claims are often dealt with on a first come, first serve basis, so getting in line early can save you a significant amount of time.
  • Find safe lodging and other necessities. Do not stay at your home if you are unsure of its safety, if there has been significant damage, or if there is no electricity or clean water. Just be sure to keep track of your expenses so that you know how much you are spending on necessities like food and shelter.

Request A Free, Private Legal Consultation With Our Trusted Attorneys

When your most valued and vital possessions are damaged, it can be extremely stressful, overwhelming, and emotional. When, on top of that, you have difficulty rebuilding because of the illegal actions of an insurance company, it can be even more difficult.

At David M. Benenfeld, PA, our legal team is committed to making certain that insurance companies act legally and morally, especially after large natural disasters such as Hurricane Irma. To talk to an experienced Florida attorney, ask a question, or schedule a free, confidential consultation, contact us today.