If there’s one thing that Floridians can expect every year, it’s one or more tropical storms or hurricanes. The Atlantic hurricane season can be deadly. It’s important to know what to do should tragedy strike. Most people have homeowners insurance, which you assume will cover repair expenses and displacement costs. However, you might be shocked to find out there are some excluded events for storm damage in Tallahassee.

Contact our hurricane lawyers in Florida if your insurance company unfairly denied your claim.

The devastation to homes and businesses caused by the high winds and storm surges brought by hurricanes and tropical storms can be financially crippling.

Luckily, homeowners and business insurance usually cover property damage losses caused by hurricanes and tropical storms. However, making an insurance claim for property damage after a severe storm can be both time-consuming and confusing.  

Further, insurance companies and their adjusters are highly-trained in making sure the insurer pays the absolute minimum on these claims.

Naturally, disputes between home and business owners and insurance companies are common with property damage claims. 

At Barrett Nonni Homola & Ferrero, we understand the complex nature of hurricane- and storm-related homeowners insurance claims. Deciphering vague policy terms after a natural disaster only worsens a stressful situation. If the insurance adjuster wrongfully denies your Tallahassee hurricane damage claim or mistreats you, you might have grounds to bring a bad faith lawsuit.

The following are some issues encountered by home and business owners in Tallahassee when dealing with their insurance companies during a property damage claim:

  • Denial of the claim for an uncovered event
  • Undervaluing claimed losses
  • Partially denying claims that should be fully covered
  • Delaying by asking for additional unnecessary paperwork or evidence
  • Not returning calls or emails
  • Requiring the homeowner or business owner to jump through unnecessary hoops to stall the claims process
  • Offering settlements contingent on signing a “full” release when there should be supplemental payments

What Is Bad Faith in Florida?

How do you know whether your insurance company is guilty of bad faith?

Florida law says that bad faith occurs when an insurance company:

  • Does not make a good faith attempt to settle a claim when, under all circumstances, they could have and should have if they had acted honestly and fairly toward their insured;
  • Makes claims payments to their insured or beneficiary without a statement that sets forth the coverage from which the payments are being made; or
  • Fails to promptly settle claims under one portion of the insurance coverage, except for liability coverage, when there’s a reasonably clear obligation to do so, as a way to influence settlements under other insurance policy coverage.

The Florida bad faith law allows you to bring forth a claim to recover damages from your insurance company for failure to settle in good faith. However, pursuing a bad faith claim is complicated. Speak to our hurricane damage attorneys to learn more about what to do if you feel your insurance company mistreated you.

Bad Faith Elements

It’s a little easier to understand bad faith lawsuits when you look at examples of what types of actions constitute bad faith in Florida.

Common activities include:

  • Denying your Tallahassee hurricane damage claim without any investigation;
  • Not investigating your storm damage claim timely;
  • Not communicating with you promptly;
  • Making you jump through hoops as a stalling tactic;
  • Misrepresenting essential facts as a tactic designed to lower the settlement;
  • Not letting you know the adjuster needs additional information to handle the claim; and
  • Offering a settlement contingent on a fully executed release knowing there are supplemental payments.

Claims disputes over value can also end up opening the door for a bad faith claim. Should you be in negotiations and your case drags on for far too long, the insurance company could be acting in bad faith. If the insurance company has all the necessary information to resolve your claim and continues to drag it out, they might be stalling on purpose in hopes you give up and go away.

When an insurer engages in any of these activities, it’s time to call our hurricane lawyers in Florida to discuss all your legal options. 

Florida Department of Financial Services Requirements for Bad Faith Claims

Florida law requires you to follow specific protocols when alleging bad faith. One of these requirements is to submit a written notice of violation to the insurance company and the Florida Department of Financial Services.

Your notice must contain all the following information:

  • Alleged statutory violations;
  • Policy provisions and relevant facts; and
  • A statement asserting your right to pursue a claim.

To bring a successful bad faith claim, you must show proof of the insurance company’s liablity for coverage, your damages, and your compliance with the written notice requirements.

Common Homeowners Insurance Policy Exclusions

One of the biggest misconceptions about purchasing hurricane coverage is thinking the policy will cover all hurricane-related damage. Unfortunately, most policies don’t cover flood damage. If your home sustained flood damage from a tropical storm or a hurricane, don’t be surprised when your insurance company denies coverage.

Instead, you would need to purchase specific flood damage coverage. Most policies exclude events such as storm surges, flood damage, and some instances involving sewer backup. To receive reimbursement for anything related to a flood, you need a separate policy that covers the loss in question. Most flood insurance policies are from private insurance companies or the National Insurance Flood Program (NFIP).

Mold is a common problem after storm damage or flooding. Unfortunately, mold damage is also typically excluded from homeowners policies in Florida. Remediating mold is exceptionally costly, so you will want to verify what coverage you currently have.

Some Florida insurance policies may not cover hurricane wind damage. You need to add a separate deductible to your policy that will potentially cover wind damage from a hurricane. In some cases, windstorm damage coverage depends on where you reside in Florida. Homeowners who live within a wind pool area might not have coverage under their policy. Wind pool areas are beachfront and coastal properties within 1,500 feet of any significant body of water, which are the highest risk properties to insure.

To understand what your insurance covers, you must read your policy language for the named perils.

Some of the most common named perils include:

  • Explosion,
  • Lightning/fire,
  • Smoke,
  • Hail,
  • Vandalism, and
  • Theft.

A more comprehensive policy might cover other named perils such as falling objects, broken water heaters, plumbing overflow, and plumbing discharge.

How We Help You File Natural Disaster Damage Claims

The attorneys at Barrett Nonni & Homola are experienced in handling property damage claims against insurance companies when homes and businesses are affected by storms in Tallahassee.

Moreover, our hurricane damage lawyers do not get paid for these claims unless they are successful in obtaining your benefits.

Florida law allows for attorney fees to be recovered from the insurance company when an attorney is successful in obtaining property damage compensation from a homeowner’s or business owner’s insurance company.

The Florida law allowing for the recovery of attorney fees can be found here.

Natural Disaster Claim Legal Process

  • Contact us immediately: call, email, fill out a contact form or visit us
  • Tell us about your damaged property and the surrounding circumstances
  • Schedule a free, in-person consultation
  • Give us time to build the case: collect evidence, interview witnesses, review police reports
  • Partner with us to bring justice to your situation

What to Do If You Experience Natural Disaster Damage in Tallahassee, Florida

Document everything! Once you are out of harm’s way, and the storm has ended, take pictures of all the damaged or affected areas of your property. Call us right away, so we can begin your free consultation and start filing a claim. The insurance claim process can be long and painful, so the sooner you start that process, the better. If you find that your insurance company is delaying or denying your property damage claim, call the attorneys at Barrett Nonni & Homola in Tallahassee at (850) 601-1111 and they will fight the insurance company for you. 

Business Interruption Losses and Damages

Florida residents are aware of the devastation that can come with even what is considered a “small” hurricane or tropical storm. The damaging winds and flooding caused by these events can spell doom for many business owners whose businesses are affected.

After all, if a business must close its doors temporarily after a damaging event, the bills for that business still must be paid.

When a business cannot carry on its normal operations after a damaging causing event, business interruption insurance should kick in and provide benefits for lost income resulting from the inability of the business to normally operate.

Business interruption coverage generally will cover the following losses:

  • Revenue lost due to the business closure
  • Expenses such as rent and utility costs
  • Expenses related to operating from a temporary location

How We Help Florida Business Interruption Victims

Some policies will cover more than the basic losses for business closure. A thorough review of the policy language will verify what is and is not covered.

However, making a business interruption claim can bring with it several issues which an experienced attorney can quickly address so the business owner receives proper compensation for the claim.

Some of the common issues encountered with these claims include:

  • Denial of the claim for an uncovered event
  • Undervaluing or lowball offers made for claimed losses
  • Partial denial of the claim
  • Delaying or stalling by asking for additional unnecessary paperwork or evidence
  • Making settlement offers contingent on signing a “full” release when there should be supplemental payments

Business Interruption Claim Legal Process

  • Call us, email us or message us via our website
  • Describe your case and the circumstances surrounding your injuries
  • Schedule a visit to our office for a free consultation
  • Give us time to build the case: collect evidence, interview witnesses, review police reports
  • Partner with us to bring justice to your situation

Navigating The Florida Business Interruption Claims Process

If you are forced to close your business after a hurricane, be sure to immediately document the damage your business sustains to the greatest extent possible. Many business interruption policies will only provide coverage if the business closes due to an event covered by the policy. For example, if your policy does not cover damage to the building caused by wind, then the policy likely also won’t cover revenue lost by having to close the business due to the wind damage. As a result, documenting what caused your business to close its doors will be extremely helpful when it comes time to make the claim.

It’s critical that you gather as much documentation as possible regarding how much revenue your business earned on average in the months and years leading up to the closure. Past income tax returns as well as profit and loss statements can be very helpful in this regard. Moreover, past utility bills, rent invoices, and mortgage payment receipts will help to further verify the value of your claim.  

If you have been forced to close your business due to hurricane damage, you can’t afford to delay hiring a storm damage lawyer. The advice of Tallahassee lawyers Barrett Nonni Homola & Ferraro can make all the difference when navigating the business interruption claims process.

Contact Our Hurricane and Storm Damage Lawyers in Florida Today

Reach out to schedule an initial consultation to learn more about how the legal team at Barrett Nonni Homola & Ferraro can help you. Whether you are dealing with a wrongfully excluded peril, delay tactics, or an adjuster who purposely undervalues your claim, our skilled team is here to help.

We have over four decades of experience assisting injured victims in Florida. We have seen it all regarding hurricane damage claims and bad faith tactics that insurance companies in Florida like to use. Getting your home repaired after a storm or hurricane is highly stressful. You should be worried about restoring your home, not fighting to get a call back from the insurance company. Let us handle the complicated legal process for you.

Contact our firm online or call (850) 601-1111 today to schedule a free no-obligation consultation.