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Miami Homeowners Insurance Attorneys Discuss Water and Wind Coverage in the Wake of Hurricane Matthew

June 1 to November 30 is hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean. While 2016 has been relatively quiet up to his point, there’s still plenty of time for things to change. One storm has the power to devastate entire communities. While Hurricane Matthew churns up the islands in the Atlantic, South Floridians anxiously wait for the storm to determine its path. The storm struck Haiti with fury. Matthew delivered a punch of 145 miles per hour winds and somewhere between 20 and 40 inches of rain. While landfall might take some of the steam out of Matthew, the storm can build up its strength as it crosses over Cuba, westward toward Florida and the eastern seaboard of the United States. Greenberg, Stone, & Urbano is one of Miami’s top law firms according to the Miami Herald. Their homeowners’ insurance claims attorneys will help you with problems involving your homeowner’s insurance policy.

Forecasters are calling Matthew a storm similar to 1999’s Hurricane Floyd. Floyd skirted Florida’s east coast, causing damage along the way before finally striking land in North Carolina.  As of the time of this writing, meteorologists have not determined Matthew’s path. Matthew could hit Florida head-on or skirt past like Floyd. Either way, Floridians might suffer hurricane-related property damage. What happens to homeowners’ policies if Matthew invades Florida?

Each homeowners policy in Florida contains a hurricane deductible. A Florida statute determines when the deductible must apply. The law, found at 627.701(5)(a)(1)-(4), absolves homeowners insurance policy underwriters from absorbing all of the risks of loss from hurricanes, flood, wind, and hail damage by obligating the homeowner to pay a deductible for every loss.  The deductible renews every year. Additionally, the deductible separately applies to every building covered by one or more homeowners policies. Insurers can use deductibles toward other losses and must notify their insured if a lower deductible becomes available.  The deductible can be $500, 2%, 5%, or 10% of the value of the insurance policy. You can also waive the deductible by signing a form that clearly indicates you wish to do so.

There are other issues related to homeowners’ policy coverage subject to exclusion. For instance, your home might fall within a wind-pool area. Wind-pool areas are situated along the Florida coast. Insurance companies can, and frequently do, exclude coverage for flooding, the wind, or hail damage if your home lies in the designated area. Your insurance company should offer you a rider to your original policy, which is an addendum, or a whole new policy covering wind damage for homes located in a wind-pool area.  While you are free to take your chances, your mortgage lender has specific requirements with which you must comply. Mortgage companies insist that you properly insure your home and therefore, your mortgage contract will obligate you to obtain wind-pool insurance.

Another overlooked coverage option is flood insurance. The typical homeowner’s policy excludes flooding. Flooding, in this context, does not mean the flooding that happens when a pipe burst but from rising water due to weather conditions. National flood insurance policies are available if your home falls within a floodplain.  Florida insurance companies offer coverage that is unique to the state: sinkhole coverage. Many insurance companies exclude coverage for sinkhole damage.  Your insurance company can inspect the area in which you reside for sinkhole activity and decline coverage based on the frequent occurrence of sinkholes. As with other lines of insurance, you can purchase additional coverage.

Insurance Contracts are Complicated

The Miami homeowners insurance attorneys from Greenberg, Stone, & Urbano will help you understand what coverage you have on your home. Do not wait until it is too late! If you have a question about coverage or your insurance company has wrongfully denied your claim, contact the South Florida homeowners insurance lawyers with 130 combined years of experience.  The Miami Herald rated them a top law firm in Miami and Martindale Hubbell gave them an AV rating. Call (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 to book your free consultation and learn how Greenberg, Stone, & Urbano can help you.

Sources:

https://www.myfloridacfo.com/Division/Consumers/understandingCoverage/Guides/documents/HomeownersToolkit.pdf

627.701(5)(a)(1)-(4),

 

 

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