Articles Posted in Hurricane Damages

Published on:

While property owners in Florida have been fortunate in recent years to enjoy a respite from harsh tropical storms and hurricanes, we cannot expect this paucity of hurricanes and tropical storms to continue forever.  Our homeowners insurance claims lawyers urge residents throughout Florida to take precautions to protect their well-being and property while also preparing for the aftermath of the next inevitable storm when it arrives.

There are precautions that all property owners who could be in the path of a storm should consider.  Homeowners should make sure they have the following items on hand: Continue reading →

Published on:

Florida has been fortunate in recent years to avoid substantial damage from hurricanes and tropical storms.  However, there is no doubt that many Florida homeowners will be faced with the need to make a claim for damage to their home and personal property because of this peril in the future.  While most policyholders probably assume coverage for hurricane damage is straightforward, the issue of coverage can be complicated.  Homeowners policies often place significant restrictions on coverage for water intrusion including wind-blown rain.  Our Miami hurricane insurance coverage lawyers understand that insurers often dispute coverage by claiming the damage was not caused by wind.

A case from the United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Jacksonville Division, Divine Motel Group v. Rockhill Insurance Company demonstrates the complex shifting burden of proof that often must be navigated when a hurricane damage claim is disputed.  The insured purchased a small motel and secured an “all risk” policy.  The property was badly damaged by Tropical Storm Debby five days after the purchase.  Continue reading →

Published on:

Homeowners’ insurance policies universally include a provision that requires an insured to provide notice of loss on a reasonably prompt basis.  This notice requirement often constitutes a condition precedent to payment of a claim.  Insurance carriers frequently assert “late notice” as a basis for denying a claim and as a defense in breach of contract lawsuits.  Policies typically do not establish a specific deadline or time-frame within which notice must be given to a carrier by an insured.  This two-part blog post provides a review of a court decision analyzing when the “prompt notice” provision in a homeowners policy is triggered.  In Part I of this blog, our Miami Hurricane Damage Lawyers provide an overview of the specific facts and circumstances of the case.  Part II reviews the court’s analysis of when the notice provision commences based on the insured’s knowledge of events or damage to the property.

The 3rd DCA of Florida in the case of Laquer v. Citizens Property Insurance Corporation ruled that notice is not necessarily late even when it is provided several years after exposure to the covered peril.  The insured was the owner of a condominium unit that was rented to a tenant at the time of Hurricane Wilma.  Although notice was not provided to the insurance company until three years after the hurricane, the appellate court rejected Citizens’ contention that it was entitled to summary judgment because notice provided after this period was late as a matter of law.  Continue reading →

Published on:

Greenberg, Stone & Urbano Discusses Your Hurricane Insurance Policy

After 10 years without a single hurricane-making landfall in Florida, hurricane Hermine broke the streak when it hit Florida as a Category 1 hurricane near the Big Bend area.  The storm brought heavy wind and rains, knocking out power and inflicting widespread damage.  One person was killed in Marion County while storm damage caused damage to several homes.  Not longer after Hermine cleared the state, Hurricane Matthew formed and turned towards the state of Florida.  Matthew reached a Category 5 storm before making landfall, the first storm to reach these wind speeds since 2007.  Matthew left much of the east coast with power outages, flooding, and damages.  While the storm fortunately turned slightly out to sea, it  left lasting damages in many areas.

At Greenberg, Stone & Urbano, our Miami homeowners’ insurance lawyers know that hurricane season is a time of stress for many Floridians. Bracing for a hurricane is stressful, and worrying about your property in the event of a storm can add far more anxiety. As a Florida homeowner, it is imperative that you obtain the coverage you need to protect yourself in case a hurricane strikes.  Continue reading →

Published on:

As homeowners insurance claims attorneys, we work closely with our clients to make sure that they receive compensation for their claims. We prepared for the worst when Hurricane Matthew slammed into the east coast of Florida. All things being equal, things turned out alright in Florida. Still, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (“FEMA”) considers many counties in Florida disaster areas from the damage caused by Hurricane Matthew.  FEMA helps protect residents against the damages caused by natural disasters. FEMA also works hard to make sure that you are compensated for your loss. However, we can help you if your insurance company refused to pay your claim from Hurricane Matthew, or any other natural disaster.

FEMA can help with flood claims from rising tides and rain waters. At the outset, FEMA suggests obtaining coverage against flood damages. Your insurance carrier will not provide flood coverage caused by a natural disaster without first paying a premium for the coverage. FEMA suggests immediately contacting your insurance agent or company to report the damage and file a claim. Homeowners should have their flood insurance policy handy, the correct property address, and updated contact information when calling.  Continue reading →

Published on:

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? Continue reading →

Published on:

Insurance companies in Florida have a duty under state law to try to settle insurance claims in good faith, which encourages such companies to act honestly towards its insured parties. When they fail to do so, insured homeowners are permitted to bring separate civil actions for bad faith against the insurance company once the questions of liability and damages have been determined. This principle is illustrated in the case below.

In Cammarata v. State Farm Florida Insurance Company, the plaintiffs were Florida homeowners whose home sustained damage stemming from a hurricane. Nearly two years after the event, the homeowners filed a claim with their homeowners’ insurance company, State Farm Florida. A month after filing their homeowners insurance claim, the plaintiffs met with a representative of the insurance company who inspected the damage to the home to provide an estimate. The estimate amounted to be less than the deductible under the insurance policy and, therefore, the insurance company informed the homeowners that it will not be paying out on their claim. Approximately six months later, the plaintiffs asked the insurance company to participate in an appraisal process as provided for by their policy, and the company willingly participated. Both parties hired appraisers. The appraiser for the plaintiffs provided a damage estimate which was higher than the deductible amount and the damage estimate provided by the insurance company was lower than the deductible. The insurance company then requested a state court to appoint a neutral party to settle the parties’ dispute, which the court did. The neutral party appointed by the court found the damage to the home to have a higher value than the deductible and, therefore, the insurance company paid out the claim to the homeowners. Continue reading →

Published on:

Our Miami homeowners’ insurance claims lawyers have found that Florida residents continue to pay some of the highest homeowners’ insurance premiums, despite the fact that if we emerge from this hurricane season without a significant storm, it will have been 10 years since the last hurricane hit the state.  The massive storms of 2004 and 2005 inflicted billions in damages.  Residents were not surprised when homeowners’ insurance rates skyrocketed after these rough years, many no one expected them to stay this high.

Many residents and consumer advocates are calling for an explanation as to why rates remain so high.  The insurance company has cited to recent sinkhole claims, but these have since tapered off.  Instead, a new explanation is being offered—the cost of rebuilding a home has risen.  However, even this rationale seems lacking because homeowners’ insurance companies have not had to often pay these high rates due to a lack of weather related disasters striking the state.

The following is a look at some of the struggles faced by Florida homeowners:

Published on:

Hurricane season will soon be over and thankfully South Florida managed to avoid any major storms this season, despite one scare.  Although hurricane season will hopefully end without incident this year, it is important that all South Florida homeowners inform themselves as to hurricane insurance coverage so that they can make the best possible decision when it comes to obtaining coverage for the new year.  Our Miami hurricane damage claim lawyers have provided the most frequently asked questions concerning hurricane insurance, intended to provide you with some important facts about this vital insurance coverage.

What will happen in the event of a hurricane if I do not have hurricane insurance?

If you have only homeowners’ insurance and not hurricane insurance, you will likely not be covered in the event a hurricane damages your home.  Most homeowners’ insurance policies do not cover hurricane damage.  Sometimes, you may be able to obtain coverage for water damage stemming from the storm if you have flood insurance or wind damage if you have wind coverage, but generally you will be unprotected in the event of a hurricane without obtaining this additional type of insurance.  Continue reading →

Published on:

If your home is damaged in a hurricane or fire, prompt handling and full payment of your homeowner’s insurance claim can mean the difference from having your home and personal property fully repaired or replaced and severe financial loss.  When homeowner’s insurers refuse to handle claims in an expeditious manner, the financial hardships experienced by the owner of the home can be devastating.  Although a policyholder might have paid all premiums on time for years, this does not mean that the insurance company will fulfill its contractual obligations when a claim is filed.  Insurance company profits are predicated on denying claims and minimizing the amount paid out on such claims.  When a policyholder submits a claim following notice of a loss, the insurer will initiate an investigation of the claim to identify viable policy exclusions.  This investigation often starts with the initial insurance application.  Information provided when completing an insurance policy application can constitute a basis not only to deny a claim but also to rescind (retroactively cancel) the entire policy.

Although even unintentional misrepresentations or mistakes in completing a homeowner’s insurance application can justify denial or rescission, insurance carriers do not get to automatically deny a claim merely because information provided on the application is untrue or misleading.  The key consideration in terms of the impact of inaccurate information on a policy application involves whether the false or omitted information was material to the insurer’s decision to issue the policy or to the determination of the amount of the premium and other terms.

Florida Statutes §627.409 specifies that misrepresentations and omissions can justify rescission of a homeowner’s insurance policy and/or denial of a claim under the following circumstances:

Contact Information