Tampa Hurricane Damage Lawyer
Hurricanes have the potential to cause an enormous amount of damage. This is certainly no secret to people who live in Florida. Notably, the City of Tampa and other communities along the Gulf Coast are at a heightened risk of facing hurricane or tropical storm damage. Notably, Hurricane Irma — a category four storm that made landfall near Marco Island in Southwest Florida in the Fall of 2017 — was the fifth most costly storm in American history. In total, Hurricane Irma caused more than $50 billion in property damage. Many communities throughout the state of Florida were affected.
At The Pawlowski//Mastrilli Law Group, our top-rated Tampa hurricane damage lawyers are dedicated advocates for policyholders. We know that hurricane damage claims are especially complex. Unfortunately, in far too many cases, valid property damage claims are underpaid or denied by insurers. Our legal team knows how to hold the big insurance companies accountable. We handle all aspects of hurricane damage claims, including those involving bad faith insurance practices. If your hurricane damage claim was denied or underpaid in Florida, please do not hesitate to contact our Tampa law office for a free, no obligation case evaluation.
Five Tips for Hurricane Damage Claims
Make Sure You Understand Your Insurance Coverage
As a starting point, all policyholders should have a basic understanding of their insurance coverage. Make that you know what is covered, how much coverage you have, and what losses are covered against. Notably, many standard homeowners’ insurance policies that are sold in the state of Florida offer coverage for the wind damage caused by hurricanes, but not for the flooding damage.
Take Immediate Action — Notify Your Insurer
If your property suffered a significant amount of damage after a hurricane or major tropical storm, it is normal to be frustrated, confused, and overwhelmed by the gravity of the situation. Once things have stabilized, you should notify your insurance company that you suffered a loss and that you intend to file a claim in the future. At this point in time, you only need to provide basic notification to your insurer. Do not get into the details and do not agree to give a recorded statement. Notification is sufficient.
Carefully Document Your Losses
Many hurricane damage cases turn on documentation. The more documents and records that you have to support your case, the fewer hurdles you are likely to face in the claims process. It is crucial that you work to carefully, thoroughly document your losses. Be sure to retain and organize all of the records that you can get your hands on. In addition, start making a comprehensive list regarding your property losses.
Communicate With the Insurance Company in Writing
When dealing with a property insurance company — or any other insurance company — it is generally not advisable to discuss important matters over the phone. All communication should be done in writing. This is important for several different reasons. Not only will it help to reduce the possibility of a miscommunication, but it will also ensure that all of your correspondence can be reviewed by a property insurance lawyer should a dispute arise.
Be Ready to Seek Legal Guidance
Finally, policyholders should always be prepared to consult with an experienced Tampa hurricane damage attorney. The big insurance companies are often not willing to immediately offer policyholders the full settlement that they are owed under the terms of their coverage. If you suffered a major property loss in a hurricane, it is highly recommended that you work with a professional.
What to Do If Your Hurricane Damage Claim is Denied or Underpaid
If your property insurance company gives you any problems, including requesting a sworn statement, undervaluing your damages, or outright denying your claim, you should contact an experienced Tampa insurance attorney immediately.
Remember, the insurance company does not get to make the final decision on your claim. If coverage was denied for hurricane damage or if you were offered payment that is far below the true value of your losses, you have the right to file an appeal.
Your Tampa hurricane damage lawyer will be able to review the specific facts of your case, explain your rights and options to you, and prepare a strong, compelling appeal on your behalf. There are tight deadlines to take legal action in property damage claims: do not delay in seeking legal guidance.
Insurers are Required to Use Good Faith Settlement Practices
Under Florida law, insurance companies must use good faith practices when handling insurance claims. If your insurer has handled your hurricane damage claim in an unfair manner — whether it is denying payment that is clearly owed to you or negligently failing to investigate your case — they can be held legally liable through a bad faith lawsuit.
In a bad faith claim, a policyholder can seek damages for the full amount of their covered losses — meaning all of the compensation that they were originally owed — and they can seek additional financial relief for bad faith damages. Some common examples of bad faith insurance practices that are used by property insurance companies include:
- Failure to conduct a complete investigation;
- Unreasonable delays in processing;
- Unreasonable requests for documents;
- Insurance representatives making material misrepresentations or material omissions;
- The use of other deceptive settlement practices; and
- Making threats against a policyholder to pressure them; and
- Failure to offer a full settlement for a claim that is clearly valid.
If you suffered major hurricane damage, and you believe that your insurance provider handled your claim in a negligent or unfair manner, it is crucial that you seek professional legal support. Please contact our Tampa bad faith insurance claims lawyers right away.
Was Your Hurricane Damage Denied in Tampa, Florida?
We are here to help. At The Pawlowski//Mastrilli Law Group, our Tampa Bay hurricane damage claims lawyers are committed to providing policyholders the strong, sophisticated legal representation that they deserve. If your hurricane damage claim was denied in Florida, it is imperative that you take immediate action to protect your rights.
To arrange a free, fully private property insurance consultation, please do not hesitate to contact our law firm at 813-242-4404. From our office in Tampa, we represent policyholders throughout the region, including in Pasco County, Pinellas County, Manatee County, Hillsborough County, and Sarasota County.