Understanding Actual Cash Value vs Replacement Costs in Insurance Policies

Property insurance in Florida is a confusing and complicated product. There’s flood insurance, hurricane insurance, homeowner’s insurance, personal property insurance – the list goes on. Once an individual determines the types of insurance that they need, they then face the complexities of evaluating the specifics of what coverage to include in their policy. One of the most important considerations in property insurance is whether to get an insurance policy that pays actual cash value or replacement cost value for items that are lost or damaged. These two are vastly different in outcomes and should be carefully considered based on your situation.

Actual Cash Value vs Replacement Cost Value

As noted above, the two payment policies are very different in what they pay, and as a result, what they cost. Actual cash value policies pay the price of the good immediately prior to damage or loss. In the case of a computer that was bought for $1000 three years ago and has since been lost in an event covered by your property insurance, the actual cash value will be the $1000 that you paid for the computer less depreciation to determine its current “actual cash” value. If we assume that this computer depreciates by $250 per year, and it’s three years old, then the computer will have an actual cash value of $250 after the $750 of depreciation, which is what the insurer will pay under an actual cash value policy.

Comparatively, the replacement cost value doesn’t factor in depreciation, but rather, the costs to immediately replace. In the above case, the replacement cost value would be the cost to replace with a comparable computer. Although the computer’s actual cash value may only be $250 (computers lose their value pretty quickly!), replacing the computer with a comparable version may cost $800. Here, the replacement cost value of the computer is $800, which is what a replacement cost value policy would cover. Compare the two: the computer is only “worth” $250 but it would cost $800 to replace. If you suffer damage to property, the difference between actual cash value and replacement cost value can be enormous.

Does the Insurer Determine Values?

The insurer does not have unilateral authority to determine the actual cash value or the replacement cost value. Although the insurer will most often present their valuation, as the insurance policy holder, you have the right to challenge that value. In some cases, the insurer may accidently undervalue your property, or they may do so intentionally in the hope that you simply accept the offer. When dealing with insurance claims, legal counsel can save you thousands by ensuring full and timely payment

Florida Insurance Claims Lawyer

At the Law Office of William J. Roe, we have aided Florida residents in resolving denied insurance claims and other insurance disputes, such as those over value. If you’ve had an insurance claim denied or believe that you have been treated unfairly by your insurer, please contact our offices today for a free consultation. The sooner we hear from you, the sooner we can help.

House with flood issues.

Understanding the Difference Between Water and Flood Damage

You come home from work to find your basement full of water. Is it flood damage or water damage? While the question may seem silly, it is no laughing matter to insurance companies, nor to those with denied insurance claims. Insurance companies most often carve out flood damage from homeowner’s insurance policies, although water damage is covered. In most circumstances, protection from flood damage requires a separate flood insurance policy. When considering insurance policies and protections, or when making a claim for damage caused by water (water or flood damage), it’s essential to understand the difference between water and flood damage. Although definitions of flood and water damage may vary from policy to policy, there are some general concepts around flood damage in insurance law that apply.

Flood damage is generally defined as damage caused by rising water, backed up drains, or broken water mains. Here, flood damage often requires multiple properties to be affected. For example, if sewers cannot handle the runoff from heavy rains, then streets may flood. If the heavy rain continues, that water may continue to rise higher and higher. If you’re unfortunate enough to own a home that fills up with water due to the rising water from the street, you likely have flood damage rather than water damage. Here, a homeowner’s insurance policy would be unlikely to cover the damage.

Conversely, consider the above scenario of a flooding street due to heavy rains and backed up sewers. However, in this scenario your house is on top of a hill and the water doesn’t reach your home. Nonetheless, you realize that your basement is still full of water. Upon investigation, you discover that a major leak in the roof has caused the basement to have several inches of standing water. Is this flood damage or water damage? Here, the outcome is more ambiguous, but because the damage is due to a defective roof, the damage is likely water damage and thus would be covered under your homeowner’s policy.

However, things get difficult when the leaking roof scenario occurs, but the basement fills with water because a drain in the basement is blocked. Here, an insurance company would likely argue that this damage is flood damage due to the blocked drain, and thus not covered under a homeowner’s insurance policy. Insurers’ profits are dependent on their ability to deny claims – having an experienced insurance claims lawyer in your corner can save both time and money. 

Florida Water and Flood Damage Insurance Claims Lawyer

At the Law Office of William J. Roe, we have aided Florida residents in resolving denied insurance claims, particularly relating to flood damage and water damage. If you’ve had an insurance claim denied or believe that you have been treated unfairly by your insurer, please contact our offices today for a free consultation. The sooner we hear from you, the sooner we can help.

Notice from debt collector.

Debt Collector Phone Tactics

Life is unpredictable and our best-prepared plans can fall apart. An unexpected accident at work, an unexpected child, or illness can unravel plan your plan and can cause financial hardship. Credit card bills, mortgages, and other debts that you planned to pay off may now be difficult or impossible. If these debts go unpaid, the companies will reach out to you in an attempt to collect the debt – on average, a company will attempt to contact you six times. Fielding calls from a creditor is stressful and causes anxiety for many. When debt collectors get involved, stress and anxiety can go through the roof.

Across the U.S., the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) offers federal protection to consumers from debt collector harassment. In Florida, the Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act (FCCPA) also limits the tactics that debt collectors and creditors may use when contacting you. Despite these federal and state protections, debt collectors often run afoul of the law when attempting to recover a debt.

1. Harassing Phone Calls

Although doing so is usually a violation of the FDCPA and FCCPA, debt collectors may call you at odd hours of the night to cause stress and anxiety to try to get you to pay them to end the harassment. Debt collector may not communicate with a consumer in connection with the collection of any debt at any unusual time or place known or which should be known to inconvenient to the consumer.  A debt collector should not communicate with the consumer outside of 8:00 am to 9:00 pm local time. If you have received calls outside of that time period, save the voicemail and record the time of the call. Much of this conduct is illegal and you should contact our office today if you have experienced this.

2. Calling Neighbors, Family, and Friends

Debt collectors may call people you know in an attempt to put pressure on you to pay. Similarly, debt collectors may hope that by making these people aware of your financial stress, they may offer to help pay the debt – this is most common when contacting family. Although contacting your neighbors, family, and friends is not illegal in itself, the debt collectors conduct during their conversations is highly regulated and should be thoroughly reviewed by a Florida Consumer Law attorney.  A debt collector must identify themselves, state that he is confirming or correcting location information concerning the consumer, and only if requested, identify his employer. A debt collector may not state the consumer owes any debt. May not communicate with any such person more than once unless requested to do so by such person or unless the debt collector reasonably believes that the earlier response of such person is erroneous or incomplete and that such person now has correct or complete location information.  Debt collector may not communicate by post card and not use any language or symbol on any envelope or in the contents of any communication effected by the mail or telegram that indicates the debt collector is in the debt collection business or that the communication relates to the collection of a debt.

3. False or Misleading Representations

Debt Collectors may threaten you with arrest.   Debt collection is a civil matter rather than criminal, and thus failure to pay a creditor is not a criminal offense and you can not be arrested or go to jail.   Although, there are exceptions when the government is involved. It is illegal for a debt collector to make false or misleading representations – if you have been threatened by a debt collector, please contact our office today for a free consultation.

Right to End Communications

Under the FDCPA, you have the right to end communications with a debt collector. If you inform a debt collector to stop contacting you, the debt collector must stop – failure to stop is a violation of the FDCPA unless one of the few exceptions is met.  If you have informed them in writing, keep a copy of the letter and log of all subsequent attempts by the debt collector to contact you. There are exceptions but once you notify them, if they continue to communicate that is a violation and we can help.   

Florida Consumer Law Lawyer Can Help

You should not be harassed by debt collectors.  For many Americans dealing with debt collectors, on top of the underlying financial hardships can be overwhelming.  If you feel that you are being harassed by a creditor or a debt collector in Florida, please contact our offices today.

Credit report with errors.

How to Dispute a Credit Report Error

Your credit score is one of the most important numbers in your life. Unbeknownst to most people, your credit score can determine all aspects of your life.   Your credit score can determine what job you have to where you live. Your credit score will determine whether you get approved for loans for your car, or home, and even your education.  The higher rates that you will pay on those loans if you have inaccuracies or bad credit will make your loan payments higher and security deposits if you rent an apartment much higher. Your credit score is a number identifying your perceived creditworthiness as commonly determined by the data from one of three national credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. The credit score itself is evaluated based on a model by data analytics company Fair, Isaac and Company – more commonly known as FICO. Your FICO score is determined based on information provided by one of the three national credit bureaus and will vary slightly across each provider as each may have different information. There are additional models and providers of credit scores, but predominantly it will be your FICO score that is used.  

Given that each national credit bureau maintains different information, what happens if one bureau has incorrect information on your credit file? Similarly, what constitutes incorrect information? Any information in your credit file that is incomplete or inaccurate constitutes incorrect information. Incorrect information in your credit file should be disputed to ensure that your credit score best reflects your actual credit history. 

Review Your Credit Report

Each year, you can request one free credit report from each of the three national credit bureaus using www.annualcreditreport.com. These free reports must be offered under the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act. Once you’ve received your credit report, you should review it in detail for any incomplete or inaccurate information. Some common examples are incorrect personal information.  If you see an incorrect address or another person’s name they could be using someone else’s information to determine your score. If you see accounts or debts not belonging to you it could be sign that your identity may have been stolen and those accounts could also negatively affect your credit.  If an account is listed more than once, or accounts are reported as open that have been closed, these inaccuracies can affect your credit utilization ratio which can negatively impact your credit. Also, if you see inaccurate payment history incorrect account balances, improperly reported payment delinquencies, can also negatively impact your score.  If you see any of these inaccuracies, contact us for a free consultation.   

Contact the Furnisher

If you’ve identified an error in your credit report, you can contact the furnisher (the company that the error relates to). If you have a Capital One credit card and the credit report shows payment delinquency on your Capital One credit card but you know that is incorrect, you should contact Capital One as the furnisher of that information. When contacting the furnisher, contact them in writing.  Confirm that their records show the error. If they do, then you can resolve the error with the furnisher who will then report the correction to the credit bureaus. If they do not update your information correctly, contact us for a free consultation so we can help you resolve the matter.  

Contact the Credit Bureau

If the error isn’t resolved with the furnisher, either because they don’t show the error or because they disagree that it’s an error, you will need to send a dispute letter to the credit reporting bureau that identifies the error and includes evidence of your position.   Contact us for a free consultation so we can help you resolve the matter.

Florida Credit Report Claims Lawyer

At the Law Office of William J. Roe, our attorneys are on your side. We have helped hundreds of Florida residents dispute credit report errors. Your credit score has a significant impact on your life – you shouldn’t be denied an opportunity due to a furnisher or credit bureau improperly reporting your information. We understand what furnishers and credit bureaus expect in disputes and how to quickly resolve them. If you have identified errors in your credit report, please contact our offices today for a free consultation. 

Couple discussing the statute of limitations for homeowners insurance claims in Florida.

What Is Florida’s Statute of Limitations for Homeowners Insurance Claims?

There is a legal concept called the “statute of limitations”, which sets a maximum time after an event in which a claim must be brought. You may have heard of the concept statutes of limitations on a tv show where someone “gets away” with a crime because the crime occurred too long ago to prosecute, despite overwhelming evidence of guilt. The same concept applies to contract law. Do not let insurance companies “get away” with not paying you what you owe.

Statutes of limitations are drafted and passed by the governing legislative body for the jurisdiction. In the case of Florida, the Florida Legislature sets the statutes of limitations applicable to any legal action, criminal or civil. Thus, the Florida Legislatures sets a period whereby all claims must be brought to be valid, although the specific statute of limitations is claim-dependent.

Are There Statute of Limitations for Homeowners Insurance Claims?

In insurance, there are two time-limits in policies that all policyholders need to be aware of: (1) those identified in the insurance policy to file a claim with the insurance company, and (2) the statute of limitations for contract claims against insurance providers set by the Florida Legislature. First, your policy will generally have tight deadlines in which you must file your claims in order to be covered by the policy. If you file a claim outside of the deadlines, then they may deny the claim and refuse to pay. Often these policy-specific deadlines will begin the date that the loss occurred, known as the “date of loss”. 

Second, the statute of limitations will begin to run from the date of loss. In Florida, you must bring a claim against your insurance company for breach of contract (failure to pay) within five years, barring a few exceptions. Although Florida’s five-year statute of limitations may seem long in comparison to your insurance policy’s filing requirement, the statute of limitations must be monitored. If your insurance provider has refused to pay, any claims for wrongful denial must be brought within five years of the date of loss – not the date of denial. For some homeowners, and especially for condominium associations, insurance claims can take several years to resolve, which may result in a short period of time that you’re allowed to bring a legal claim against the insurer.

The Insurance Company May Use Delay Tactics

Your insurance company knows that the statute of limitations in Florida is five years and will use that to their advantage. Insurance companies will stall and delay to drag out the claim for as long as possible to minimize the time that you have available to bring any claims against your insurance company. In some instances, they can drag out the dispute for more than five years meaning you have no right to sue for wrongful denial

Insurance companies know that their delay tactics won’t work when you’re represented by an attorney and are thus more likely to resolve your claim in an expedient manner. As an experienced Florida Property Damage attorneys, we leverage our negotiating skills to ensure that you are compensated fairly and in a timely manner. If you have filed a claim with your insurance company or have had a claim denied, please contact us as soon as possible for a free consultation so that we can help you get the resolution you deserve. 

Woman meeting with attorney to buy homeowners insurance.

Two Major Considerations when Buying Homeowners Insurance in Florida

Buying a home is considered by most people as their most important purchase. If so, then buying homeowners insurance should be the second most important. While buying a home is an exciting time, there are important and often overlooked aspects that must be carefully considered. One of which is deciding which homeowner insurance policy to purchase, particularly in Florida where challenges from unexpected weather damage can be exacerbated by seemingly unimportant provisions in your insurance policy.

Important Considerations When Buying Homeowners Insurance

First, while the price is an important consideration, another important consideration is the financial stability of the insurance carrier, how the insurance carrier handles claims,  and the conditions and limitations of the policy.  When buying homeowner insurance, be sure to investigate the companies offering the policies. While a low-cost insurance company may offer low premiums and seemingly great coverage, the policy may come with many exclusions and limitations when handling the claim.  In natural disasters, large volumes of claims can bankrupt insurance companies. Thus, a financially stable insurance company is paramount. Generally, insurance companies that have a strong history of paying claims and surviving major payout events (such as hurricanes) tend to be stable. More established insurance companies, such as Geico and Allstate, are good places to start. Nonetheless, you should consult with a professional to determine an insurer’s financial stability.

Next, you should evaluate the coverage offered by each policy. In many cases, low-cost policies are low-cost for a reason: their coverage is significantly limited. Policies limit their coverage through exclusions and limits to coverage amounts. The exclusions section identifies certain events and types of damage that is not covered by the policy. Relatively common exclusions include flood damage, damage from power failures, sewage drain backups, neglect, defective materials, etc. When considering different homeowner’s insurance policies, exclusions should be carefully considered. Similarly, homeowner’s insurance policies will commonly limit the amount of coverage for items within the home that are damaged. While you may have a policy for $500,000 but it may have a limit for personal property of $5,000.  Your grandmother’s piano may be worth $10,000, but if the policy may limits coverage to personal property to $5,000, your damages may not be fully covered. Thus, two important considerations when buying homeowner’s insurance is whether the insurance company can pay a claim and whether that claim is actually covered under the policy.

Contact the Law Office of William J. Roe Today

When filing claims against your policy, insurance companies may try to refuse to pay the claim – often relying on exclusions and other policy limits or undervalue your claim. In many situations, an insurance company may refuse to cover an event that is seemingly covered in your policy, citing an excluded event actually caused the damage, such as claiming that damage was due to flooding (an often excluded event) rather than the actual storm that caused the damage. We see these tactics all too often and have the skillset and experience to hold your insurance policy provider accountable. 

At the Law Office of William J. Roe, our attorneys work tirelessly and diligently to get you’re the outcome you deserve. If you have questions relating to a homeowners insurance claim, please contact our offices today to schedule a consultation.

Woman viewing her credit report on her phone.

What Do I Do If There Is an Error on My Credit Report?

Having good credit can open many doors. It can qualify you for better  rates and also increase your chances of being approved for credit, loans, and insurance. It will also make it easier for you to be approved to rent a house or an apartment. Unfortunately, errors on your credit report can unnecessarily bring your credit score down. Clearing up these errors is important because credit reporting companies report this information to potential employers, insurers, and credit card companies that will utilize the information in evaluating any application you submit to obtain credit, insurance, or housing.

This is why you should review your credit report periodically to make sure there are no errors.  You can obtain a free credit report once a year from all three credit reporting agencies from annualcreditreport.com. Not only will reviewing your credit report help you obtain credit, loans, housing, and a job, but it will also help you fight identity theft. If someone has used your personal information to take out loans or apply for credit in your name, that information should show up on your credit report. Without reviewing your credit report, you may not even be aware that you have been victimized. Your credit could be ruined and you would not even know it. Fortunately, any errors appearing on your credit report can usually be cleared up, but it can be difficult without consulting with or retaining an attorney.

What Do I Do If There is an Error on My Credit Report?

To correct an error on your credit report, you should first report the error to the credit reporting agencies (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion are the three biggest) in writing.  Explain to the companies in writing why you believe the information on your credit report is inaccurate. Include any documentation that supports your assertion. Be sure to state that you wish the error to be removed or corrected. 

You should also submit a dispute to the company that furnished the information to the credit reporting company, such as the bank or credit card company.  You should include much of the same information in this dispute as you did when writing the credit reporting company. State the name of the credit report that showed the error as well as the error you are seeking to correct. Highlight the dates of the disputed information as well as providing an explanation of the error. Submit any supporting documentation.

Credit reporting companies are obligated to investigate disputes. They must also forward all documents associated with the dispute to the furnisher (the company that provided the information). The credit reporting company will provide you with the results of the investigation. If the furnisher corrects the error following a dispute, the furnisher must send notice to all credit reporting companies that inaccurate information was provided so that they can update their reports with accurate information.

Credit Report Errors

If you see any inconsistencies or errors on your credit report, do not fight alone.  Call The Law Office of William J. Roe and we will help you get these errors removed from your credit report.  There is no charge for a free consultation and there is no charge to you for our attorney’s fees if we file suit,  we go after our fees from the Credit Reporting Agencies and Furnishers (banks, credit card companies, etc.). You do not want these errors or inaccuracies to prevent you from getting access to all of the benefits that good credit can get you. Contact us today.

Woman trying to manage her debt.

What Should I Do If a Debt Collector Is Harassing Me?

It is likely that, at some point in our lives, most of us will go through a period of financial hardship. The stress of not being able to pay credit card bills, mortgages, or other expenses can be a heavy burden to carry. On top of this, you may have debt collectors attempting to contact you. While it is legal for a debt collector to be persistent in attempting to collect a debt from you, harassment is not. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) does not tolerate debt collector harassment. 

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) provides consumers with federal protection from debt collector harassment. Under the FDCPA, debt collectors are prohibited from repeatedly calling you no matter what the time of day, threatening you, or exhibiting other kinds of behavior that is perceived as harassment. Because of federal protections granted to you, the consumer, under the FDCPA, you have recourse against debt collectors who run afoul of your right to be free from debt collector harassment. It is just a matter of seeking enforcement of this right.

A Debt Collector Is Harassing Me, Is There Anything I Can Do?

If you think that you are being harassed by a debt collector, document things immediately. Keep a record of all harassing behavior prohibited by the FDCPA, specifically all voicemails. 

Examples of possible harassing conduct:

  • Contacting you by telephone outside of the hours 8:00 am to 9:00 pm local time.
  • Communicating with you in any way after receiving written notice that the consumer wishes no further communication.
  • Communicating with you at your place of employment if the debt collector knows or has reason to know that the consumer’s employer prohibits the consumer from receiving such communication.
  • Contacting you after the debt collectors know you are represented by an attorney.
  • Communicating with you or pursuing collections after receipt of a written request for verification of a debt made within the 30-day validation period and before the debtor mails the requested verification
  • Debt collectors are prohibited from misrepresenting the debt or using deception to collect the debt, such as pretending to be an attorney or law enforcement officer.
  • Threatening to publish your name and information on a bad debt” list.
  • Trying to collect amounts not authorized by the contract or by law.
  • Threatening to arrest you or legal action, that is not allowed or not actually contemplated.
  • Using profane or abusive language when trying to collect the debt.
  • Not allowed to communicate with third parties and discuss the nature of the debts.
  • They are not allowed to contact you by mail or with any mailing outside of the name and mailing address and the name of the business can not indicate that they are in the debt collection business.  

This record of the harassing conduct will act as evidence should you need to pursue legal action against the debt collector.

The FDCPA is a strict liability law and you may be entitled to up to $1,000 plus attorney’s fees if a debt collector can be proven to have violated the FDCPA.  You have the option to sue the collection agency and stop the harassing behavior.

Florida Debt Collector Harassment Behavior

You do not have to, nor should you, put up with being harassed by a debt collector.  If you have experienced any of the prohibited conduct discussed above, The Law Office of William J. Roe is here to not only help you stop the harassing behavior but also to hold the collection agency responsible for its violation of state and federal consumer protection laws. Contact us today.

Law Offices of William Roe, P.A. discusses what you should do if your home was damaged by fire.

What Do I Do If My Home Is Damaged by Fire?

Fire is an ever-looming threat and it can have devastating consequences. Your home can be quickly destroyed by a fast-spreading fire. The sight of all of your home and all of your personal property being turned to ash is emotionally overwhelming. On top of this, you will have to plan for things like where you will stay while your home is being repaired and also worry about things that we often take for granted like having clean clothes and toiletries. All of this may have been wiped out in the fire. Unfortunately, while you are paying for the necessary cost of living expenses after a fire, an insurance company may end up dragging its feet in responding to your claim. What’s worse is that they may give you a hard time in paying your claim or undermining the value of your claim. There are, however, certain steps you should take after a fire to help streamline the claims process and protect the value of your claim.

What to Do If Your Home Is Damaged by Fire

There can be many expenses after a fire such as paying for temporary housing and the need to buy things like clothes and food. If you are struggling financially with these added expenses, you can request an advance from your insurance company. Just remember that this advance will come out of the final sum for your claim. Please be prudent in your spending and, if you can do so safely, grab things from your home, such as spare clothes and toiletries, so you do not need to pay to replace these items.

It is crucial that you file your claim as soon as possible. There is likely a provision in your homeowners’ insurance policy that requires you to file a claim as soon as possible. In addition to this requirement set forth in your policy, it is also a matter of getting your claim processed as soon as possible. The longer you wait to file your claim, the longer the line of claims in front of you can become. Waiting can result in your claim taking much longer to process. Do not hesitate to file your claim. Some people mistakenly believe that filing a homeowners’ claim will result in their premiums skyrocketing or the loss of their homeowners’ insurance. This is not so. As long as there is no evidence of fraud, you are not at risk of losing coverage or having your insurance premiums go up.

Additionally, keep paying your insurance premiums throughout the claims process. It may be tempting to stop paying your insurance premiums because it is another expense, you have a pending claim, and the insurance company may be taking a fair amount of time to process your claim, but failure to pay your insurance premium could jeopardize your claim. Your insurance company may even sop processing your claim based on your failure to maintain a policy with them.

It is also very important to document all of your losses. It is an arduous, time-consuming task. Making a list of all of your personal property that you have lost in a fire is probably not something you want to undertake, especially when there is so much else going on. However, this is documentation that will support your claim. An insurance adjuster will want to see a list of your losses to support the claim amount. The list of losses should include the value of what was lost. You may very well need to get estimates of the value of the property you lost as well as the cost of replacing the item. The insurance company will send its own adjuster to provide estimates. However, you also have the right to get your own adjuster to provide estimates. This is a good thing to do as the adjuster for the insurance company works for the insurance company and will have their best interests in mind.

Florida Fire Damage Claim Attorney

The last thing anyone wants to do after their home was damaged in a fire is to deal with an insurance company taking their time or fighting their claim. That is why the Law Office of William J. Roe is here to advocate on behalf of clients and their right to full and fair compensation for their losses. Let us take on the insurance companies while you focus on getting your home and everyday life back in order after a fire. Contact us today.

Your Property and Hurricane Damage

It is the peak of hurricane season, which runs from the beginning of June until the end of November. There are around 11-12 named storms each year and about two are usually major ones. As all Floridians keep track of weather patterns more so this time of year than usual, you should be prepared for the possibility that a hurricane will head your way. You should also be aware of what to do should your property sustain hurricane damage. A hurricane is a powerful and destructive force of nature. The devastation a hurricane can have on whole communities can happen quickly.

What Do You Do When Your Property Sustains Hurricane Damage?

A hurricane can sweep through an area quickly and leave tragedy in its wake. Looking around at what has become of your property after hurricane-force winds, severe rains, and flooding comes through can take a serious emotional toll and leave you feeling anxious about what’s going to happen next. Knowing you have a homeowner’s insurance policy in place can be of some comfort. However, know that recovering under this policy can be an uphill battle. While you may have been dedicated to making timely monthly payments to your homeowner’s insurance company, you will probably be disappointed to learn that insurance companies will find any excuse to try and get out of paying you less than what you deserve or anything at all.

First thing’s first, if your property has sustained damage, be safe. As you are going through your property, be aware of hazards such as exposed power lines or broken tree branches. Report the downed power lines to the proper authorities. Avoid wading through any remaining floodwater as there may be dangerous contaminants and debris. Mitigate any further damage to your property by cleaning and drying out things where you can to prevent any mold developing. Repair damages that you can and cover up any damaged property to prevent anything else from happening and to make it safe from others.

For purposes of preserving your insurance claim, document everything. Take pictures of your property. This means taking pictures of your house and your yard. Take broad shots from far away and more up close, detailed shots. As you take pictures, make an inventory list of all damaged property. You will want to submit all of this to your insurance company. File your claim as soon as you can. Relay any actions you have taken to mitigate further damage to your property to the claims specialist handling your case.

Florida Property Damage Claim Attorney

Seeing your property in utter devastation after a hurricane is a terrible situation to face. The Law Office of William J. Roe is here to help you get things back in order and help you recover what you are owed from the insurance company. Contact us today.