Please use this website to educate yourself on handling hurricane insurance claims. Getting a public insurance adjuster involved in your claim early can help you get paid fairly and avoid claim submission mistakes we often see in catastrophe situations. Don’t wait for your claim to be underpaid or denied. A public insurance adjuster is licensed to represent your best interest, document damages, file and negotiate your claim with the insurer.
About Hurricane Insurance Claims: Typically a property insurance policy covers direct physical damage from windstorm. If direct physical damage is obvious, such as entire roofs/walls or portions of roofs/walls blown away, then a coverage determination becomes easy. Then the major concern of the property owner becomes, “What is the full value of repair or replacement to make me whole again?” Business owners will suffer down time creating the need to document business interruption losses. Homeowners will want to know where they will live while their home is being repaired. Not only is the building loss a concern, but business inventory losses and personal property damage frequently become a major portion of the windstorm damage insurance claim. Sometimes however, the damage from a covered peril is not so obvious. The expert public adjusters at Tutwiler and Associates can point you in the right direction.
What about water damage resulting from a windstorm event? One must always look to the specific policy language of the loss in question. Typically, if the windstorm event causes a breach (break) in the building envelope (that is, the roof or walls) and water comes into the building due to that breach, then you have coverage. This would include water damage to the building itself, such as drywall damage, particle board expansion, electrical damage, mold, etc. Water damage to contents would also typically be included as part of the loss. Wind driven rain can also be very problematic in a hurricane as many insurance companies will not pay unless there is a breach or opening in a structure. Tutwiler and Associates has helped property insurance policyholders involved in every hurricane since 1984 and as many or more tropical storms, tornadoes and severe windstorms for the last 32 years. And remember, during a declared state-of-emergency in Florida, Public Adjuser fees are capped at 10% of the loss amount. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Let the experience and expertise of our public adjusters pay off for you. Tell us about your insurance claim.
More people live and work around the United States coastline than at any other point in our history. Coupled with the ever increasing cost of scarce materials and labor following a catastrophic windstorm event makes exposure to hurricane events more severe than ever. Damage from hurricane events, especially in our coastline areas have high exposure to both windstorm and flood damage. This creates the wind vs. water controversies that fill our courtrooms following hurricane events. Why?
The primary reason is that property insurance contracts that do cover windstorms normally exclude the peril of flood, and flood policies cover flood but not the peril of windstorm. So what happens when a hurricane damages properties, especially near our coastlines? Will the windstorm carriers and the flood carriers point fingers at each other, and leave you, the policyholder, caught in the middle. Our experience is if you have a loss from wind and flood you need to be prepared to prove which caused what part of your damage. Note that the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), part of FEMA, underwrites the flood policies. How does one sort out this controversy? The public adjusters at Tutwiler and Associates frequently become part of this equation to assist policyholders in sorting out what is wind and what is flood.
What can you expect if a severe storm hits your area and what will the insurance claim enviornment be like? Read Hurricane Disaster Planning – Suggesstions from an Insurance Claim Expert
Some Florida Hurricane History
Most property insurance contracts cover the peril of windstorm to include tornado, hurricane, tropical storm and even wind storm damage associated with thunderstorms. A notable exception occurred in the post-loss environment following Hurricane Andrew in 1992. In Florida, most if not all carriers sought to limit their exposure to windstorm peril from hurricanes by creating high percentage hurricane deductibles in their policies. If you’d like more detail on understanding the impact these percentage deductibles can have on you, please view our complimentary article on Understanding Hurricane Percentage Deductibles. Some insurance companies would not even write coverage and others withdrew from the State in total or set up what was called “PUP” companies in an attempt to limit the parent company liability. These “PUP” companies would only be on the hook for the policies they sold. If they could not pay claims, their organizational structure would limit the parent company’s liability beyond the assets of the “PUPs.” Properties in a high wind zone area often became uninsurable which forced many homeowners in Florida to seek windstorm coverage with the quasi-governmental carrier, Citizens Property Insurance Corporation.