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Understanding Your Insurance Coverage – Lessons Learned from Tropical Storm Debby Regarding Windstorm and Flood Coverage and How it Can Impact Your Insurance Claim for Property Damage

flood.jpgTropical Storm Debby left a rain soaked imprint in Tampa and Jacksonville. The slow moving storm caused extensive flood damage throughout the state of Florida.

Indeed, Tropical Storm Debby raked the Tampa Bay area with high winds and heavy rain Monday in a rain soaked drenching that caused widespread flooding, and clobbered Jacksonville.

The interesting part of Tropical Storm Debby is that many homeowners are now in the process of submitting insurance claims to their insurance companies. However, many are shocked to learn that their homeowners’ policy does not cover flood damage.

We handled flood claims back in 1999 and 2000 here in Miami when Hurricane Irene and the no-name storm flooded South Florida with heavy rains and massive flooding. It was frustrating to see how many home owners simply did not have adequate insurance coverage to cover the extensive flood damage caused by those storms in such hard hit areas like Sweetwater and Southwest Miami-Dade County.

The issue of flood insurance can leave South Florida homeowner’s with huge headaches. Homes determined to be in a flood plain are required to have flood insurance in addition to a regular homeowner’s insurance policy. But yet many still don’t have flood insurance today.

This is particularly troublesome when you consider that insurance companies providing windstorm coverage will typically attempt to blame storm damage on flooding, thereby relieving themselves of the obligation to pay. This was common after Hurricane Katrina, when insurance companies decided they would pay for missing roofs, but not homes destroyed by the resulting water damage.

Consequently, a Miami insurance claims lawyer should always be called to handle significant damage claims. Accepting partial claims and signing waivers or other paperwork are just two ways a homeowner can quickly find themselves in trouble when dealing with an insurance company.

Additionally, you should check today to make sure that you have adequate insurance coverage. Contact your insurance agent to review your scope of insurance coverages. You should also ensure that you have purchased flood insurance too. Flood insurance is relatively inexpensive. With flood insurance, you can fill the “gap” of coverage that the insurance companies will no doubt create in an effort to avoid paying certain claims should a major storm strike South Florida.

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