Homeowner’s insurance is designed to pay for damages to both your home and the personal property in your home, which are damaged by fire, hurricanes, sudden discharge of water from a pipe, roof leaks, sinkholes or other disasters. It is important to retain the services of an experienced insurance attorney in the event your insurance company elects to not pay your claim in full.
The type of homeowner’s coverage purchased will have a significant bearing on the types of disasters or incidents your policy will cover. It is important to review your insurance policy to determine which “perils” your insurance policy will protect you against. Insurance companies will attempt to allege that the damage to your home was not caused by a covered, “peril.” If this happens to you, please contact an insurance claim lawyer to review your claim and offer you proper legal advice.
Homeowner’s insurance has certain limitations on expensive items in your home, such as jewelry, antiques, coin or stamp collections, firearms, artwork, etc. Most insurance policies offer additional coverage, for an additional premium, which provides you additional protection for your personal property.
Also, homeowner’s insurance policies offer an, “additional living expense,” or “ALE” coverage, which pays for additional expenses you incur if your home is temporarily uninhabitable. Most insurance companies will agree to reimburse you for hotel, food or other expenses you would not have incurred, but for the damage to your home.
Certain parts of the country, including Florida, require homeowner’s to purchase separate “windstorm” coverage, which protects your home if it is damaged by a hurricane. This coverage is unfortunately expensive. Certain insurance companies will attempt to sell you a windstorm policy with a high deductible. A deductible is the amount of money you must pay out of pocket, before the insurance company begins to pay your claim. It is my experience that you do not save a significant amount of money when selecting a lower deductible (2%), as opposed to a higher deductible (10%).
Insurance companies will attempt to allege that damage to your home was caused by a windstorm, as opposed to another lower deductible loss. If that occurs, consider retaining an insurance attorney experienced in litigating these matters.
Most insurance policies do not cover damage to your home caused by floods or rising water. Therefore, it is important that you have flood insurance to protect your home in the event of a flood. Interestingly, there are certain areas of the country which are not considered flood zones. However, these areas have recently experienced flooding, which a homeowner’s insurance policy specifically excludes. Since flood insurance is relatively inexpensive, you may want to consider purchasing flood insurance if you live near a river, lake or other body of water. Insurance companies may claim that your home was damaged by a flood, as opposed to a covered loss. If this occurs, an experienced property insurance lawyer can assist you in obtaining the proper payment from your insurance company. As with the vast majority of cases, all legal fees are paid by the insurance company.