Property Damage FAQ
For most people, property is their biggest asset and when that property is damaged it can create serious financial issues. The costs of repairs and renovations after significant damage can be considerable, which is why it can be worthwhile to look at property insurance offers and to carefully weigh any options such as a civil claim.
Here at Flaxman Law Group, we have compiled the most frequent questions we get about property damage. If you would like to discuss your case specifically, contact us at any time for a free, no obligation case consultation.
- What Is a Property Damage Claim?
- What Are the Common Causes of Property Damage?
- Why Do I Need a Claim If I Have Property Insurance?
- What Should I Do If My Home Has Sustained Damage?
- When Should I Contact a Property Damage Attorney?
A property damage claim is made when your property has sustained harm and you require remediation, renovation, or repairs. A claim can be made with your insurance company or can be made through the civil claims process. In either case, the goal is to secure the money you need to repair the damage your home or property has sustained. Seeking maximum compensation is important, since repairs can end up costing more than estimated and once you have secured an offer you cannot go back and seek additional compensation, so any difference between the amount you secure and the total cost of your repairs will be made up by you.
Property damage can occur for many reasons in South Florida, including termites, defective construction materials, vandalism, theft, hurricanes, tornadoes, and more. The most common causes of claims are caused by:
- Mold Damage
- Wind and Rain Damage
- Flood Damage Claims
- Smoke & Damage Claims
- Storm Damage Claims
- Faulty Construction
You may have a claim no matter what part of your property is damaged. Harm to your home may affect the foundation, roof, windows, siding, doors, landscaping, garage, outbuildings, or even your possessions inside the home.
You pay property insurance premiums every month, but this does not mean you are covered in the event of an emergency. There are many reasons why property owners turn to attorneys when their property sustains damage:
- After a natural disaster, insurance companies may be overwhelmed and there may be delays, denials, or communication issues.
- A legitimate claim may be denied or a property owner may suspect an insurer is acting in bad faith.
- An insurer may resolve a claim quickly, not noticing and not compensating you for additional damages (such as water damage under drywall, for example).
- The insurer may claim a specific type of damage is not covered by the policy.
- An insurer may offer less than a property owner needs to remedy the damage.
- The insurance claims process can be complex and difficult to navigate.
Ultimately, insurers work for their shareholders and shareholders get the most value when insurance companies resolve claims for as little as possible. When you work with a property damage attorney, you’re working with someone who is duty bound to represent your best interests. The goal of your attorney is to recover the fairest possible compensation to pay for home repairs and to this end your attorney can explain your policy and your legal actions and can negotiate with insurers so you don’t have to. If you have a claim, an attorney can find liable parties and pursue a claim to get compensation for unsafe building materials, subpar workmanship, and other forms of negligence.
If you notice damage in your home, you will want to:
- Take photos of all the damage and surrounding area.
- Try to prevent further damage, by moving possessions to dry land in the event of a flood, for example.
- Report the issue to police if damage was caused by theft, vandalism, or another crime.
- Report the issue to your insurance company.
- Take notes listing when you noticed the damage and what you noticed.
- Gather all your documentation, including your property insurance policy and any information about recent repairs or renovations.
- Seek a safer place to live if mold damage or other serious damage is unsafe for your health.
- Keep receipts for any services or any expenses you use to address any property damage while waiting for long-term solutions. For example, if you need to stay at a hotel or pay for water to be pumped from your basement, keep the documentation for these expenses.
- Contact a property damage claims attorney.
If your property has sustained significant damage and if you expect the repair or replacement costs to be considerable, you may want to contact an attorney with experience in property damage claims as soon as possible. An attorney can start working on your behalf, securing evidence and negotiating with insurance companies for you. In some cases, insurers are more willing to make a fair offer when they see you have an attorney who is willing to go to trial to secure fair compensation for you.
Once you have signed insurance documentation and have accepted an offer, you may have few or no options for pursuing a claim, even if the amount is not enough to repair your property. This may mean you need to make up any difference, which can be financially challenging.
Experiencing property damage and the resulting loss of property value is stressful enough. Work with an attorney so you have someone in your corner seeking fair compensation for your losses. Flaxman Law Group has secured over $100 million in court wins and settlements for our clients and we bring over 60 years of experience to the table. In fact, Charles Flaxman, founder of Flaxman Law Group, worked for the insurance industry for ten years before dedicating himself to the law, so he understands how insurance companies work and he can put this expertise to work for you. Our offices in Miami, Homestead, and Hollywood are here to help, no matter where in South Florida you are.
If you have sustained property damage, don’t hesitate. You want to secure compensation fast so you can perform repairs quickly, before the elements cause additional damage. To find out what your options are and to determine whether you have a claim, contact Flaxman Law Group at any time for a free, no obligation consultation.