Serving Greater Orlando, Winter Haven, and Kissimmee
We love our climate here in Florida, but we do experience some of the worst of what nature offers as well as some of the best.
Home and business owners here regularly have to contend with tropical storms, hurricanes, and torrential rain. This extreme weather attacks any weaknesses in properties and frequently leads to water damage.
But it’s not just the weather that causes water damage in Florida homes.
Water damage can strike at almost any time if a pipe or hot water heater bursts, fire sprinklers go off, the roof is damaged and leaky, or you suffer an accident like an overflowing bathtub or sink.
Many property owners in Florida find out the hard way that claiming what they believe they are owed from homeowner’s insurance for water damage is not as straightforward as it should be. Even if premiums are paid up and, technically, you are covered by your policy for the type of water damage suffered, receiving adequate compensation from your insurance company can be a challenge.
Insurers commonly try to avoid or limit liability for damages. It can be a daunting task to deal with aggressive insurance company loss adjusters when you are going through the stress of a home that is uninhabitable because of water damage.
The experienced water damage attorneys at Johnson & Williams PA can help you get your home and life back to normal as soon as possible. We will protect your rights, claim the compensation you deserve, and look after all communications with the insurance company.
Common types of water damage in Florida
Storm damage is only one of the more obvious types of water damage in Florida. The effects of this are often extreme and can be catastrophic for families.
Even a few inches of water can lead to thousands of dollars in property damage.
To make things considerably worse, most basic homeowner’s insurance policies do not even cover the type of damage caused by flooding from hurricanes or other natural disasters.
The other common types of water damage in Florida that are covered by most homeowner’s insurance policies include the following:
Damaged, burst, or leaking pipes
Damaged pipes can be tough to spot but can slowly cause water damage to your property. Be on the lookout for cracks, stains, or other signs of moisture on your ceilings or floors, which could mean that you have damaged pipes.
Burst pipes are more obvious and may require immediate help from a plumber and an insurance claim for the damage to your property.
Floods due to malfunctioning equipment or appliances
If a sump pump stops working, it can flood the basement, causing standing water and mold growth if the problem is not attended to urgently.
Malfunctioning household appliances and HVAC (Heating, Ventilating, and Air Conditioning) units are other common causes of water damage in Florida homes.
Other plumbing issues
Other problems like an inefficient drainage system, overflowing bathtubs, and broken toilets can cause water to flood and create damage. Common household waste often clogs drains unless cleared by a plumber.
Leaky faucets and water lines that have come loose from a dishwasher or washing machine can also cause water damage.
However, most of these types of problems are easily identifiable and fixable. Most home insurance policies provide sufficient coverage against these various types of water damage.
The most serious and extensive water damage is usually caused either by sudden flooding or if leaks go unnoticed for a long period.
The extent to which water damage in your home is covered by homeowner’s insurance depends on the precise details of your policy.
Some general guidelines for Florida homeowners to bear in mind include:
- Basic homeowner’s insurance policies do not cover hurricane damage or damage from tropical storms – it must be purchased separately (and can be expensive)
- Homeowner’s and hurricane insurance does not cover flood damage – you must purchase flood insurance-specific coverage to cover this and there will be a 30-day waiting period.
- Standard policies only provide protection from water damage from standard rain and thunderstorms.
- Most standard homeowner’s insurance policies do not cover damage from sewage backups unless purchased separately.
Water damage claim disputes arise both from homeowners not understanding their policies and from insurance companies trying to limit liability – especially with large claims involving extensive damage.
Some of the most commonly stated reasons for denying claims for water damage include:
- The damage was not covered (excluded via a provision in the policy)
- The policyholder didn’t pay the premium
- Non-compliance with the conditions of the policy
- Failure to disclose the required information to the insurer
Florida insurers must comply with certain requirements for claims reporting, grace periods, and so on. If an insurer denies a water damage claim, it must provide a reason and identify the specific area of the policy justifying the denial. If there is no valid reason, it can be accused of acting in “bad faith”.
Before assessing what compensation you can claim for water damage, you must review your homeowner’s insurance policy. If the type of water damage you have suffered is covered, you will need to assess the cause and extent of the damage:
- Locate the source: Where is the water coming from, and can it be traced back to an obvious leak (e.g., a hole in the roof caused by a falling tree branch or a damaged water pipe)?
- Take photographs: It’s important to document the damage by taking photographs of the source of the water damage as well as the damage itself.
Once you have done this, it’s important to contact your insurer and explain the specific type of damage your property has suffered.
If there is significant damage to your home and you encounter resistance or are pressed into answering questions or signing documents by your insurance company, refer the matter to a water damage lawyer.
A fair insurance settlement for water damage can help you claim the money you need to bring your home back to the way it was.
However, as you’ve seen, obtaining a fair settlement can be a real challenge.
At Johnson, & Williams P.A., we have a strong track record of helping Florida families in the Greater Orlando, Winter Haven, and Kissimmee areas claim what they deserve without a long court battle.
We can file your water damage claim and handle all negotiations with the insurance company.
Call (407) 245-1268 or fill out the contact form, and we will get back to you within 24 hours for a free consultation.