November 28, 2022

Volume XII, Number 332

Advertisement

November 28, 2022

Subscribe to Latest Legal News and Analysis
Advertisement

Hurricane Coming? Know Your Insurance Policy

As we prepare for Hurricane Ian in Tampa Bay and throughout Florida, one important item on your checklist for both your personal and business hurricane preparation plan should be to be aware of your hurricane/windstorm coverage in your insurance policies. While we all hope to avoid major impact or damage from the storm, even minor damage may be covered under your insurance policy. However, the conditions of your insurance policy may require that you report claims prior to doing anything other than emergency repairs. As such, a review of your policies before the storm may not only be helpful to learn what damages are covered but may also avoid taking steps that compromise what would otherwise be covered claims.

Know Your Deductibles

Florida statutes protect homeowners from unexpectedly declining windstorm/hurricane coverage, but allow insurance companies to set a different (and usually higher) deductible for claims related to hurricanes. These deductibles can be as high as 10% of the policy limits for the property/dwelling coverages and may also apply to claims discovered in the days immediately after the hurricane. Knowing your deductible will allow you to gain a more accurate understanding of your potential claims following a hurricane.

For your commercial lines, you should be sure to review your policy to ensure you have windstorm coverage and again check to see if a higher deductible applies.

Whose Policy Applies and What Coverages Apply

If you are on an active construction site, you likely have a general liability policy. But these liability policies are unlikely to cover the more common losses caused by a windstorm or hurricane. Common hurricane claims are more likely to be covered under a builder's risk policy. As you prepare your project site for the storm, you should determine who has purchased the builder's risk insurance and review that policy to see what coverages are available in the event of a loss.

Depending on the terms of your builder’s risk policy, there may be coverage for soft costs such as delays, expedited construction costs, consultant costs and possibly even attorney’s fees. Knowing your coverages before a claim arises will ensure that you are able to receive the insurance benefits that were purchased.

Be Prepared to File a Claim

As many insurance policies require claims be reported promptly after a loss and even before work is done to repair the loss, being prepared to file a claim before the storm hits will allow you to maximize your chance of recovery under the applicable insurance policies…it may also provide you with some peace of mind in a stressful situation. Good practices include identifying a point person with knowledge of the policy to inventory any potential damage and document the same with photographs, videos, and notes. Also, know who you need to report any claims to and what evidence or documentation is needed to report a claim. Know what types of damages will allow for emergency repairs and what claims need to be reported to the carrier before work can be started. And take pictures of your property before the storm hits so that you can show before and after pictures of the property.

While knowing your available insurance coverage is an important item in your hurricane preparations, the most important thing in any storm is to be safe and take all reasonable precautions to keep you, your loved ones, and those around you safe. From all of us at Hill Ward Henderson, we hope and pray that Hurricane Ian passes without major impact to our community. 

© 2007-2022 Hill Ward Henderson, All Rights ReservedNational Law Review, Volume XII, Number 270
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

About this Author

Matthew Hall Insurance Litigator Hill Ward Henderson
Shareholder

Matthew practices in the firm’s Litigation group, primarily focusing in complex commercial litigation, insurance coverage disputes, management-side employment matters and federal court practice. The diversity of Matthew’s practice is reflected in the diversity of the clients he represents: from Fortune 100 companies to large insurance companies to small and up-and-coming businesses to individuals. Matthew has worked to obtain six-figure recoveries on behalf of his clients in breach of contract actions and successfully defended other clients from multi-million dollar...

813.227.8479
Timothy A. Hunt Construction Law Attorney Hill Ward Henderson
Shareholder

Tim Hunt has 37 years of experience in construction law and clients can expect prompt response, efficient service and practical legal advice.

Tim’s practice primarily involves the preparation of development, design and construction contracts and the mediation, arbitration and litigation of claims relating to real estate development, design and construction.

Tim’s litigation experience includes defective construction claims, delay claims, design negligence, the defense of claims by condominium associations, lien...

813-227-8451
Brett J. Preston Attorney Malpractice Hill Ward Henderson
Shareholder

Brett Preston is an accomplished trial attorney who is committed to providing responsive and efficient legal solutions to help clients solve their problems.

Brett’s practice emphasizes the defense of professional malpractice, product liability, and life, health, and disability insurance cases. He also represents clients involved in serious personal injury and wrongful death, structure collapse, toxic tort, and commercial disputes. Brett represents attorneys in grievance proceedings before The Florida Bar. His trial experience is extensive and...

813-227-8419
Erik P. Raines Construction Attorney Hill Ward Henderson
Shareholder

Erik Raines seeks first to understand a client’s business objectives and keeps those goals at the forefront when offering strategic solutions and legal advice.

Erik’s practice primarily involves representing a vast array of stakeholders in the construction industry including owners, developers, contractors, design professionals, subcontractors and sureties in transactional matters, litigation and arbitration.  Erik is well-versed in handling construction defect disputes, delay claims, bond claims, payment and lien foreclosure actions, and...

813-227-8422
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement