Extensive property damage can lead to a massive financial burden for you and your family, and even seemingly minor property damage can be costly. As a Westchase resident, you face many scenarios in which you can experience damage to your home, business, or vehicles. You pay monthly or annual premiums to insure your business property, home, and vehicles with the expectation that your carrier will provide benefits when damage occurs.
You might be taken by surprise when your insurance company denies coverage, but this is actually pretty typical. An insurance company is a business with a bottom line that takes priority over whether you get the relief you need in the wake of a disaster or an accident. Even when paying out to their own policyholders, insurance companies often use tactics to avoid paying the full value of a claim.
If your insurance company denies your Westchase property damage claim or refuses to pay the full value of your claim, you have legal options. An experienced property damage attorney can fight for you to receive the maximum value for your claim.
The skilled Westchase property damage lawyers at Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA are here to serve the Westchase community with their extensive experience dealing with insurance companies and pursuing every avenue to get their clients the compensation they desperately need.
Contact us today online or at 833-552-7274 for a free consultation to discuss the event that led to your property damage, the extent of the damage, and the viability of a legal claim against your insurance carriers. And read on to learn about common kinds of property damage in Westchase and the process of recovering compensation.
Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers Handle a Wide Range of Westchase Property Damage Cases
Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA handles a wide range of Westchase property damage cases that involve working with insurance companies or filing lawsuits. Examples of cases we handle include:
Hurricanes, Storms, and Floods
Residents of Westchase have lived through their share of hurricanes. Tampa has not been directly hit by a hurricane for over a century, but others have been close enough to still cause severe damages to businesses, homes, and other personal property. Storm surge from hurricanes that hits other parts of the Gulf of Mexico can cause severe water damage in Westchase. The same is true of strong thunderstorms, which may lead to flooding.
Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA is experienced in helping Westchase clients get the money they need for repairs or replacement when hurricanes and other storms cause property damage.
Tornado and Wind Damage
Florida hurricanes and other storms near Westchase sometimes result in high winds and/or tornadoes. In fact, one storm can spawn multiple tornadoes. The strongest tornadoes can destroy homes and businesses, forcing businesses to close permanently or rebuild and leaving families homeless. After a tornado, homeowners and business owners are typically relying on insurance companies to quickly process and payout their claims, so they can begin to rebuild their lives.
When insurance companies drag their feet, deny claims, or refuse to pay the full value of the claim—as they often do—families face additional struggles on top of the damage to their property. In the case of complex natural disasters, insurance companies can try to avoid coverage. Indeed, given the nature of such disasters, many claims are being made all at once, giving insurance companies an even greater incentive to deny or reduce claims.
If your Westchase commercial property or your home was built before 1975, the plumbing system likely has cast iron pipes that have leaked or are likely to leak or burst at some point. Cast iron deteriorates and rusts over time, leading to water damage, leaking sewage, and other potential health dangers for those who use or live in the property.
Examples of damage that can occur because of failed cast-iron pipes include:
- Backed-up pipes
- Warped or rotted wood floors
- Damaged or raised floor or wall tiles
- Stained grout
- Stained carpeting
- Pest infestation because of water, especially roaches
Fire and Smoke
Fires can be some of the scariest and damaging accidents for Westchase properties.
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) identifies the following as the top causes for fires:
- Cooking. It’s common for people to walk away from the stove when cooking in the kitchen. Failure to keep a careful eye on food when frying, broiling, boiling, or grilling food can lead to a fire and spread quickly through a home.
- Heating issues. Heating equipment causes a staggering amount of damage, every year leading to more than a billion dollars in property damage across the United States. Florida’s warm climate means residents use heating equipment less, and many fail to closely monitor and maintain the equipment. Getting such equipment cleaned and inspected is important to make a priority. In addition, placing space heaters too close to flammable materials like curtains may start fires that can spread quickly.
- Electrical problems. Electrical wires, lighting, cords, and plugs can lead to fires in businesses and homes. These issues ensue from poor electrical work, old electrical wiring, overloaded outlets, among other causes. Sparks from electrical shorts may ignite flammable items and cause massive fire and smoke damage.
- Smoking. Those who smoke cigarettes, cigars, and other substances risk causing a fire and accompanying property damage when they do not properly dispose of lighted materials.
- Candles. People love using candles for their pleasant smell and distinctive ambiance. But falling asleep while a candle is burning or leaving a candle burn after leaving a room is dangerous and can lead to fires. Glass containers can explode, and candles that aren’t in protective containers can ignite nearby furniture, curtains, or other fabrics.
Each year between 300,000 and 400,000 traffic accidents occur on Florida’s roads and highways, making damage to vehicles one of the most common kinds of property damage our Westchase community experiences. Again, the first way to go is often to file a claim with insurance. Traffic accident claims can be the most complex property damage claims, partly because they often involve more than one insurance company and disputes over fault.
Consequently, insurance companies can pose an obstacle to recovering your source of transportation. At Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, we know the struggle many Westchase residents face in fighting insurance companies for the compensation they need to fix their vehicles, and how to help clients get the compensation they deserve for property damage and personal injuries related to a car, truck, or other traffic accident.
Residential Insurance Policies May Cover a Wide Range of Personal Property in Westchase
Commercial properties and residential houses commonly suffer damage, and often require insurance to cover structural destruction. But what many do not realize is that an insurance policy for a home or commercial property may also cover a wide range of personal property damaged in an accident on the property.
- Cars, trucks, SUVs, and other motor vehicles
- Motorcycles and scooters
- Boats, yachts, and personal watercraft
- Televisions, computers, and other electronic equipment
- Furniture and other home decor items
- Jewelry and family heirlooms
- Music Instruments
- Paintings, sculptures, and other artwork
Even where you already have individual coverage for a piece of personal property, such as your car, your residential or commercial policy may cover costs. However, while personal policies are normally relatively straightforward and claims are easily resolved, homeowner’s insurance rarely is. Insurance carriers typically include several exclusions and conditions in their policies. For example, a policy might exclude a privacy fence or a detached garage from coverage, even though you might consider them part of the home.
Insurance Coverage and Water Damage to Your Westchase Home or Business
If you have never filed an insurance claim for water damage in Westchase, you might have been shocked to discover that a homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy did not cover water damage caused by flooding. Insurance providers typically cover damage from failed cast iron pipes or bad plumbing, but evaluate whether this type of water damage occurred gradually or because of a negligent property owner who did not perform proper maintenance. But because of the prevalence of flooding, many insurance providers will have an exclusion for such water damage in standard policies.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) offers flood insurance for homeowners because it’s standard industry practice for insurance companies to exclude flood damage from homeowners’ insurance policies. Depending on where you live in Westchase, your mortgage financer or landlord might require you to buy flood insurance.
One might expect a federally administered flood insurance program would not deny damage claims, but this is not the case. FEMA denies claims as much as other insurers. If FEMA denies a claim, the insured must follow an internal appeals process before they have the legal right to file a lawsuit.
Water damage claims are, by far, among the most complex types of property damage claims in Westchase. Coverage depends on figuring out where the water came from and what the likely cause was. Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA are ready to advise you about your legal options in your Westchase water damage case.
Mandatory Property Damage Liability for Westchase Drivers
Florida is a no-fault insurance state that requires drivers who register a vehicle to purchase $10,000 of coverage for property damage liability (PDL) and personal injury protection (PIP) insurance. If you cause a minor, property-damage-only car accident, your PDL coverage will pay benefits to cover damage to the other driver’s car. Conversely, you can collect from the other driver’s PDL policy if he or she caused the accident.
Florida’s no-fault insurance laws may complicate getting full-coverage in Westchase vehicle damage claims, but an experienced property damage lawyer knows how to apply the law to their clients’ situations, providing the best chance to receive the maximum payout after a car crash.
Westchase Insurance Companies Deny Claims for Various Reasons
While insurance companies deny claims for dubious reasons, other times claim denials are legitimate. Regardless, insurance carriers do not stay in business by paying the full amount of every property damage claim they receive. Insurance companies use various tactics to find reasons to deny or devalue a claim.
Examples of reasons your property damage claim might get denied or the insurance carrier might try to pay you less include:
- You didn’t pay your premiums or had a short lapse in coverage when the property damage occurred.
- You did not file your claim by the deadline specified in your policy.
- Your damage falls under a policy exclusion. Flood, hurricane =, construction, and sinkhole damage are common exclusions in Florida homeowners’ policies. Some residential and commercial policies also exclude vandalism.
- You don’t have the documents and evidence you need to prove your claim. For instance, to recover full compensation for property lost in a house-flood, you must include a complete list of damaged inventory or contents.
- Your insurance carrier believes you have filed a false or questionable claim to collect benefits under your policy.
Contact an Experienced Westchase Property Damage Attorney
After paying insurance premiums year after year, you deserve to receive the financial benefits your policy provides after you make a property damage claim. When other parties are responsible for your damage, you shouldn’t have to absorb the costs of their negligence either.
If an insurance company has denied your claim or refuses to give you the payout you deserve, or if you need to file a lawsuit to pay for property damage, the skilled legal team at Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA can help. Contact us today online or at 833-552-7274 to discuss the details of your property damage claim. One of our experienced property damage attorneys can evaluate your claim and advise you on the best path forward for your situation.
Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
13513 Prestige Pl. Suite 102
Tampa, FL 33635
Phone: (813) 303-0916