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Why Did the Insurance Company Deny My Claim After Hurricane Ian?

It has been months since Hurricane Ian devastated parts of the Southwest Florida coast, yet the data from the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation states that nearly 40 percent of insurance claims have either been rejected or still remain in limbo, without any payment. Denied insurance claims after Hurricane Ian are both disappointing and frustrating for the property owner.

Those statistics might not reveal the whole story either.  Even when insurance claims are paid, it might not be enough to rebuild.  One Lee County family was only offered $500 in compensation for their home, which was left uninhabitable.  Another family, who suffered more than $60,000 in damages, was offered less than $3,000 in compensation.

Unfortunately, it happens all too often; people are lowballed or outright rejected by insurance companies.

The most likely claim that will be denied is usually for flooding.  Many property insurers, like Citizens Property Insurance, do not cover flood damage.  If water rises up from the ground and causes damage, it is generally handled through the federal flood insurance program.  Many of the insurance companies are denying claims because they state that the damage was caused by flood and not by wind.  However, Hurricane Ian had winds of 155 mph at landfall – enough to cause severe damage to homes and structures. 

Just because it looks like flood damage, doesn’t necessarily mean it was caused by what the flood insurance policy requires.  For example, water damage in your home may have been caused by a damaged roof.  If so, you will likely be entitled to insurance coverage through your wind damage policy section.

Review the Insurance Company’s Decision

By understanding how the insurance company reached its decision, you will have better insight into how to appeal the finding.  Pull out your policy and read it in detail.  If it doesn’t match what the insurance company is telling you, you may have a case.

Gather Additional Evidence & Information

Take photos of your damaged home, especially of what you believe to be the cause of the damage.  Take close-ups and wide shots of things such as a broken window or damaged roof.  It is also good to gather pre-storm photos that show the condition of the damaged area before the storm.  This is a good time to collect receipts of damaged appliances and belongings to prove their value.

Reach Out to Your Insurance Company

Challenge the claim denial by sending your detailed information to the insurance company by mail or email.  You will also want to keep a record of all conversations with the insurer.  If you speak to a representative on the phone, ask for their name and record notes on the conversation, as well as note the date and time.

File an Appeal

If they still reject your claim, it is time to file a formal appeal.  How you present your information is essential to the outcome of your claim.  It is important to remember, you can still win your appeal even after your insurance company denies it.

I’m Here to Help

Navigating the hurricane insurance claims process can be daunting.  The system is confusing and frustrating for most.  Don’t give up hope!  Never sign a release or accept a lowball offer until you speak with your local consumer protection agency or a lawyer for assistance.

I’m Rob Robinson.  I’m a Florida native and wouldn’t consider living anywhere else.  It saddens me to know that so many of my fellow Floridians are having trouble with their claims from Hurricane Ian.  I’m proud to be an advocate you can trust.  Insurance companies may try to bully you into accepting their low offer or state that you have no claim at all.  I promise you, I won’t be bullied.  If you have a valid claim, I will fight for you until we reach a resolution that works for you.  As a sole practitioner, I can ensure you that your claim will be handled with individualized care and attention.

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