Was Your Florida Leak Damage Claim Denied As ‘Long Term Damage’?
Your property insurance policy will usually cover damage caused by a leak. But, some Florida property owners find their claim denied as ‘long term damage’. Damage caused by a long term leak is often excluded in many homeowner’s insurance policies. This is because homeowners should take reasonable actions to prevent leaks from getting worse. However, sometimes insurance companies will stretch the meaning of ‘long term’ and deny valid claims. If your leak damage insurance claim was denied, please contact an experienced Fort Lauderdale property insurance attorney for immediate legal assistance.
Key Evidence in Long Term Leak Damage Disputes
What exactly counts as ‘long term’ damage? The answer depends entirely on your specific insurance policy. Sometimes it will be as short as few weeks. Other times it will be longer, or there will be an exception for leak damage that was hidden behind a wall. More likely than not, it will contain some sort of long term leak damage exclusion. That doesn’t necessarily mean that damage that occurred within a short period of time will be excluded just because a leak continued. After you make a leak damage claim, expect the insurance company to send an investigator out to your property. In these cases, the insurance company has the burden of proving that the leak damage was long term, if it plans on denying a claim. If you end up in a water damage insurance dispute, remember, evidence is always the key to proving your claim. Your property insurance dispute attorney will usually use the following types of evidence:
- Photographs: Always take extensive photographs of any property damage, as well as the surrounding area. For example, if there is no visible long term water staining, your insurance company will have a difficult time proving that the damage was caused by a long term leak. Generally, photographs will be the most important evidence in your case.
- Expert testimony: Water damage experts can provide compelling supporting testimony. They can use their experience to help explain how, and when, a leak likely began. Further, experts will use their knowledge to examine the source of the leak and refute any inaccurate claims that the leak began well before it did.
- Water bills: The case Hoey v. State Farm Florida Insurance Company set a precedent that allows water bills to be used as evidence in leak damage insurance disputes. In that case, the insurance company used the property owner’s utility bills to show that a sharp uptick in water usage began several months before the leak damage claim. This indicated that the leak was likely several months old. You may be able to use this type of evidence as well. If no unusual increase occurred, or if your increased water usage began very recently, you may be able to pinpoint the exact timing of the leak.
Contact An Experienced Fort Lauderdale Property Insurance Claims Attorney
Water damage is one of the most frequently disputed Florida property insurance issues. Leaks can cause significant damage, and you need to be protected from overly aggressive insurance companies. Your claim deserves to be treated fairly. If you believe that your leak damage claim was unfairly denied, please contact the property insurance attorneys at Geyer Fuxa Tyler in Fort Lauderdale today to schedule a free legal consultation.