Fort Lauderdale Hurricane Damage Attorneys

Recovering from the devastation of significant hurricanes can be an overwhelming process. Whether you faced the wrath of Hurricane Ian, Michael, Dorian, Irma, or even Matthew, you can end up with not just physical damages but also emotional and financial strains. Unfortunately, Fort Lauderdale insurance companies’ primary goal is to protect their profits and may not always have your best interest at heart during these turbulent times. In these challenging moments, the expertise of a Fort Lauderdale hurricane damage lawyer becomes invaluable.

At Schilling & Silvers Property and Accident Attorneys, our team specializes in hurricane property damage claims and is deeply familiar with the intricate dynamics of such cases. Our commitment is to ensure you get treated with the fairness and respect you deserve and obtain the proper compensation for your losses. As the NOAA forecasters predict an “above normal” likelihood of increased hurricane activity in the coming months, it’s more important than ever to have dedicated professionals like us by your side. We are here to guide and support you through any storm that may come your way.

What Are the Common Types of Hurricane Damage?

Hurricanes are monstrous forces of nature that bring various destructive elements with them. The damage these storm systems can inflict on homes and infrastructure can be extensive and multifaceted. Here’s a breakdown of some of the common types of hurricane damage:

Wind Damage

As a hurricane approaches, it brings incredibly powerful and sustained winds. These winds can easily uproot trees, rip roofs off houses, shatter windows, and cause other structures to fail.

  • Impact – Wind damage can lead to immediate structural damage, exposing homes to the other elements the hurricane brings. It can also lead to long-term damage, as the exposure can result in mold growth, electrical issues, and other hazards.


Heavy rainfall during a hurricane can result in significant flooding, especially in areas below sea level or with poor drainage systems.

  • Impact – Flood waters can cause extensive damage to homes, including ruining furniture, electronics, and personal belongings. They can also lead to mold growth, foundation damage, and even compromise the structural integrity of buildings.

Storm Surge

A storm surge is a rapid rise in sea level caused by a hurricane’s winds pushing ocean water toward the shore. It can be several feet high and can flood vast areas in a very short amount of time.

  • Impact – Storm surges are particularly destructive because they can inundate large areas, causing catastrophic flooding and eroding beaches and coastlines. Buildings, roads, and other infrastructures can be severely damaged or entirely swept away. The salinity of the seawater can also harm freshwater ecosystems and agricultural lands.

Tornado Damage

Hurricanes can also spawn tornadoes. While these tornadoes are generally weaker than those formed in supercell thunderstorms, they can still cause significant damage.

  • Impact – Tornadoes formed during hurricanes can add another layer of destruction. They can cause localized areas of intense damage, tearing apart buildings, flipping vehicles, and creating dangerous flying debris.

Property Damage

What to do If Your Property Has Been Damaged by a Hurricane

As any Florida resident knows, hurricanes can cause extensive property damage in Fort Lauderdale. High winds and storm surges can uproot trees, collapse buildings, and wash away whole neighborhoods. In the aftermath of a hurricane, it can be challenging to assess the extent of the damage. However, there are some steps that homeowners and businesses can take to assess the damage and begin the process of rebuilding.

First, it is vital to stay safe. Avoid downed power lines and broken glass and be aware of your surroundings. If possible, photograph or videotape the damage for insurance purposes.

Assess the Damage to Your Property

Once you have assessed the immediate dangers, you can begin to assess the damage to your property. Start by making a list of all the damage. Include items damaged beyond repair and those that need to be repaired.

If you wait too long, much of the evidence supporting your allegation will be lost. You must start snapping pictures and recording films immediately before the weather, or other factors change. It could take the insurance company months to resolve your claim, so having evidence of the damage while it’s still fresh is essential.

Keep Your Receipts

Never lose track of your receipts for money spent out of pocket. Suppose you cannot stay in your home due to damage. In that case, your insurance may cover some of the costs associated with finding alternative lodging, obtaining alternate meals, and getting to and from your temporary location. Collect all documentation (including credit card statements) in a gallon-sized resealable plastic bag.

Save duplicates of all property evaluations for repairs, appraisals, and inspections. For example, if the storm destroyed your clothing, furniture, or other belongings and you had to replace them, you should save receipts as proof that you paid for the replacements. The key line is that you should prepare as though you have to prove all these losses in front of a judge in a year.

Once you have compiled a list, you can begin to contact your insurance company and start the process of filing a claim. In addition, you will need to contact contractors to get estimates for repairs.

Understanding Homeowners’ Insurance Claims and Coverage for Hurricanes

When you live in a hurricane-prone area like Florida, ensuring you have the right insurance coverage is necessary. However, navigating the maze of homeowners’ insurance in Fort Lauderdale, especially concerning hurricanes, can be daunting. Here’s a breakdown to help you understand what hurricane insurance typically covers and what it doesn’t.

What Does Hurricane Insurance Cover?

Hurricane insurance protects homeowners from damages caused by hurricanes, tropical storms, and other named storms. Key points include:

  • Coverage – It typically provides coverage for wind damage and storm surges. It’s worth noting that this is distinct from your regular homeowner’s insurance policy.
  • Florida Mandate – In Florida, there’s a legal mandate for homeowners residing in hurricane-prone zones to have hurricane insurance. This is because standard homeowners’ insurance policies don’t cover hurricane-related damages. Without this specialized coverage, homeowners are taking a substantial financial risk.
  • Separate purchase – Hurricane insurance is an add-on or a rider, implying it’s not part and parcel of standard homeowner’s insurance but needs to be bought separately.

What Doesn’t Hurricane Insurance Typically Cover in Florida?

While hurricane insurance sounds comprehensive, it’s essential to understand its limitations. Several damages that you might assume have coverage under your policy may not. Key exclusions include:

  • Flooding – It’s a big mistake to think that hurricane insurance covers flooding. Separate flood insurance is what you need for this, especially if your residence is in a flood-prone area.
  • Mold – As mold often stems from water damage, which might not be included in your policy, standard hurricane insurance policies typically don’t cover mold damages.
  • Personal belongings – Hurricane insurance mainly protects the structural integrity of your home. If personal items such as furniture, electronics, and other valuables get damaged, the policy might not cover their replacement costs.
  • Sewer or drain backup – Damage due to blockages from sewers or drains during heavy rainfall won’t have coverage. However, homeowners might be able to purchase additional coverage for such incidents.
  • Wind damage – It might come as a surprise, but many standard hurricane insurance policies exclude wind damage. Always scrutinize the policy details or consult with your hurricane damage attorney in Fort Lauderdale to ensure you’re adequately covered.

Filing a Claim

How to File an Insurance Claim for Hurricane Damages in Fort Lauderdale

Hurricanes are distressing, and the aftermath can be a challenging period filled with confusion and emotional stress. If you’ve suffered damage from a hurricane like Ian, here’s a step-by-step guide to help you go through the process of filing an insurance claim in Fort Lauderdale:

Step 1. Contact a Fort Lauderdale Hurricane Damage Attorney

  • Why? Insurers prioritize profits and may undervalue your claim. Engaging an attorney ensures you get a fair settlement.
  • Action – Call us today for a free consultation. Remember, you ALWAYS have the right to consult an attorney, regardless of the insurer’s claims.

Step 2. Promptly Notify Your Insurance Company

  • Why? Early notification can help prevent negligence accusations.
  • Action – Contact your insurer immediately and request an adjuster’s visit.

Step 3. Document Thoroughly

  • Why? Insurers require evidence.
  • Action – Take photos and videos of every damage, including structural damage, water levels, broken windows, damaged appliances, and more.

Step 4. Catalog Your Losses

  • Why? Creating comprehensive records ensures no detail gets overlooked.
  • Action – Inventory everything damaged or lost, specifying details like brand names and model numbers.

Step 5. Gather Receipts

  • Why? To validate the value of items and services.
  • Action – Collate receipts for appliances, personal items, and even services related to repairs or temporary accommodations.

Step 6. Document Your Communication with the Insurance Company

  • Why? To maintain a clear record of every interaction.
  • Action – Note details of each call, email, or letter, including the representative’s name and the conversation’s content.

Step 7. Undertake Temporary Emergency Repairs

  • Why? To prevent further damages and ensure continued coverage.
  • Action – Perform essential repairs and keep every receipt. Include these costs in your claim.

Step 8. Question the Insurer’s Estimate

  • Why? Insurers might offer undervalued estimates.
  • Action – Get an independent assessment. A competent Fort Lauderdale hurricane damage lawyer can get this to give your case leverage during negotiations.

Step 9. Look Over Your Insurance Policy

  • Why? To ensure accurate understanding and prevent any misleading claims from the insurer.
  • Action – Review your policy for coverage details, limits, deductibles, and exclusions. If you’re confused, consult with your attorney.

Reasons Why Your Fort Lauderdale Hurricane Claim Has Been Denied

Hurricanes are a looming threat that can cause significant property damage. Filing a hurricane insurance claim might seem the logical next step after a storm wreaks havoc. But many face the bitter reality of having their claims denied. Here are some common reasons why your hurricane claim might face rejection:

  • Excessive damage beyond policy limits – If the damage is too extensive and surpasses policy coverage limits, the insurance company might deem the property beyond repair and deny the claim.
  • Inadequate documentation – Insufficient evidence or documentation might result in the insurance company questioning the cause and extent of the damage, leading to denial.
  • Lack of hurricane coverage – Some homeowners’ insurance policies in Florida might not cover hurricane-induced damages.
  • Lapsed filing timeline – Claims filed after the allowed period or after the statute of limitations could get rejected.
  • Non-hurricane damage – Claims can get denied if the hurricane doesn’t directly cause the damage or is deemed insignificant.
  • Pre-existing damage – Damage that predated the hurricane and you failed to fix could lead to claim denial.

Disputing a Denied Claim:

  • Consult with an attorney – If your claim gets denied, it’s advisable to consult a Fort Lauderdale hurricane damage lawyer. They can guide you on the next steps, ensuring your rights are protected.
  • Review your policy – Thoroughly go through your policy again to make sure you understand all the coverage clauses. This can help you identify any oversights on the insurance company’s part.
  • Provide additional evidence – If the denial was due to inadequate documentation, gather more evidence, including photographs, expert assessments, and contractor estimates.
  • File an appeal – Many insurance companies have an internal appeals process. Submit your appeal within the stipulated timeline, including all pertinent documentation and reasons for disputing the denial.
  • File a complaint with the state – If all else fails, you can file a complaint with Florida’s insurance regulatory body. They can review the case to ensure the insurance company abides by the state’s laws and regulations.

Hurricane Claims for Business Owners

Businesses, much like homes, can face severe damage during hurricanes. These damages, however, go beyond physical destruction, reaching the critical aspect of lost income. Filing a business hurricane insurance claim requires expertise and patience. Critical considerations for business owners include:

  • Forensic analysis – A detailed analysis of the business’s profit and losses, possibly by a forensic accountant, might be required.
  • Indirect damages – If the business didn’t get directly impacted by the hurricane but faced issues like storm-induced flooding, interpreting the insurance coverage can be tricky.
  • Loss of income – Assessing a business’s lost revenue post-hurricane can be challenging.
  • Policy nuances – Insurance policies might have specific endorsements or exclusions that modify the standard coverage.
  • Seasonal factors – The time of year—during peak or off-peak season—can influence the extent of income loss.

Fort Lauderdale, FL

Found along the southeastern coast of Florida, Fort Lauderdale is renowned for its sprawling beaches, boating canals, and vibrant arts scene. However, its tropical rainforest climate also means the city is no stranger to the annual hurricane season. With temperatures consistently warm year-round and a pronounced rainy season from May through October, residents must be well-prepared for hurricanes’ potential challenges. In light of this, several resources are available for Fort Lauderdale residents to ensure they have adequate preparation for hurricane season:

  • 2023 Fort Lauderdale Hurricane Plan – Presented by the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, this guide offers comprehensive strategies for hurricane preparation, including home safety measures, evacuation plans, and post-storm recovery tips.
  • Calvary Chapel – Beyond spiritual guidance, Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale extends its hand with practical hurricane preparation and relief services. They offer spiritual and tangible support to those affected by these powerful storms.
  • Center for Independent Living – Catering especially to individuals with disabilities, the Center provides specialized guidance on hurricane preparedness, ensuring everyone, regardless of physical limitations, is ready for storm challenges.
  • Hurricane Resource Center – Sponsored by the United Way of Broward County, this center provides many tools, from emergency contact numbers to a list of open shelters. Their resources aim to keep residents informed and safe during emergencies.

Experienced Fort Lauderdale Hurricane Lawyers

Florida’s insurance landscape has been marred by various challenges in recent times. From allegations of corruption and negligence to outright fraud, the state’s insurance industry has seen its reputation tarnished. It’s not just about insurance companies; the situation has made it increasingly difficult for homeowners, who often find themselves battling against these massive entities, trying to ensure that they receive the fair treatment and compensation they deserve.

This is where the attorneys at Schilling & Silvers Property and Accident Attorneys come into play. Familiar with the intricacies of the Florida insurance landscape, we are well-versed in the tactics employed by these insurance companies. More importantly, we understand property damage claims, homeowners’ insurance claims, and the nuances of Florida laws. With our expertise and dedication, Schilling & Silvers Property and Accident Attorneys stands as a beacon of hope, ensuring homeowners don’t have to go through the process alone. When you have us by your side, you can be confident that someone is fighting relentlessly for your rights and ensuring you get the justice you deserve.

In addition to Fort Lauderdale, our legal team also serves Pompano Beach, Miami, Weston, Plantation, Hialeah, Sunrise, Davie, Fort Myers, and more. Contact us at 954-712-8877 to learn more about how we can help with your hurricane insurance claim.