Storm or Flood? Hybrid Claims

If your property sustained damage from the recent hurricanes, you need to file a damage claim with your insurance company. However, you may have sustained flood damage, storm damage, or both, and these types of hybrid damage claims can sometimes cause problems.

Hybrid Insurance Claims

A hybrid claim is filed when you have damage caused by two or more covered perils. For instance, you may have sustained damage from storm surge plus damage caused by hurricane force winds ripping off your roof and siding. Most standard homeowner policies will not cover flood damage, so to be covered for this type of damage you must have a special flood insurance policy. Your flood insurance policy will not cover damage caused by anything but flood waters.

This means, that you may need to file more than one damage claim to receive the compensation for all losses. Because of the complexity of these types of claims, you may also need to fight your insurance provider if your claims are denied based on hybrid claim coverage.

Issues with Hybrid Claims

Some insurance providers will look for any reason to avoid paying damage claims. Some of the most common reasons for claim denials include-

  • Damage was caused by a non-covered peril
  • The policy does not cover the type of damage sustained
  • The damage is not as severe as claimed
  • Steps were not taken to reduce storm damage
  • Damage was caused by a lack of maintenance

A common excuse for not paying a damage claim is that a non-covered peril caused the damage. As an example, your home was damaged by water, but your insurance provider may say that the damage was caused by flood waters and your policy doesn’t cover damage caused by flooding. But really, the water damage was caused when wind-driven torrential rains entered your home after the roof was torn off. If your policy covers wind and storm damage, then the damage sustained in our example would be covered.

Know that you do not have to accept the insurance provider’s decision. You have a legal right to dispute unfair decisions that are made in bad faith. You may have several options for fighting claims decisions, including using the appeals process to dispute the decision, hiring a public adjuster to assess the damage and develop a report, filing a request for arbitration, or hiring an insurance claims attorney to help file claims, negotiate with the insurance company, protect your rights, and litigate your case if necessary.

Any decision made in arbitration or the appeals process is binding on both parties. But the decision may not be in your favor. While a public adjuster can help you determine actual damages, they cannot file a lawsuit. Only an attorney can file claims, help you gather evidence and negotiate with the insurance provider and file a lawsuit to ensure you receive the full compensation you are entitled to.

Before you make any decisions about disputing a claim, take advantage of our free consultation to learn more about your legal rights and the options that may be available to you when an insurance provider does not act in good faith to settle a claim.

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