Broward County, Florida: Has Your Hurricane Irma Roof Insurance Claim Been Denied?

Do you want to get the money you deserve?

Broward County Roof Insurance Claim Denied

Attention Broward County home and business owners: have you suffered roof damage from Hurricane Irma? Has your insurance company low balled or denied your claim? If so, our Hurricane Insurance Public Adjuster, may be able to help.

Homeowners and business owners pay insurance premiums for decades, and that money is quickly accepted by their insurance company. But when a hurricane, hail storm or a wind storm damages the home or the business, these insurance companies find ways to deny or low ball payment of the claim. But you don’t have to allow them to have the last word!

Roof Insurance Claim Process

This is how they do it:

An adjuster, hired by the insurance company, comes out to inspect the damage;

The inspector looks for ways to deny the claim or is very inexperienced or doesn’t understand local pricing.

If it is obvious that the claim must be paid, the adjuster will recommend the cheapest repairs possible. Remember, the adjuster is paid by your insurance company, not by you.

If you have read this far, hopefully you will call a Broward County Public Adjuster to advocate for you; because the insurer’s adjuster does not have the final say.

In my 20+ years of dealing with insurance companies, no single issue has made me angrier than the way hard-working people are routinely abused by their own insurance companies when they file a claim for property damage. These are my favorite cases. They are my favorites because:

  1. I don’t have to charge the client a penny in order to get the house/business repaired;
  2. I get to go to war with multi-billion dollar corporations? on equal footing.

Let’s say you have a ten-year old roof on your house, and Hurricane Irma caused damage. You know there is roof damage, because your ceiling is leaking. You report the claim to your insurance provider and they send out what they call an “Independent” adjuster to survey your damage. While that adjuster may not be an employee of your insurer, you can bet that the insurance company does not call him and pay him to inspect houses if he doesn’t follow their claim handling instructions!

No sir, big insurance companies have a LOT more confidence in the adjuster who can’t seem to see covered roof damage ever; so that guy gets a lot of business from the insurance company, and in turn that insurance company denies a lot of claims based on the adjuster’s “independent” review/report. If it’s a really big claim (like a total replacement of a roof on a large commercial building), then the insurance people will be SUPER thorough and send out an “Independent” Engineer. This guy is just like the adjuster except he drank less beer in college and was better at math, so he got an engineering degree, but that degree won’t help him see any covered damage.

You see where I am going with this… when disputing a contract or any financial transaction (like a roof insurance claim), one person cannot or should not represent both parties involved. Obviously that person will side with whomever is paying him. Hence, working with your own Public Adjuster is key to leveling the playing field, and tip the odds in favor of a fair settlement. The best part is, you don’t pay the public adjuster you hire out of pocket, I don’t get paid until you do.

I am biased after doing this for a couple of decades, but if your insurance company tells you that your roof claim is worth $15,000 and you accepted that, and your roofer replaced the roof for that, you probably just got ripped off by thousands of dollars. The roofer wants the work, so he will figure out a way to replace the roof for whatever the insurance company will pay, but that doesn’t mean that the roof was replaced correctly. Was the felt replaced? Was the drip edge replaced? You have no idea – all you know is that you got a new roof. And when it starts leaking in 5 years and you call your insurance company, they will tell you that it’s leaking because of “improper installation,” and they’ll be correct. The REASON it was improperly installed is because they barely paid the poor roofer enough money to buy the shingles or tiles!

Also, if water actually came into your house from a roof leak, there are many additional considerations that need to be reviewed. Most people have no idea how destructive interior water damage is, and many times, you cannot see it…until mold is growing in your house.

In my experience, over 80% of people who are told by their insurance company that some damage is not covered instantly give up. And in my experience, 100% of people who get their roof replaced never even ask themselves if the claim was paid fairly.

If your roof damage insurance claim was denied or underpaid, give us a call at 954-369-0573 for a free review of your claim. We, at Advocate Claims Public Adjusters have 20+ years experience handling roofing claims, we have settled thousands of insurance claims and worked through eight major hurricanes.

We serve all of Broward County, including but not limited to these areas: Coral Springs, Pembroke Pines, Fort Lauderdale, Parkland, Weston, Cooper City, Pompano Beach, Oakland Park, Sunrise, Plantation, South West Ranches.

Please read our 5-star reviews and what our clients say about us.

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Beware Of Holiday Thieves: 5 Steps To Prevent Being Burglarized

Avoid Burglaries and Theft this Christmas

Every year, along with the snow and the Christmas lights, comes a flood of warnings to protect your home from burglars looking to take advantage of all the houses left empty during holiday vacations. Call it the “Home Alone’’ effect.

The holiday season is a time for fun and festivities. Unfortunately, it’s also a time when many homes are burglarized. Factors include Christmas presents, the high number of holiday travelers, and a high stress time of year. The FBI reports “nearly 400,000 burglaries occur during November and December alone.”

The criminals perpetrating these thefts aren’t typically professionals, but amateurs looking to quickly score items like electronics, jewelry and gadgets. Here are some ways to protect your home and keep it secure during the holidays.

1. Be discreet when disposing of packages.

One of the easiest ways for thieves to tell if there’s a wealth of valuables is from leftover packing in your trash or recycling sitting on the curb. A quick glance and they’ll know what they will find inside. If you’ve got a brand new TV or computer, be sure to break the packaging down and conceal it as much as possible. You may also want to wait to dispose of packing until the day trash/recycling is collected so it doesn’t linger around and give would-be burglars any incentive.

2. Minimize visibility from the street.

Another mistake homeowners make is leaving a mound of expensive gifts underneath the Christmas tree right in front of a window. If these items are visible from the street, potential burglars don’t have to make much effort to case your home. To prevent this problem, you should keep your curtains or blinds closed at night or position your Christmas tree so it’s not easily seen from the street.

3. Ensure you have adequate lighting.

The last thing a burglar wants is to be spotted when attempting to break and enter. That’s why it’s smart to install some outdoor motion detector lights that are triggered any time someone approaches your home at night. You should also set a timer for indoor lights if you will be away from home for an extended period of time.

4. Be careful with social media posting.

If you’re going to be out of town for the holidays, you should use caution with how much information you divulge on your social media accounts. For example, posting something like “greetings to everyone back home, we’ll be back next week” makes it all too easy for criminals to gain the edge. They’ll know for a fact you’re not home, which can make your home a prime target for a break-in.

5. Take pictures and record serial numbers.

For any high price gifts, it’s a good idea to take note of as much information as possible. This is relatively easy to do and starts with taking a picture and saving it on your mobile device, computer or on Cloud software. You should also write down all serial numbers if items need to be traced. In the worst-case scenario, this will make it easier for police to obtain a confession and recover stolen items.

Because of the good times and good cheer, some people fail to consider the spike in home burglaries around the holidays. Fortunately, taking the right precautions and preventative measures should keep your home safe from a Grinch.

If you are victim of a burglary, here are the steps to follow as soon as possible following the robbery.

Step 1: Contact law enforcement immediately.

As soon as you realize your home has been burglarized, call the police. Your home insurance company isn’t likely to take any steps forward with your claim until you report the incident and get a police report number.

While you’re waiting for an officer to arrive, resist touching doors, windows or any entry point that might be dusted for fingerprints. If you have a home security surveillance camera, check to see if it captured any suspicious activity.

Step 2: Call your home insurance company.

Once you have called the police, it’s time to notify your home insurance company. Even if you haven’t had the time to identify what, if any, property was stolen, you should make them aware that your home was broken into.

Step 3: Write a list of stolen items.

The next step is to start a list of items that were stolen. The more detailed your list, the greater the chance you’ll have of getting reimbursed fairly. List the item name, description, purchase date and value. If you have pictures or serial numbers, be sure to include them.

Most burglary victims find compiling a list of their stolen property to be the most tedious part of the claim process. Having an up-to-date home inventory of your valuables to refer to will speed up and simplify the task.

Step 4: Get reimbursed.

Once you’ve submitted your inventory of stolen items, you can expect to receive your check in one to two weeks. Remember that you have a deductible to meet, so you’re responsible for replacing items up to that figure.

If you have the financial resources to replace stolen items and repair break-in damage while you’re waiting for reimbursement, you should do so. This can help restore order and a sense of security to your home.

Step 5: Fortify your home against another attack.

The best way to evade a burglary insurance claim altogether is fortifying your home with a home security system. Not only will a monitored home security system make your home three times less likely to be burglarized, it may also save you up to 20 percent on your home insurance policy.

After a burglary, you’ll naturally want to focus on restoring your family’s sense of security as soon as possible, and your home insurance company should work with you hand in hand to do so. If you aren’t getting the service you deserve from your provider, give us a call, we may be able to get you back on the right track.

Happy and Safe Holiday Season!

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Beat The Heat: 10 Ways To Keep Your Home Cool

Beat the Heat

With summer heat in full swing, it’s tempting to crank the AC or plant yourself in front of the nearest fan. Below you’ll find tips to keep your house cooler when the thermometer creeps up, ways to make your AC use more efficient, as well as what you can do to keep your own person more comfortable.

Keep your cool, and…read on.

#1) Keep Your Blinds Closed

Making it in the shade! Keeping your blinds closed and curtains drawn can save you up to 10% on your electric bill and keep your house cooler by 20 degrees. Don’t let your AC do all the heavy lifting. Window films work similarly to blinds as do awnings. Planting trees or tall shrubs in front of light facing windows can also shield your home from the sun’s rays. You should also go with lighter colored blinds or curtains, as they will reflect the sun’s rays.

#2) Create A Sea Mist By Hacking A Fan

Not remotely close to the beach? No worries, this next trick has you covered. Create a faux sea breeze by placing a bowl of ice cubes or an ice pack, at an angle in front of a large fan. The air whips around the ice, providing an extra-chilled, misty breeze. Trust us, you be chillin’.

#3) Set Your Ceiling Fans To Rotate Counter-Clockwise

Yes, your ceiling fans need to be adjusted seasonally. When you adjust your clocks to spring forward, set your fans to rotate counter-clockwise.

#4) Be Smart About Your Doors

Closing off rooms and vents during the hottest part of the day will result in fewer but colder rooms. Your AC not having to push cool air through several vents, will also save energy.

#5) Heat Proof Your Bed

Heat Proof Your Bed

Placing a chilled down pillow also known as a “chillow” under your head while you sleep, will keep you cool as a cucumber. Use cotton sheets during summer months. Save those sexy satin sheets for cooler nights. Using a spray bottle to slightly dampen your sheets before bedtime is also a sure-fire way to keep you cool.

#6) Give Your Oven A Rest

BBQ

Your house already feels like an oven, are you really going to turn on a 400-degree stove? Give your oven a rest, instead fire up the BBQ. Grilling is a fun and healthy way to cook your meals, it’s also one of the best ways to keep your power bill down. If grilling is not an option, use a slow-cooker instead of the stove.

#7) Do Chores At Night

Do chores at night. Laundry machines throw off a lot of heat. The washer is running hot water, and driers are obviously using heated air which inevitably escapes and radiates out from the machine. Now, you can’t get away with not doing laundry (hopefully), but you can ensure it’s not heating your home during the hottest parts of the day. Do your laundry loads at night to keep things cooler. Also, regularly clean the dryer vent for a quicker cycle. You can also hang your clothes to dry.

Your dishwasher also puts out a lot of heat. Like with laundry, run it at night to minimize the heating effect. If you have a quiet model, start it before you go to bed and you’ll wake up with clean dishes!

#8) Let the Cool Air In

On cooler nights, turn off the AC and let the cooler night air in. Open windows and doors to create a natural air flow through your house. Not only will it give your AC a much needed break, but will also circulate fresh air into your rooms instead of only pushing re-cycled air.  Be sure to lock up before bedtime.

#9) Re-think Your Lighting

Incandescent bulbs waste about 90% of their energy just in the heat that they emit. By switching to an LED bulb, you’ll not only be doing the environment and your energy bill a favor, but you’ll also save yourself some added (and totally unnecessary) heat.

IF ALL ELSE FAILS…

#10) Cool Down With A Hot Drink

Ditch the ice cream for a cup of hot tea. Yes, drinking a warm beverage on a hot day, helps your body temperature stay down. Hot drinks lower your body heat storage by making you sweat more. Ice, on the other hand, causes your body temperature to rise. Sounds like a crazy idea, but a billion Indians can’t be wrong. They drink hot tea in hot weather.

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Traversing Insurance Settlement Checks with Your Mortgage Company: It’s No Easy Feat!

Insurance Settlement Success

If you have a mortgage on your home or business, and you experience major damage or even a total loss, your settlement claim payment checks from your insurance provider will be made payable jointly to BOTH you and your mortgage company. The reason for this is because your mortgage lender has a financial interest in the equity in your property. While this may not seem like a problem initially, dealing with a mortgage company through the insurance claim check processing, including cashing checks with multiple payees is anything but simple.

Insurance Claim Checks with Multiple Payees

When you and your spouse are both on the insurance policy and you have a mortgage on your home, your insurance provider will issue your building settlement claim check payable to you, your spouse, and your mortgage company. In worst case scenarios, they will also include the name of your restoration contractor too.

The key is whether the word “and” or “or” appears between each person’s name. In most cases, “and” means that everybody named on the check must sign, while “or” allows only one of the payees to sign. Checks made payable to multiple parties using “and” require a signature by EVERYONE listed on the payee line, including your mortgage company.

For a significant loss amount, typically over $10,000, your mortgage company will not simply endorse the check over to you. In fact, they will require you and your spouse to endorse the check over to them. And, they almost always hold the insurance claim payment funds in their own account, releasing funds in usually three or more draws based on work completed in stages. This is their way of making sure you use the funds to restore the property you used as collateral for your loan with them. If you cashed the insurance check and did not rebuild, then the mortgage company might no longer have the same amount of equity to insure your loan with them.

This means that before you can begin to rebuild your property, you must first traverse the complex process of dealing with your mortgage lender in order to get them to release your insurance proceeds. This is why early in the insurance claim process you should contact your mortgage company and find out their particular rules for negotiating an insurance claim check. Every mortgage company has their own set of rules!

What if my contractor will not agree to rebuild my home or business before getting paid? This is part of what makes dealing with insurance claims that involve a mortgage a complex and prolonged process. Many contractors are not able or willing to finance the repairs or rebuild, and require money for materials and their labor upfront. Most reputable contractors are not paid in full in advance of their work. Fortunately, many, especially new construction contractors are accustomed to being paid a deposit upfront, and then periodic draws as work is completed, with the remainder due upon all work completion.

While most mortgage companies understand this, their involvement in the process can slow the process down considerably by many months.  In addition to holding the funds, they will often send their own inspector to your property to make sure the work is being done. The mortgage company will also require their own forms and documents to be completed.

It should be noted that insurance companies are regulated by the state, and mortgage companies are federally regulated. They each have their own financial interests with their own set of rules and procedures that you now have to follow in order to get your property rebuilt and restored.

Useful Tips to Protect Your Interest

  • The loan documents you signed with your mortgage company include specific terms about the insurance claim process in the event of a loss occurrence. You will want to have a copy of these documents as well as your complete homeowner 30-page insurance policy on hand so you understand your rights.
  • In the event the insurance claim settlement funds exceed the amount of repairs, you will need to ask the mortgage company to release the remaining funds to YOU. They typically won’t do this on their own.
  • If the process for restoration takes years, you may be able to ask the mortgage company to pay you interest on the insurance proceeds they are holding. This is an uphill battle as often the mortgage company has excluded their requirement to pay you interest or earnings on the proceeds in their original loan documents with you. However, it is possible to prove your entitlement to the interest over theirs with a fight.
  • While bringing in yet another party to an already crowded situation is not appealing to some people; most people need some type of assistance traversing these complex processes since they have no experience in these matters. A licensed public adjuster can help you with make sense of all of the paperwork and requirements of the insurance provider as well as the mortgage company. The public adjuster is the ONLY party in a complex claims settlement process that will guide you through these complexities and represent YOU!

If you have a property damage insurance claim and want someone working for you, and only for you, call Florida-based Steven Venook at Advocate Claims Public Adjusters at 954-369-0573 or Contact Us.

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Pembroke Pines Water Damage Insurance Claim Now Water Under the Bridge

A Testimonial for Public Adjuster Insurance Settlement Resolution

Pipe Burst Insurance Claim Pembroke Pines

Water damage is the second leading cause of property damage insurance claims in South Florida resulting from plumbing failures. Plumbing and pipe failures account for a high percentage of all homeowner insurance claims.

Mr. William Wing and his wife of Pembroke Pines in Broward County, Florida are among thousands of South Floridians who have experienced water damage to their home this year.

In June 2016, the Wing’s home suffered extensive damage to their kitchen when a pipe in the interior wall under their kitchen sink ruptured and flooded their entire kitchen over the course of several hours before notice. The kitchen plumbing, interior wall and all of the lower cabinets suffered severe water damage. The Wings first called a water meditation contractor who spent less than an hour in their home, sucking out the standing water and drying the kitchen floor and cabinets with fans, before submitting a bill for $4,200 to the Wing’s insurance company.

Mr. Wing went to his local hardware store where he discovered he would not only need to replace the lower bloated and damaged cabinets but the upper cabinets as well in order to match them properly. In addition, he learned that when granite countertops are removed, 90% of the time they break and he would in all likelihood need to replace all of his cabinets as well as the granite countertops throughout the kitchen. Mr. Wing was given an estimate of $20,000 to completely restore his kitchen.

Mr. Wing initially handled his insurance claim with his insurance provider himself. He was given a small unsatisfactory settlement check for only $6,710.95 after a $2,500 deductible, an amount that only covered the remediation contractor’s bill with nothing left over for the work he needed done to restore his property.

Mr. Wing was referred to Steven David Venook of Advocate Claims Public Adjusters by a personal friend who had previously referred two other friends, all of whom were very satisfied with this public insurance adjuster’s service. Steven Venook, a licensed public adjuster in South Florida for nearly two decades, was able to step in and negotiate with the Wing’s insurance provider and substantiated the total property damage to the Wing’s kitchen leading to a total settlement of $20,513, more than doubling the insurance company’s original settlement amount.

Mr. Wing added, “Steven was very professional and thorough. He knew down to the paper clip what things cost, and was well versed in the entire insurance claim process. More importantly, it was obvious in the correspondence between Steven and my insurance company that they respected him and were responsive to him immediately, where they had basically just been blowing me off.”

As a result of bringing in Steven Venook, the Wings were able to replace their damaged cabinets, lowers and uppers, as well as countertops, repair their plumbing and interior wall, and restore their kitchen and home back to its original state.

“I would advise others who experience water damage or any damage to their home for that matter, to call Steven first. When he says he’s going to do something, he does. If he tells you he’ll call you tomorrow, he calls tomorrow. I was surprised at the ease and speed of the negotiations once Steven got involved with my insurance company,” Mr. Wing concluded. “It will save you time and money, and help you receive a fair settlement that covers all of your repairs.”

While the Wing’s water damage is now water under the bridge, statistics tell us a high percentage of homeowners will suffer the same loss occurrence in the future. With those odds, this is an important testimonial to share in advance of a burst pipe so you know who you can turn to for real help in an emergency.

If you experience water damage or another form of property damage and need representation in dealing with your insurance provider, call Florida-based Steven Venook at Advocate Claims Public Adjusters at 954-369-0573 or Contact Us.

A SPECIAL THANKS:

ACPA would like to extend a special thanks to Mr. William Wing and his wife for allowing us to share their story with you.

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Safety Tips to Protect Your Pets This Holiday Season

Safety Tips to Protect Your Pets This Holiday Season

From Advocate Claims Public Adjusters and Our Pooches!

As we move into the full swing of the 2017 Holiday Season, remember to protect your pets from holiday hazards. With Christmas trees and candles, turkey legs, chocolate and many family and friends coming and going, this time of year can be particularly dangerous for your dogs and cats.

Advocate Claims Public Adjusters is happy to bring you these five tips to keep your pets safe this year, and next!

#1 – Anchor Your Christmas Tree

Dogs and cats have been known to knock over a Christmas tree, or ten. Cats especially love to climb them, and dogs love to snuggle under them. If you have pets, be sure to securely anchor your Christmas tree to prevent it from falling over.

#2 – Use Your Fireplace Screen

While most dogs and cats are smart enough to avoid the fireplace, at least when it’s aflame, always use your screen to create a barrier between open flames and your loved ones.

#3 – Place Candles Away From Favorite Climbing Spots

Pets, especially climbing cats, can knock over burning candles. Be sure to place your candles away from your pets, and their favorite countertops they’re not supposed to be on!

#4 – Be Careful with your Holiday Eats

While your dogs may want chocolate, it can make them incredibly sick and even cause death. Be careful with candy bowl placement containing chocolates and be sure to remind your guests that your pooches can’t have any. Keep an eye on guests who insist on feeding your dogs scraps. Turkey bones and other holiday favorites can be deadly to our dogs.

#5 – Keep an Eye on Your Pets When Guests are Present

While spending time with family and friends is a holiday tradition for most, the change in routine can be wonderful or upsetting to our pets. Be sure to keep an eye on your pets when guest are in “their” home. Energized children and holiday stress can cause anxiety. While cats will often leave the room on their own, make a point to put your dogs out of harms way when there is elevated noise. This protects your guests and pets alike.

Keep your pets safe this holiday season!
Happy Holidays from Advocate Claims Public Adjusters!

Steven David Venook of Advocate Claims Public Adjusters provides policyholder representation to homeowners who experience property damage to their homes and businesses. If you experience a loss occurrence to your property this holiday season in Palm Beach County, Wellington, Boca Raton, Boynton Beach, Ft. Lauderdale, Miami or any surrounding areas, please call Steven Venook at Advocate Claims Public Adjusters at 954-369-0573 or email svenook@advocateclaims.com.

We’ll provide you with a free consultation and no fees if no recovery!

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Prevent Home Vandalism in Pembroke Pines this Halloween

Public Adjuster Tips to Protect Your Property.

vandalism-insurance-claims

Testimonial from a neighbor in Pembroke Pines

“Steven was very professional and thorough. He knew down to the paper clip what things cost, and was well versed in the entire insurance claim process. More importantly, it was obvious in the correspondence between Steven and my insurance company, that they respected him and were responsive to him immediately, where they had basically just been blowing me off.”

“I would advise others who experience water damage or any damage to their home for that matter, to call Steven first. When he says he’s going to do something, he does. If he tells you he’ll call you tomorrow, he calls tomorrow. I was surprised at the ease and speed of the negotiations once Steven got involved with my insurance company. It will save you time and money, and help you receive a fair settlement that covers all of your repairs.”

Remember This October 31st

The Pembroke Pines area is a wonderful family neighborhood with an estimated 159,922 residents who host an annual Pumpkin Patch, Halloween party, costume contest and some of the best trick-or-treating in South Florida this time each year. While the accolades are well-deserved, Pembroke Pines residents need to remain diligent to prevent vandalism-theft-fire occurrences as many people from outside the area come to visit.

Pembroke Pines residents experienced 3,618 property crimes in 2015. While the crime rate dropped for the area from the year prior, Halloween often brings as many tricks as treats in property vandalism and theft. Vandalism occurrences range from egging, toilet papering, mailbox smashing, and window breaking, to graffiti, serious property damage, theft and burglaries.

South Florida-based Advocate Claims Public Adjusters is suggesting the following five tips to keep you and your property safe this Halloween, before, during and after the festivities.

1. Lock Up

With hundreds of costumed characters visiting your neighborhood, be sure your home’s windows and doors are locked up tight. This is the number one deterrent to burglars. They often brag about entry through unlocked doors and windows. If you have a security alarm, use it!

2. Lights On

Most crimes are committed under the guise of darkness. Whether you participate in the festivities or not, make sure your home and property is well-lit, inside and out!

3. To the Curb

Many residents now hand out candy from the end of their driveways. This is the perfect way to participate without incurring liabilities from heavy traffic on your property. If you do hand out candy from your front door, make sure there is a clear path to prevent slip and falls.

4. Confine Your Pets

Keep your pets inside and away from visitors to protect you, your pets and your guests. Crazy costumes and kids with sugar-highs can energize some dogs and make them edgy. Remove them from the equation to ensure their safety. An inside dog also increases your home’s security, regardless of his or her size.

5. Avoid Open Flames

While Jack-O-Lanterns, candles and luminaries go hand in hand with Halloween, they also create a liability. Use light sticks and batteries whenever possible. Check your fire extinguisher and home smoke alarm to make sure they are working properly. If you’re using open flames, make sure they are safely out of trick-or-treat traffic. Take caution to properly extinguish all flames safely before turning in to prevent fire hazards to your property.

Most homeowner insurance policy should cover acts of vandalism, losses from theft and burglaries as well as fire damage. If you want to be sure, reach out for a free policy review and consultation.

In the event you experience vandalism, theft or fire to your property this Halloween, call Steven Venook at Advocate Claims Public Adjusters at 954-369-0573.

“I’ll provide you with a free consultation and help you determine whether or not filing an insurance claim is in your best interest, and help you manage your insurance claim to properly restore your property.” – Steven David Venook

Serving Pembroke Pines and Broward County

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Hurricane Matthew: Water Damage vs. Flood Damage

Hurricane Matthew: Flood Damage vs Water Damage

As Hurricane Matthew made his way up the coast, he brought heavy rain’s and storm surge to the Daytona Beach, Saint Augustine and Jacksonville areas of Florida.

When powerful winds knock down a tree that tears a hole in your roof, and water pours into your home, you have suffered water damage. When heavy rains cause flooding in the streets that seeps into your property and your neighbor’s property, you have suffered flood damage. While these two types of insurance claims both involve water, they are covered under different provisions in your policy and even handled by different agencies.

Florida policyholders need to be aware of the difference between water damage and flood damage in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew.  

Water Damage Defined

A high percentage of policyholders face water damage to their home or business, typically caused by ruptured or burst pipes. Other common causes for water damage include overflowing bathtubs, broken toilets, water main breaks, faulty washing machine or dishwater hoses.

Water damage occurrences like these are covered under your homeowner or commercial insurance policy and are handled direct with your insurance carrier.

Flood Damage Defined

Flood damage occurrences are covered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, known as FEMA. Flood damage is defined by FEMA as a general or temporary condition of partial or complete inundation of two or more acres and two or more properties of normally dry land.

Flood damage is caused by the following conditions:

  • Overflow of inland or tidal waters
  • Unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters from any source
  • Collapse of land along the shore of a lake or similar body of water as a result of erosion or undermining caused by waves or currents of water exceeding anticipated cyclical levels that result in a flood as defined above

Flood insurance must be obtained through the National Flood Insurance Program. In the event of flood damage, an insurance claim will have to be filed with FEMA, not your homeowner or commercial insurance carrier. And, in the event of severe damage from hurricane winds and flooding, you will have to file two separate insurance claims, one with your homeowner or commercial insurance carrier, and the other with FEMA!

Seek Peace of Mind from a Public Adjuster and Stay Dry!

The insurance claims process is painstaking at best. In the aftermath of a hurricane like Matthew, the process is even more stressful and drawn out as insurance companies are inundated with claims, and their resources are spread thin.

If this storm has impacted you, and you have experienced any kind of damage to your home or property from water or flooding, you may want to call Advocate Claims Public Adjusters to help you traverse the complex insurance claims process with your insurance carrier.

Steven Venook of Advocate Claims Public Adjusters has depth of experience in water and flood damage as well as hurricane damage. As a public adjuster and advocate for the policyholder, Venook has the patience and attention to detail it takes to get you a fair settlement to restore your home or property, no matter how long it takes. As a resident of South Florida, Venook has also faired his share of hurricanes and can provide you the support you need to help you piece your life back together.

Before or after a disaster, water or flood damage, if Hurricane Matthews impacts your home or business, contact Florida-based Public Adjuster, Steven Venook at Advocate Claims Public Adjusters, at 954-369-0573 or Jacksonville 904-853-7784.

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Hurricane Matthew Preparations for Commercial Property Owners and Managers

Hurricane Matthew

Our businesses and commercial properties are the very core of our economic stability and community. With Hurricane Matthew, a serious Category 4 hurricane, heading toward Florida’s coast, property owners and managers of commercial properties not only have to keep themselves and their own homes protected, but they have to take on the stress of protecting and potentially restoring their businesses.

The following steps are some of the most important for securing commercial properties:

CRE Disaster Recovery Planning

  1. Review your policy with your insurance provider so you are clear on what will or will not be covered. Look specifically for language regarding water damage and flood damage. These two occurrences are handled very differently under two separate insurance policies – water damage is handled by your insurance provider, and flooding is handled by FEMA!
  2. Develop a written disaster recovery plan with procedures for protecting your business – the physical property, the business contents, as well as your intellectual property.
  3. Establish communication plans for your employees and/or tenants. Employees will need to know how they’re getting paid, and when it is safe to return to work. Tenants will need to have a clear communication protocol in place to help you report and track damage to the property.
  4. Take photographs of your property ahead of the storm, and from top to bottom. In the event you have to file a claim for damage, this will help you substantiate your loss with comparisons.
  5. Gather your insurance policy and financial records together, along with the before and after photographs. All of these items will be important for you to have in your possession to support your claim.

Hurricane Matthew Commercial Insurance Claims

Many commercial real estate owners and their property managers often don’t have the time it takes to deal with a substantial commercial insurance claim, especially one as devastating as a hurricane can be. A public adjuster can save you the time and frustration by representing you in your insurance claim with your insurance carrier.

Public adjusters are licensed insurance industry professionals that understand the claims process. They are typically paid a small percentage of the settlement on the backend, so hiring one to represent you during a loss requires no upfront investment and usually pays for itself many times over. By hiring a public adjuster to represent your and your client’s interests, you can save time and money. Property managers can stay focused on managing the property itself while the public adjuster stays focused on managing the claim.

If you are a commercial real estate owner or property manager in Florida, and you experience property damage as a result of Hurricane Matthew, call Steven David Venook of Advocate Claims Public Adjusters. Venook has extensive experience dealing with hurricane damage to commercial properties in Broward, Miami and Palm Beach counties over the past 20 years.

DOWNLOAD THE HURRICANE MATTHEW CHECKLIST PDF

If you don’t have the time to pursue a fair settlement to restore your commercial property damage from Hurricane Matthew, contact Steven Venook at Advocate Claims Public Adjusters at 954-369-0573.

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Hurricane Matthew Storms Toward Florida Public Adjuster Help for South Floridians

Hurricane Matthew

Image: NOAA

Hurricane Matthew, now a Category 4 hurricane, made landfall in Haiti, grew stronger and is predicted to hit Florida later this week. Florida and other Eastern coastal states are preparing for the impact of this dangerous storm and the property damage and loss heavy rains and winds of 140 mph can potentially cause to homes and properties throughout.

The biggest concern every policyholder is facing right now is whether or not their insurance provider will fulfill their promise of coverage if they experience damage from Hurricane Matthew. While you paid your premiums on time, every month, for every year, it is still highly probable that you will end up in a drawn out battle with your insurance carrier to get a fair settlement to cover your property damage.    

During a major hurricane, insurance companies are inundated with claims for property damage. Their resources will be spread thin and the claims process will be even longer than usual due to high volumes.

You can level the playing field by hiring a licensed and reputable public adjuster to stand by your side and help you through the insurance claims process.

Public Adjuster Defined

  • A public adjuster serves as the advocate for the policyholder – before, during and after a time of loss – unlike other adjusters who works directly for the insurance carrier and their interests.
  • Public adjusters obtain a license by the Florida Department of Insurance proving they have the authority to represent the policyholder’s interest. And, they are required to participate in 24 hours of continuing education every two years to maintain that license.
  • Public adjusters carry a $50,000 surety bond

Public Adjuster’s Role 

The public adjuster’s role is to:

  • Inspect and value the property damage
  • Read and interpret the 30-page policy to determine actual coverages
  • Advise the policyholder on their best course of action
  • Document and build the insurance claim
  • Submit and manage the claim with the insurance company; and
  • Obtain a fair financial settlement for the policyholder

South Florida’s Public Adjuster 

Steven David Venook of Advocate Claims Public Adjusters has been serving policyholders of Broward, Miami and Palm Beach counties for nearly two decades. Venook has depth of experience dealing with hurricane damage to homes and commercial properties. He’s worked with many snow birds to restore their winter homes, as well as local homeowners, property owners, property managers, commercial property investors and more.

If you want a good settlement from hurricane loss, it takes patience. Don’t take on the insurance carrier on your own. If you experience property damage from Hurricane Matthew, contact Steven Venook at Advocate Claims Public Adjusters at 954-369-0573. Make sure you have a licensed public adjuster with the industry knowledge and expertise in your corner!

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