After a hurricane sweeps through it leaves behind a considerable amount of damage in its wake. Some of the most common occurrences include: downed power lines, flooding, damaged roofs, fallen trees and debris. Your property may have been riddled with debris, most of which was probably dragged onto your property by heavy storm winds or flooding. Some of this debris may be so large that you cannot remove it yourself and you will have to hire a contractor to clean up the mess. This can become expensive.

Will your insurance policy cover the cost of debris removal?

In an effort to speed up the recovery process, many local governments implement plans to facilitate the removal of debris after a storm. Many counties allow their residents to move the debris from their property onto public rights of way for pick up and removal. Although many local governments may be offering free debris pickup, it is still incumbent on the property owner to remove the debris from their property.

Assuming you have debris removal coverage, you’re still going to have to decide whether it is worth it to get your insurer involved. If it is something small that you can easily manage, the cost of removal may fall under your deductible. On the other hand, if the debris is substantial or very large, such as a fallen tree or a heavy piece of machinery, you may want to consider getting your insurer involved to cover some of your expenses.

Many policies will only cover debris removal if the debris caused damage to a structure. For example, if a tree fell and struck your home, then your policy may require your insurer to repair the damaged property as well as remove the debris that damaged the property. However, if debris fell on your property but didn’t impact or damage any structure, your insurance may not cover the cost of removal for that particular item of debris because there was no damage to the home.

Similarly, if your neighbor’s tree fell and damaged a structure on your property (such as a shed or a fence) then your insurance company may be required to cover the costs of debris removal up to the limit on your policy, because of the physical damage to your property. Additionally, most policies contain some language that limit the amount of cleanup costs to no more than 25 percent of the total claim. So, if your total claim is for $10,000, only $2,500 can be used toward actual removal expenses.

Read your homeowner's insurance policy to understand what coverage you have available.

If debris damages your car or other vehicle you will need to look to your auto insurance policy to determine your coverage. If you have comprehensive automobile insurance, your insurer should cover the cost of the damage to your vehicle.  However, the cost of the debris removal will likely need to be borne by the insured.

If your home flooded and those flood waters brought various items onto your property, flood insurance will cover the damage to your property caused by the actual floodwaters, but it will not cover the cost to remove the debris brought by the floodwaters. So if your home floods and you find yourself with sand, dirt, rubble, or garbage left behind, it will be up to you to clean it or foot the bill to have another do so.

You can reach Miami Insurance Claims Lawyer J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo by dialing his direct number at (786) 272-5841, calling the main office at (305) 461-1095, or Toll Free at 1 (866) 71-CLAIM or email Attorney J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo directly at [email protected].


J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo
J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo, P.A.
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