Many homeowners’ insurance policyholders who work directly with an insurance adjuster assume that they are being treated fairly because they fail to consider types of damages that might not be immediately apparent. While these types of damages might not present an immediate issue, the long-term consequences of neglecting these often overlooked forms of damages can be devastating and costly. Because I was an insurance adjuster prior to becoming an insurance claims attorney, I understand where to look to uncover such damage and how to approach getting such damage covered by your insurance carrier. This blog post provides some examples of types of damages to a home that might be overlooked if you do not have the benefit of advice from an insurance claims attorney.
Any time water is allowed to stand for any period of time because of a burst water heater or hurricane, there is a high probability of missed damage if you do not have an insurance professional watching out for your interests. This does not include the adjuster for the insurance company who knows that the insurer pays his checks. A water stain on the ceiling, for example, might indicate moisture behind the drywall that can develop into serious mold, spore and mildew issues. If the issue is not remedied, the central air conditioning system can cause the spores to infiltrate the duct system.
A burst pipe or hot water heater explosion also may cause hidden problems. The insurance company may paint the baseboards when repairing water damage. If the peril caused release of enough water to stain the baseboards, the probability is extremely high that water also penetrated the areas behind the wall. If the insurance company simply authorizes painting the baseboards, this might do little more than mask significant environmental hazards in the cavity behind the wall. If the problem is serious enough that spraying chemicals through an opening in the wall is not sufficient to eradicate the problem, the sheetrock needs to be removed along the lower portion of the walls to implement more extensive corrective measures. When the sheetrock is replaced the texturing of the entire wall should be sanded down and replaced to avoid an obvious seam where the wall was patched.
Water damaged carpet presented a serious issue in terms of overlooked damages until recent times. Insurers used to simply steam clean or shampoo the carpet rather than temporarily remove the carpet, so the pad could be replaced. Typically, insurers will now lift the carpet, so it can be chemically cleaned and a new pad installed. While this issue is no longer a common problem, it is relevant because it demonstrates how proper identification and characterization of a problem can get insurance companies to remedy issues (mold, spore and mildew damage) that they generally ignore.
If you have suffered a loss caused by water damage or another peril, your insurance company has a financial interest in minimizing any payout. My law firm represents policyholders in claims disputes in Miami and throughout Florida. The Law Firm of J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo, P.A. offers free consultations and case evaluations. No Recovery, No Lawyer Fees. Call 305-461-1095 or Toll Free 1-866-71-CLAIM.