What Florida Homeowners Should Know about Filing Lightning Damage Claims

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

Since there are many types of disasters that can damage your Florida home, such as hurricanes and fires, the threat of lightning might not be a peril about which you are particularly concerned.  This might not even be an issue people think about when they purchase a homeowners insurance policy.  The fact is that lightning can be the direct cause of substantial loss and can contribute to additional types of loss.   

For example, fire or electrical damage can be a secondary result of lightning striking to your home.  When lightning strikes your residence, the temperature generated can rise to as high as 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit.  This level of extreme heat creates a high risk of fire.  Further, electrical surges can cause permanent damage to electrical appliances in your home.

Most Florida homeowners policies cover lightning damage including fire and electrical damage. After a lightning strike, your home should be investigated to determine whether it is safe for you to re-enter your home.  When it has been determined that it is safe for you to re-enter your home, you might want to bring an expert who can examine and test your electrical switches, outlets and appliances.  If you bring an electrical expert with you, he or she will know what to look for so that any damage can be accurately identified.

If you have evaluated your loss and determined a reliable estimate of your Miami property damage, you can submit a claim with your insurance company that specifies the inventory and value of your losses.  Once you have taken these steps, you will be in a better position to deal with the insurance adjuster.  The expert who you retain to inspect your property should be asked to provide an estimate of the costs of repair or replacement.  This information can be used to scrutinize the estimate provided by the insurance adjuster.

When you obtain independent estimates and you document all communications with the insurance company, you will be in the best position to fight a denial of your claim.  Even if your policy, like most Florida homeowners policies covers lightning, insurance companies often look for exclusions, conditions or provisions that might justify underpaying or refusing to pay a claim.

Many insurance companies violate their duty of good faith and fair dealing when refusing to pay a claim or unreasonably delaying payment of a claim.  Sometimes you can resolve these issues by talking to supervisors.  If escalating your complaint within the company does not yield results, you can contact the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation.  A complaint with state regulators can sometimes motivate insurers to resolve a claim. 

When these measures are unsuccessful, you might want to contact an insurance claims attorney.  Because my office has represented thousands of homeowners, we can help you negotiate with your insurance company.  We can also guide you through alternate dispute resolution options or the filing of lawsuit for breach of contract and/or insurance bad faith.

If you have questions about homeowners insurance claims in the Miami-Dade area, you are welcome to contact my Miami insurance claims law firm.  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.

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