Frequently Asked Questions and Answers
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Can I get a free consultation with J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo, P.A. to discuss my insurance claim?
Yes. J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo, P.A. offers free consultations to discuss your insurance claim in more detail. Please have all documents related to your claim available for the consultation.
What is a Hurricane?
A hurricane is a low pressure system that forms in the tropics and is accompanied by wind, water and thunderstorms. A hurricane is formed when a tropical weather system develops into an intense thunderstorm with winds of 74 mph or higher.
What is a hurricane watch?
A hurricane watch is issued to alert you of the threat of hurricane conditions within 36 hours.
What is a hurricane warning?
A hurricane warning is issued to alert you that sustained winds of at least 74 mph hour are to be expected within 24 hour or less.
What should I do in the event a hurricane watch or warning is issued for my vicinity?
Please visit the National Hurricane Center or click here to learn how to prepare and plan for a hurricane. You may also browse through the Hurricane Insurance Claims Library Section of this website to learn.
What are some tips for preparing for a Florida hurricane?
Please click here for an informative article for preparing for a Florida hurricane.
What should I do after a hurricane damages my home, business, or property?
In the event a hurricane or windstorm damages your home, business or property you should:
Mitigate - Use your best efforts to make temporary repairs so that the condition doesn't get worse. This will prevent the insurance company from later claiming that your hurricane damages are the result of your failure to mitigate your damages. For example, if you have a roof leak, hire a roofer to put a tarp over the leak area. Try not to pay the repairman in cash for the temporary repairs and if you do have to pay in cash, get a receipt and his name and contact information. Submit the temporary repair receipts to your insurance company for payment.
Document - Take pictures of all affected areas. Take video, if you can, of all affected areas. Hold on to any receipts and estimates for repairs. Get the contact information for any contractors that come to your property to give you estimates. Do not throw out any correspondence or documents that are sent to you by your insurance company. If you are mailing anything to your insurance company do it by certified mail, return receipt requested, and make copies of whatever you are sending for your records. Keep a journal of all your communications with your insurance company. If you become aware of any witnesses that have knowledge of any aspect of your claim, record their name and contact information. Don't throw out any of the hurricane damaged items in your house.
Notify - Put your insurance company on notice of the hurricane insurance claim. Call your insurance company and let them know what happened. Get the name of the insurance company adjuster assigned to your claim, his or her contact information, and the claim number.
Call Us - Let us use our experience to help you. Even if your hurricane insurance claim has been closed or even if you unknowingly accepted the small check they gave you, you may still be able to pursue your claim - you may be able to reopen an unfair claim years after the hurricane loss.
How much will it cost to retain the services of insurance lawyer J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo to help with the denial of health insurance benefits?
We understand that many of our clients do not have the resources or means to pay lawyer fees out of pocket. This is why we offer a free consultation. In the great majority of cases, if we decide to go forward with your health insurance case, we will work on a contingency fee basis. This means that if there is no recovery on your claim, you do not pay fees for our services or costs advanced by our office. Furthermore, under certain circumstances your insurance company will become responsible for paying your attorney's fees and costs. Since not all health insurance claims are alike, please contact our office to discuss your case in more detail.
If I retain your services, how long will it take to resolve my insurance claim?
It will depend at which stage of the insurance claims process you retain our office. If you retain our services for the initial claims presentation stage and the insurer honors the claim from the beginning, then your claim should be resolved fairly quickly. If you retain our services after your insurance claim has been filed but the insurance company is delaying your claim or your claim has been underpaid or denied, then a lawsuit may be necessary. At times, after an insurance company receives our lawsuit, they will offer to engage in settlement discussions in order to avoid litigation. However, your insurance company may elect to litigate the case. Although we will do our best to prosecute your claim expeditiously, it is impossible to predict the life span of the litigation as all claims are unique. We may be able to provide you with a better timeline once we know the facts of you claim. Call us for a free consulation.
My insurance contract is lost or incomplete, can you help file my insurance claim?
Absolutely. If you can't locate all or parts of your insurance policy and have an insurance claim, please contact our office for a free consultation and evaluation. Once we are retained, we will obtain a complete and certified copy of your insurance policy directly from the insurance company.
Can insurance claims attorney J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo help me with a denied or underpaid insurance claim that dates back many years?
Possibly. But we will need more details. We have been successful in prosecuting claims that stem from losses occurring many years prior to our representation. Call us for a free free consultation.
I handled my own insurance claim and cashed the insurance companys check. I have now started repairs and realize that the monies that I received from the insurance company are not enough to complete all the necessary repairs. Can Miami insurance claims attorney J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo still help me?
Depending on the facts of the claim we often can help. After we evaluate your claim and determine that your insurance claim was underpaid, we may be able to re-open your insurance claim. For a free consultation and case evaluation, please contact our office to discuss your situation in more detail.
A covered insurance loss just occurred, what should I do?
It depends on the type of insurance claim that you are experiencing. You can contact our office for a free consultation at (305) 461-1095. As for our fees and expenses, we understand that many of our clients do not have the resources or means to pay lawyer fees out of pocket. This is why we offer a free consultation. In the great majority of cases, if we decide to go forward with your case, we will work on a contingency fee basis. This means that if there is no recovery on your claim, you do not pay fees for our services or costs advanced by our office. Furthermore, under certain circumstances your insurance company will become responsible for paying your attorney's fees and costs. Since not all insurance claim cases are alike, please contact our office to discuss your case in more detail.
What is a "Flood?"
A general and temporary condition of partial or complete inundation of normally dry land areas from:
- Rising water or storm surge, whether driven by wind or not.
- The overflow of inland or tidal waters.
- The unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters from any source.
- Mudslides (i.e., mudflows) which are proximately caused by flooding.
- The collapse or subsidence of land along the shore of a lake or other body of water as a result of erosion or undermining caused by waves or currents of water exceeding the cyclical levels which result in flooding.
If I remove the furniture from my house and store it in a warehouse to keep it from being damaged in a flood, am I covered for that expense?
Yes, subject to limitations, your property is usually covered for 45 days if you remove it to protect it from flood damage. However, a complete review of your flood policy is necessary to fully determine coverage in your claim.
What types of losses are not covered by flood insurance?
- Additional Living Expense coverage is not included as part of flood insurance.
- Sewer backup or seepage of water is not covered unless the property is, at the same time, damaged by flood.
- Water or moisture damage resulting from a condition primarily confined to the insured building.
- Losses caused by the insured's failure to use reasonable means to preserve property after a flood.
- A loss already in progress at the time a policy goes into effect.
- A loss caused by off premises power failure.
However, a complete review of your flood policy is necessary to fully determine coverage in your claim.
What types of property are not covered by flood insurance?
- Accounts, bills, deeds, evidences of debt, money, coins, postage stamps, manuscripts, etc.
- Fences, piers, seawalls, outdoor swimming pools, bulkheads, wharves, bridges, docks, boat houses on or over water.
- Land values, lawns, trees, shrubs, plants, growing crops, livestock, animals, birds, fish.
- Walks, driveways, and paved surfaces outside building foundation walls.
- Motor vehicles (with exceptions), aircraft, watercraft.
However, a complete review of your flood policy is necessary to fully determine coverage in your claim.
What is a sinkhole?
Florida leads the nation in sinkhole activity. Florida law defines a sinkhole as "land form created by subsidence of soil, sediment, or rock as underlying strata are dissolved by groundwater. A sinkhole may form by collapse into subterranean voids created by dissolution (the dissolving) of limestone or dolostone or by the subsidence as these strata are dissolved."
Is sinkhole damage covered by my insurance policy?
Only by reading your insurance policy can we determine whether sinkhole damage is covered by your policy, but a recent change in Florida law requires all authorized insurance companies doing business in Florida to cover for "catastrophic ground cover collapse," but damage caused by a sinkhole may not be covered by your policy. Florida law defines catastrophic ground cover collapse differently from sinkholes.
Under Florida law "catastrophic ground cover collapse" is defined as geological activity that results in all of the following:
1) The abrupt collapse of the ground cover
2) A depression in the ground cover clearly visible to the naked eye
3) Structural damage to the building including the foundation; and
4) The insured structure being condemned and ordered to be vacated by the government agency authorized by law to issue such an order for that structure.
This means that if your home is damaged by sinkhole activity, but does not meet all four criteria for catastrophic ground cover collapse, for instance, you may have foundation cracks, but the home is still livable, your insurance company may not pay for the damages sustained if you do not have sinkhole coverage.
All insurance companies licensed to do business in Florida must offer sinkhole coverage, usually as an addendum or rider to an existing policy, and for an additional premium charge.
If you feel you have sustained sinkhole damage, contact our office for a free consultation with insurance claims attorney J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo.
What are some sinkhole activity signs I should look for?
Below are just a few tell-tale sinkhole activity signs you should be on the look out for:
Foundation cracks that are forming in a zig-zag fashion
Separation of walls from foundation or ceiling
Separation of house structure from foundation
Sudden or slow creation of uneven floors and cracks
Sinking or shifting of a portion of your home
Doors and windows that all of a sudden do not close appropriately
Crack on the walls and ceiling
Fence or mailbox posts that are sinking
Shifting of your entire property
Outdoor pavements that are starting to crack
Observation of holes in your yard that did not exist before
Bursting of pipes and swimming pool leaks