It's not surprising that our outdoor activities will start to change as we enter the hot, humid months of spring and summer along the Central Florida Gulf Coast. What may come as a surprise, though, is the number of property and casualty insurance claims that also go up in relation to the rising temperatures.
In the aftermath of any type of large and dangerous weather event, there can be a wide and unpredictable range of destruction left behind that many home or property owners may never have experienced before and aren't quite sure how to deal with. When this occurs, how do you sort out who, if anyone, is liable for the damage that occurred?
It's a tale as old as time: Jane Doe's car collides with John DoRight's truck because she wasn't paying attention. John's truck is severely damaged and he's also injured. He wants to file a claim with Jane's insurance company, but she's worried about what this will do to her rates and her coverage. She already has a few accidents on her record and this one could cause her insurer to drop her. Hoping to avoid this possibility, she tries to negotiate payment for damages without involving the insurance company.
Not all car accidents are violent rollover crashes that result in fatalities. In most cases, car accidents are minor accidents, frequently referred to as fender benders, that typically result in non life-threatening injuries. In fact, one of the most common injuries associated with minor rear-end collisions is whiplash.
If you're dreading the next few months of hurricane season, you're not alone. Hurricane Matthew last year was a wake-up call for a lot of Floridians. For years we went without a powerful hurricane in our state, which lulled a lot of home owners into a false sense of security. Some home owners neglected their insurance policies as a result, which had ruinous financial consequences for some after the storm passed.
For years, Florida residents enjoyed summer after summer of hurricane-free weather. That was until Hurricane Matthew broke the cycle in 2016. While many thought they were covered, some discovered far too late that their coverage wasn't enough.
The significant drought that has lasted into spring throughout Hillsborough County has greatly increased the risk of wildfires. At one point in April, Florida had over 100 wildfires active at one time. While so far wildfires have been contained, homeowners throughout Florida have reason to be concerned.
If you sustain property damage in West Central Florida as a result of windstorm damage along with other causes (such as flooding and fire), and your insurance policy does not cover damage related to all of those causes, will your insurance policy have to provide coverage to repair your home? For instance, let us imagine that a strong thunderstorm strikes in West Central Florida. The storm has very strong winds, but it also produces heavy rains and lightning. A bolt of lightning strikes near your home, and during the storm, your house sustains serious damage as a result of fire from the lightning, flooding from the heavy rains, and wind damage from the strong winds. It is difficult (if not all but impossible) to determine which of these elements caused which particular damage to the structure.
Since its establishment in 1972, most drivers in Florida have been able to turn to their personal injury protection (PIP) coverage to collect up to $10,000 (on a typical policy) to cover medical costs and lost wages caused by a crash. That was until 2012 when the law was reformed by House Bill 119 (HB 119) in an attempt to cut down on fraud.
Even though Hurricane Matthew has been downgrade to a category 3 hurricane, the storm is still expected to cause considerable damage all along Florida's east coast. With winds expected to reach 120 mph and a storm surge that has already caused flooding in northeast Florida, says one Weather Channel article, it's already starting to look bad for home and business owners in our state.