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Is Your Hurricane Sally Claim Still Unsettled? Your Hurricane Deductible May be a Factor

If you have windstorm/hurricane coverage on your homeowners policy, you may also have a separate hurricane deductible. With Florida laws being very precise as to when the hurricane deductible applies, the provisions within your specific policy may be impacting your claim.

The Florida Department of Financial Services (DFS) provides the following information on hurricane deductibles.

What are the Hurricane Deductible options?

All insurance companies must offer Hurricane Deductible options of $500, 2 percent, 5 percent, or 10 percent of the policy dwelling or structure limits, unless the specific percentage deductible is less than $500. The Hurricane Deductible must be listed as a dollar amount, even if the deductible is listed as a percentage amount.

There are a few exceptions to the Hurricane Deductible amounts that must be offered. The exceptions are:

1) Dwellings insured for at least $100,000 through $249,999: an insurance company may offer a policy that guarantees that the company will not non-renew the policy in order to reduce the hurricane exposure for one 12-month renewal period. However, the policy may include up to a 2 percent Hurricane Deductible.

2) Dwellings with insured limits of $250,000 or more: The insurance company does not have to offer the option of a $500 Hurricane Deductible.

3) Any Dwelling with insured limits of less than $500,000: The policy may not have a Hurricane Deductible in excess of 10 percent unless:

a) The policyholder personally writes and provides to the insurance company the following statement in his or her own hand writing, signs their name, and is signed by all other named policyholders on the policy and dated: “I do not want the insurance on my home to pay for the first (specify dollar value) of damage from hurricanes. I will pay those costs. My insurance will not.” (Per Section 627.712(2)(a)1, Florida Statutes)

b) If the insured structure has a mortgage or lien, the policyholder must provide the insurance company with a written statement from the mortgagee indicating the mortgagee approves the policyholder electing to have the specified deductible.

This is allowed by, and subject to, regulations outlined in s. 627.701(d)1(a) and (b), Florida Statutes.

When does the Hurricane Deductible apply?

According to s. 627.4025, Florida Statutes, the Hurricane Deductible applies only in the event of a named hurricane. The duration of a hurricane in which the Hurricane Deductible would apply includes the time period:

1) Beginning at the time a hurricane watch or warning is issued for any part of Florida by the National Hurricane Center. Remember, it must be a “hurricane” declared by the National Hurricane Center; and

2) Ending 72 hours following the termination of the last hurricane watch or hurricane warning issued for any part of Florida by the National Hurricane Center.

How is the Hurricane Deductible applied to my policy?

The single season Hurricane Deductible applies to personal lines residential property policies. The provision states that after the first Hurricane Deductible has been applied, the deductible for the second hurricane (during the same year) will be the greater of the amount left over from the first Hurricane Deductible, if the deductible had not been met or the “all peril” deductible. If the Hurricane Deductible was met in full with the first hurricane claim, the “all peril” deductible would apply to other hurricane claims that occur the same year.

Commercial residential policies, for example, condo association policies, must provide either a Hurricane Deductible as described above or one with a separate Hurricane Deductible for each hurricane.

The Single Season Hurricane Deductible is not required under policies issued in the Surplus Lines Market.

What exactly is the definition of hurricane coverage? HL Law Group can answer this question and others you may have about your homeowners policy and its deductibles. We focus our practice on property damage claims, and we can help you gain a clear understanding of your particular homeowners policy and how your hurricane deductible affects your claim settlement.

The HL Law group consists of 10 skilled attorneys and 40 proficient staff members who handle first-party property insurance claim litigation caused by weather events, such as hurricanes. Plus, we represent the insured only – not the insurance company.

Contact HL Law Group by calling (855) 713-1212 or by emailing us at info@hllawgroup.com for more information on how we may be able to help you with your claim.

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If you have already retained a lawyer for this matter, please disregard this letter. DID YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY DENY OR UNDERPAY YOUR PROPERTY DAMAGE CLAIM? DID YOU SUFFER WATER, WIND OR OTHER PROPERT