Florida Lightning Damage Claims
According to the National Weather Service, Florida has been coined the “lightning capital of the United States.” In fact, Florida ranks the highest for lightning fatalities in the country.
Florida’s location creates the perfect recipe for thunderstorms to form. The combination of humidity, heat, and sea breezes, coupled with the peninsula being surrounded by water, create the ideal environment for severe weather disturbances.
With such turbulence in Florida’s weather patterns, it is no wonder that lightning damage claims are prevalent. If your home has been victim to lightning damage, you need an attorney who can recover the compensation you deserve. Contact the Law Offices of Tragos, Sartes & Tragos today to receive your free consultation.
Types of Damage Lightning Can Cause
When lightning strikes a building, it can cause significant damage. Lightning strikes can result in electrical surges - destroying electronics, appliances, air conditioning systems, and other personal belongings. When lightning hits wiring within the walls, it can cause a current surge in the circuitry, often resulting in a fire.
Besides damaging the wiring in your home, a lightning strike can also wreak havoc on your plumbing system, causing minor leaks and even leading to significant water damage.
Even if lightning only strikes the ground, this can still cause electrical problems in your home. Lightning shock waves can cause damage to a home’s foundation, resulting in hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage. In fact, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reported that, on average, there was $451 million of direct property damage caused by lightning each year.
Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Lightning Strikes?
A lightning strike is a standard “peril” that is covered in most homeowners insurance policies with no exclusions. In Florida, there are two broad types of insurance policies: “named peril plan” and “open peril” policies. Homeowners in Florida typically have a “named peril” policy, which would cover damages or losses that are specifically named in the policy. On the other hand, an “open peril” policy would automatically cover any risk unless the contract specifically omits it.
While most homeowners insurance policies do cover damage caused by lightning strikes, including fires that may occur, there are additional protections that may not be covered. It is always wise to consult your insurance policy to know what is covered.
Property Insurance Claims
The following steps should be taken in filing a lightning damage claim:
- Take photographs and note damage to structures and property
- Create a list of all items and property damaged
- Note the date and time you called your local fire department
- Contact a licensed electrician and/or plumber to document that the damage was caused by a lightning strike
- Contact your Florida lightning damage claim attorney
Often a lightning damage insurance claim may be denied by an insurance company. The insurance company will request further information from the homeowner to prove that the damage was caused by a lightning strike. It is helpful to take pictures of any holes in asphalt or on the side of a building, which are characteristic of a lightning strike. Your insurance company will then look to confirm that there was lightning in your area during the date and time provided in your claim.
Time Frame to Make a Lightning Damage Claim
The state of Florida allows you to file a claim for damage that occurred to your home or property up to four years from the date of the occurrence (Fla. Stat. § 95.11). Keep in mind that this differs from a property claim for hurricane or wind damage, which has a time limit of three years.
All that being said, most insurance policies require that you submit a claim within 60 days from the date of the incident. Once your claim is submitted, the insurance company will investigate. In most circumstances, an insurance company will respond to your claim within 90 days. If your claim is accepted, they will offer you a settlement for repairs or to begin rebuilding.
Lightning Damage Claim Attorneys Serving Tampa, St. Petersburg, and Clearwater
When lightning strikes, you need an aggressive lightning claims attorney to advocate for you. Let our firm negotiate with the insurance companies on your behalf. Contact us today to receive your free, no-obligation consultation.