How to Respond to Hurricane Ida Insurance Company's Low-Ball Estimates
There are several knee-jerk defenses set forth by insurance companies in responding to homeowners seeking payment for specific damages arising from Hurricane Ida. Often, policyholders do not know how to respond to the insurance company denying payment of certain types of water damage. The following are suggested responses to an insurance company’s refusal to pay specific damages caused by Hurricane Ida.
Roof Repair Instead of Replacement
It is undisputed the majority of roofs in the pathway of Hurricane Ida need to be replaced instead of repaired/patched. It is recommended your licensed roofing contractor insert a statement in the estimate and/or invoice that the roof needs to be replaced and the testing/analysis utilized in arriving to such conclusion. This roofer’s statement may persuade the insurance company to pay for a roof replacement instead of a repair/patch.
Most homeowners with roof damage also had corresponding water damage to sheetrock, ceilings, and walls. Sheetrock ceilings and walls are spongy, soft and absorb water. Insurance adjusters often pay for merely repair and painting of sheetrock and ceilings instead of replacement. If your hurricane damaged ceiling and/or wall display is bulging, sagging and/or bubbling, the water damaged sheet rock must be removed and replaced due to high moisture content and the possibility of mold growth. Also, sheetrock may contain a high moisture content without visible manifestation due to water infiltration. If the sheetrock is not replaced but simply sprayed with disinfectant and painted, such will be a recipe for mold growth and other further complications. Therefore, the water damaged sheet rock must be removed and replaced.
On occasion, insurance companies attempt to deny payment for water damaged walls and ceilings based on the “mold” exclusion’. The “mold” exclusion does not apply for the removal of water damaged walls and ceilings which later develop mold. The mold exclusion only applies when mold travels to walls that are not water damaged.
Hurricane Ida caused water infiltration through windows and doors arising from the wind-driven rain. Many claims’ adjusters have attempted to disallow damage based on the “seepage” exclusion. The “seepage” exclusion should only apply for moisture gradually entering a pre-existing opening over an extended period of time. The “seepage” exclusion does not apply for water infiltration from hurricane winds caused by vibration and compromise of the seal to doors and windows.
Water Damaged Wood Floors
Water is a hardwood floor’s worst enemy. Wood flooring is not resistant to water. Wood floors will become damaged if water is allowed to soak into it. Signs of permanent damage are as follows:
Yet, many insurance companies will only pay for sanding down, repair or patching if the wood floor is saturated by water/rain. In such a case, it is undisputed the insurance company is required to pay for a full replacement of the entire continuous area of the damaged wood floors.
Also, many adjusters attempt to state that the water damaged portion of the wood floor could be replaced while the undamaged wood flooring remains in a mismatched presentation. Again, the insurance company is required to replace the entire continuous area of damaged wood floors as opposed to being required to have 2 contrasting and unmatched areas featuring the replaced wood floor and the undamaged floor.