The Flood Without the Hurricane in Fort Lauderdale

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The Flood Without the Hurricane in Fort Lauderdale

aerial view of Ft. Lauderdale

It’s still a bit early for hurricanes – but it’s certainly not too early for heavy spring rains. This became all too obvious on April 12, 2023 when Fort Lauderdale and the greater Brevard County area experienced what some meteorological experts are describing as a “once in a thousand year rainfall event.” In less than 24 hours some parts of the city were inundated with up to 20 inches of rainfall, leading to catastrophic flooding.

Although this wasn’t a hurricane, there were still recorded instances of extreme weather phenomenon, including some powerful wind gusts, small hail and the potential for localized tornado events. For comparison, during a hurricane the city might experience between 20 and 25 inches of rain. The fact that this wasn’t a hurricane is what makes the volume of water particularly noteworthy.

Florida’s severe weather in mid-April is far from entirely localized in the southeast. There’s also an elevated risk for serious storm activity in other major metro areas, including Jacksonville. The flooding situation in Fort Lauderdale was so serious that officials are encouraging drivers to stay off the road until pumps and drainage can catch up with the extraordinary volume of water.

What Should You Do if Your Home Was Damaged by Flooding in Fort Lauderdale This Week?

The reprieve from severe storms might be officially over for 2023 with this particularly early flooding event – which is bad news for affected home and business owners. If you need to file a flood damage claim, it’s likely going to be in your best interest to act fast and get the process started as soon as the water recedes.

Document your flood damage: Photographs and video of your building and property damage will be vital for ensuring your claim isn’t undervalued by the insurance company. At first you might just provide a list of damaged items along with their value, but if questions arise about the validity of your losses, you have picture evidence to back up your claim.

Prevent further damage by making basic repairs as soon as possible: Do what you can to prevent further damage, such as boarding up broken windows, covering damaged roofs or moving damaged items to a dry area. Some property owners wonder why it’s so important to fix things themselves when the insurance company should pay for it. Your policy contains specific wording that could work against you if an insurance claims adjuster or investigator decides your property damage would have been less severe had you performed some basic preventative measures. They may use your inaction as an excuse to reduce your claim payment.

Keep records of expenses: The good news is you will be reimbursed for any money you spend to make those initial repairs. Many policyholders can also get compensation for temporary relocation and ancillary costs. If you are unable to stay in your home due to flooding, the insurance company should pay for a hotel or motel and even cover the money you spend eating at restaurants because your home is flooded and uninhabitable (if you keep receipts and the costs aren’t unreasonable).

Prepare for the long haul: After a severe flooding event like the one we’ve just witnessed in Fort Lauderdale, flood damage insurance companies are inundated with claims. That’s one of the reasons it makes sense to file a claim as soon as possible and get your spot near the front of the line. The sooner your home gets repaired, the sooner your life gets back to normal.

Do You Need a Public Adjuster or Property Damage Lawyer in Fort Lauderdale?

If you are having difficulty negotiating with your insurance company or feel your settlement offer is too low, you may want to consider consulting with a property damage lawyer and/or a public adjuster. A property damage lawyer can advocate on your behalf when the insurance company attempts to use the small print of your policy, loopholes or inaccurate damage assessments to undervalue your claim (whether intentionally or unintentionally).

Get in touch with the flood damage lawyers at Kanner & Pintaluga by calling 800.586.5555.