Was Your Property Damaged by Construction-Related Vibration Damage?
In the 70s, the saying “good vibrations” became pretty popular. And today, “good vibes” is part of our slang vocabulary, perhaps as something you say to someone to indicate you’re OK, or you hope someone else is doing OK. But when it comes to property damage and homeowner’s insurance, there really is no such thing as good vibrations—only bad ones.
Imagine that you have a business in a strip mall or retail complex, and construction is going on in the adjacent retail space, or in a space above or below you. Aside from the headaches that you may get from the drilling, your property can sustain damage as well.
Construction related equipment can cause vibrations that can ruin both the structure of your property, as well as damaging the property inside. And although construction related vibrations are man-made, you may still be able to make a property damage homeowner’s insurance claim for damage to your property caused by construction-related vibrations.
Is Vibration Damage Covered?
Whether vibration-related damage is covered really depends on the language of your policy. For many years, homeowner’s insurance policies excluded any damage caused by vibration caused by earthquakes. In 2005, a case made its way to the Florida Supreme Court, when an insurance company denied coverage for vibration damage caused by construction, based on the earthquake exclusion in the insurance policy. The Court said that because the policy only excluded earthquake related damage, construction-related vibration damage was covered.
Since then, many insurance companies have since re-written their policies, to exclude vibration caused by man made causes, such as construction. You may need a homeowner’s insurance attorney, to see if your policy is one that was re-written to exclude vibration related damage.
How Do You Know if You Have Vibration Damage?
Other than the obvious—feeling your property vibrating—how would you know whether vibration is affecting your property? There are a few ways:
- Seismographs – Yes, the same seismographs that measure the intensity of earthquakes, can be used to determine the extent of vibrations that your property is being subjected to. Obtaining data that shows that vibrations reached certain levels on your property, can go a long way to showing the insurance company that the damage caused to your property is a covered claim.
- Inspections – Vibration related damage can often look much like sinkhole-related damage: cracks in floors or walls can be indicative of vibration damage. However, an insurance company will usually claim that this kind of damage pre-existed the construction. Getting damage inspected early can help get an expert on your side who can testify as to when the damage actually occurred.
- Pictures – Take pictures of your property—now, before there is any vibration damage. That includes photos of any inventory, or personal property, so that you can document your damages to the insurance company if you need to make a claim.
Is your insurance company denying coverage for damage to your home or property? Contact the Miami property damage insurance attorneys at Velasquez & Associates P.A. today for help.