From June through November, Floridians are on high alert for hurricanes. This year, category 4 Hurricane Ian wreaked havoc on many homes and businesses. Whether big or small, hurricanes can cause significant damage to property. These damages can result in numerous and large claims as people and businesses try to rebuild. While in most cases property owners should have no problem getting the compensation from insurers that they are entitled to, here are some tips that may assist with the claims process.
Verify That You Have Coverage Before the Storm Hits
Insureds should make sure that they in fact have the coverage they need before hurricane season. It can be helpful to consult with a professional about your policy and to make a reminder in a phone or calendar for when that coverage is going to expire.
It is important to understand what the policy covers and does not cover. Reviewing and understanding your policy ahead of time is beneficial, but if you find the terms confusing, you may want to consider consulting with an attorney when you believe you need one.
Report Your Damage as Soon as Possible
The insurance carrier should be contacted as soon as possible. Once the storm has passed and it is safe, let your insurance carrier know that there has been a storm and you have sustained damage. Many policies require the homeowner to provide the insurance carrier prompt notice of damage.
If the insurance provider is not contacted within a reasonable amount of time, this may raise difficulties in the claims process. For example, if a roof sustains damage resulting in water damage, this could potentially lead to further water damage. The insurance carrier may argue that some damage could have been prevented.
Additionally, in the case of major storms, there will be many policyholders filing claims. For example, following Hurricane Ian, over half a million claims have already been filed. Making sure you get your claim in with your carrier as soon as possible can help one receive assistance with their situation sooner than later.
Even if you think it is obvious that there has been significant damage to your property, one may want to consider taking pictures and videos of the damage that resulted from the storm when it is safe to do so. It is also helpful if you have photos or video of the property from before the storm.
Try to be specific where possible about what the damages are. For instance, if an entire room of the home is damaged, be sure to also list which items in that room were damaged. For example, the living room included furniture of a certain dollar amount, electronics of a certain dollar amount, etc. If you have receipts for those purchases, that can be helpful, as well.
As is safe and feasible, wait to get rid of damaged things until you have discussed the same with the insurance company. It can also be helpful for the insurance adjuster to see damaged items in the investigation of the claim. Perhaps consider taking a photo of the items if they must be discarded.
Prevent Further Loss
When property damage occurs, property owners should act reasonably. This includes so that the damage does not get worse where it can be mitigated. Just like the last example, where a roof has sustained damage that results in water damage, the homeowner may be able to take steps to mitigate damage, for example, by placing a tarp on top of the roof or moving valuable items in specific areas of the home.
Speak to a Homeowners’ Insurance Attorney
Contact our office today at 321-283-5888 to speak with one of our homeowners’ insurance attorneys if you would like to discuss the particulars of your situation. We present the material contained on our website and pages, including this Blog, for general informational purposes only. It does not constitute the rendering of legal advice and does not create any attorney-client relationship. If you need legal or other professional advice, you should consult with legal counsel about your particular facts and circumstances. Contact us to see how we may be able to fight for you!