Hurricanes can destroy your home, ruin your beloved possessions, and turn your life upside down. The damage caused by these natural disasters can be catastrophic for individuals and their communities. When a hurricane or strong storm hits, it’s important for property owners to feel confident that their insurance company will receive and quickly process their claims for coverage.
Unfortunately, as many homeowners and business owners are aware, getting an adequate payout from an insurance company can be extremely difficult. This is particularly true when you’re dealing with an insurance company that is more concerned with their bottom line than with helping you after a natural disaster. Insurance companies usually draft policies that are for their benefit and hide key details in pages upon pages of confusing language. Many homeowners don’t realize how disadvantaged they are until they try to file a claim.
Types of damage commonly caused by hurricanes or strong storms typically include:
What to do if your home or business has been damaged by a hurricane or strong storm.
If your property has sustained damage in the wake of a hurricane or storm, the number one priority is to ensure the safety of you and your family. Afterwards, consider taking the following steps to ensure that your claim is handled promptly:
1. Prevent Additional Damage
In the immediate aftermath of a hurricane or strong storm, make sure to prevent additional and unnecessary damage in order to reduce the costs of repairs and replacement. An important step is to cover your roof and other damaged personal property with a tarp. If you failure to prevent further damage in the aftermath of the storm, your insurer may use this as an excuse to deny or reduce your payout.
2. Photograph and Itemize All Your Damages
A picture is worth a thousand words. Taking photos of everything damaged and creating a detailed list of the personal property damaged is an essential step after a hurricane or strong storm.
Insurance companies will typically attempt to minimize the amount of damage alleged in a claim, or challenge the scope of the damage you’ve listed. Having photographic evidence can be an important way to prove to your insurance company the extent of your losses and make it more difficult for them to deny or undervalue your claim.
3. Notify Your Insurance Carrier Right Away
It is very important that you file a claim with your insurer as soon as possible. A delay in filing your claim will be regarded as suspicious to your insurance company and will undoubtedly increase the chances that your claim is denied. Additionally, some insurance policies have specific requirements for how long you have to file a claim, so it’s best to file promptly to avoid preventable challenges down the road.
4. Keep Copies of Communications, Records of Conversations, or Other Documentation That You Receive From the Insurance Company.
After a hurricane or strong storm, an insurance company may be dealing with many claims across a wide area and during these times it’s easy for insurers to make mistakes regarding coverage. Help move your claim forward by keeping records of any interactions with the insurer.
5. Keep Any Records for Repairs or Emergency Work That You Need to Do on Your House or Business.
When you’re pursuing a storm damage claim, these records will be an important part of your claim. Therefore, make sure to keep a copy of all money you spent on repairs.
6. Don’t Discuss the Damage on Social Media or Post Pictures About It.
When you post items to social media, they are often considered public knowledge. This means that adjusters and others can find your statements online and use them against you, even if your statements were incomplete, out of context, or you later find them to be inaccurate or incorrect.
7. Speak With an Experienced Attorney About Your Options.
After a hurricane or strong storm, you have plenty to take care of and plenty of people to look out for. Let an attorney look out for you and the recovery you deserve. An attorney can review your insurance policies, help you make informed decisions, and fight for the compensation you deserve.
If your home or your possessions have sustained storm damage and you do not believe you are getting the compensation your insurance policy calls for, speak with an experienced attorney about your rights and legal options.
At the Lorenzana Law Firm, we live and work in South Florida, so we know how devastating a hurricane or storm can be. We are ready to act as your legal voice. We understand your frustrations, and we have the necessary knowledge to actively and effectively help you acquire the proper compensation to repair your home or business.
When hurricane or storm damage has harmed your home and your life, speak with us about your options. For a free case evaluation, call us today or use our online form to get in touch.