Nearly every year we see significant hurricane property damage in Florida as hurricane season tears trees from the ground, causes significant flooding and worse. For example, when Hurricane Harvey hit, it caused around $125 billion in damages in Florida.
If your home or business has suffered in a recent storm, then a hurricane insurance claim can help you make repairs and recover your financial losses.
While it may seem a simple process, people make many mistakes when filing property damage claims for hurricanes, so it’s best to follow these tips:
Types of Hurricane Property Damage Claims
The following insurance policies are often used to cover damage caused by hurricanes:
Florida insurance companies offer this policy as an additional deductible. The cost varies depending on where you live. It is often used for damaged roofs and exteriors damaged by strong winds or debris from hurricanes.
Homeowner’s insurance does not cover storm surges or flooding. Instead, flood damage from hurricanes is covered in flood insurance which is purchased as an additional deductible. Flooding in Florida is common during hurricane season. Just one inch of water can cause thousands of dollars worth of damage.
How to File a Hurricane Property Damage Claim in Florida
If you’ve suffered hurricane property damage in Florida, then you need to notify your insurance company as soon as possible.
If you have a concrete understanding of your homeowner’s insurance policy, then you can do this as soon as possible.
If not, then it’s best to review the details of your policy. This can save you from missing any details that see you miss out on a fair settlement. If you have any doubts, contact a property damage attorney.
How Long Do I Have to File a Hurricane Insurance Claim
You often have a shorter window of time for claims for hurricane property damage in Florida than other insurance claims, such as car accidents.
Florida’s property damage statute of limitation is four years from the date of the damage. If you don’t make your hurricane insurance claim before then, then it’s likely you will be denied.
Once you’ve made your hurricane insurance claim, your insurer will have two weeks to acknowledge it. Then, they’ll investigate your property damage.
Investigate The Damage
Step one is making your own in-depth investigation of the property. Insurers will later carry out their own investigation, but that’s often to see if your claims are legitimate rather than checking for anything you’ve missed.
List all your damages. This includes broken windows, damaged walls, roofs, flooded floors, damaged valuables, computers, furniture, appliances and more. If something’s been damaged, make a note of it on a list. You’ll use this later when filing your claim.
Take Pictures of the Property Damage
Before making any claim for hurricane property damage in Florida, you must take photos of the damage.
Evidence of the damage will significantly support the legitimacy of your claim. Take photos of everything on your list and every room of your home. Store them in a folder in your email or cloud, so you can access them at any time.
Check With Your Insurer Before Discarding Damaged Items
Don’t discard any damaged items or materials until your insurance adjuster has seen them. The last thing you want is for your insurer to claim there’s no evidence of the damaged items. However, if your local municipality asks you to discard the items for safety reasons, then taking photos is a good backup.
Keep All Your Receipts
From repair receipts to the original receipts of appliances, computers and more – keep them. They’re evidence of how much you paid and how much you deserve to be compensated by your insurer. Store them in an organized place so they’re ready to show if your insurer asks.
Keep Records of Who You Talk To
Document anyone you speak to at the insurance company. Note their name, what was discussed and the date the call happened on. This can help with any problems of insurers going back on their word or providing misguidance.
Review All Documents Carefully
It may seem obvious, but many people just skim-read documents. For example, a ‘proof of loss’ document will be given to you to sign by your insurance adjuster. This will detail the pricing of your repairs. You must read this carefully to check that every repair has been included.
If reviewing documents is daunting, then contact a Florida property damage attorney for their legal expertise to ensure you make no mistakes.
What to Expect from Your Hurricane Insurance Company?
You have the right to repair and replace the damages on your property and receive compensation to cover those costs. Your insurance company must also:
- Provide notice within 14 days that they’ve received your claim.
- Provide notice that your claim is being paid or denied or investigated within 30 days.
- Provide notice that they’ve finished reviewing your claim, denying your claim or paying partial or fully for your claim within 90 days.
- Ensure that any claim filed includes a maximum amount payable and a deductible, which will later be subtracted from the total compensation paid to you.
It should also be stressed that insurance companies are notoriously difficult to work with. They don’t hand out money easily. Their adjusters and lawyers will work hard to find ways to pay you as little as possible. From claiming you don’t have evidence of the damage to saying you left a window open (in flood scenarios), we’ve seen it all.
Gain Legal Expertise from a Florida Property Damage Attorney
Naturally, you might be apprehensive. That’s where we can help. As Florida property damage attorneys, we’re very familiar with the tricks insurance companies pull in hurricane insurance claims.
We’ll ensure you meet the deadline to file a claim and have a solid case. Our team works to collect evidence, so there’s no chance for an insurance adjuster to come along and underpay.
We also don’t give in to low ball figures. We get you the money you deserve in your hurricane insurance claim.
Florida Property Damage Attorneys Specializing in Hurricane Claims
If your home or business has suffered from hurricane damage in Florida, then contact us today.
Attorney Jonathon Douglas leads the property damage claim team nationally ranked by US News and World Reports as a Tier 1 Law Firm, Battaglia Ross Dicus & McQuaid, P.A.
Having previously represented some of the largest insurance companies in the State of Florida, Mr. Douglas uses his inside knowledge and experience to help you navigate hurricane insurance claims.
Regardless of your situation, you can receive a free consultation today.