News related to "Hurricane Preparation"

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21 08, 2019

Tips to Prepare Your Home, Family, and Insurance Claim for the 2019 Hurricane Season

By |2019-08-21T10:45:55-04:00August 21st, 2019|Categories: Hurricane Damage Law|Tags: , , , , , , |

The 2019 hurricane season is upon us. It began on May 20, 2019, and runs through November 30, 2019. Just passing the halfway mark, the tropics have been fairly quiet (knocking on wood now!). However, a quite beginning should not give rise to a false sense of security. Being hurricane prepared throughout the entire season is exceptionally important. We all remember the long lead time that Irma gave the entire state of Florida, but even with this lead time, the storm was devastating and people were still unable to be fully prepared. The homeowner’s insurance claim team at Battaglia, Ross, Dicus and McQuaid, P.A. wants to provide some valuable tips to help you and your family prepare for the worst and hope for the best when it comes to the 2019 hurricane season.

Preparing your home is one area of preparation that can be done in advance of a hurricane watch or warning. One of the most obvious tasks is to be sure all of your home’s exterior openings have the appropriate protection. Whether that means hurricane rated windows, shutters or plywood, protecting all of your home’s exterior openings is crucial.

If you have hurricane rated windows, doors, and garage doors, this should suffice. However, we recommend checking the window and door ratings to be sure that they are actually rated for the velocity zone where your home is located. If you do not have hurricane rated windows and doors, be sure to have a plan in place regarding how you will protect your home’s exterior openings. Properly fabricated and fastened plywood over windows and doors can be effective if installed properly. Additionally, these plywood pieces can be pre-cut in advance and stored for easier installation. If there are any questions about how to protect your home’s openings, contact a contractor to have them help in exploring your options for hurricane proofing the exterior of your home. Alternatively, you may wish to invest in some sort of shuttering system. There are many different options on the market at varying price points. Regardless of what type of protection you choose for your home, be sure to choose something before the hurricane warning or watch.

Preparing your home for a hurricane also means preparing your home for a hurricane insurance claim. In the event of an evacuation, be sure to have all of your insurance policies with you in a safe and waterproof container. You will need the vital information on these policies to help in making your hurricane claim. Before the hurricane hits, it is advisable to take photographs or videos of the condition of your home both inside and out. This documentation will be helpful in establishing your home’s pre-loss condition. In the event of damage or loss to valuable personal property, be sure you have photos or videos of the property, proof of purchase, and the number of items. Insurance companies require this information before they will provide full value for your damaged personal property.

All insurance policies require prompt reporting of any insurance claim. After a devastating hurricane, power and cell phone reception is often down for days. Be sure to keep track of your efforts in attempting to report your insurance claim in the days and weeks after a hurricane. Insurance companies are inundated with claims after a hurricane and therefore, you must be persistent in reporting your claim and following up with the claims adjusters.

Unfortunately, many of the insurance adjusters who are dispatched to adjust hurricane losses are not full-time Florida adjusters. While it is required that adjusters are licensed in Florida to adjust hurricane losses on behalf of an insurance company, this does not equate to having experience in adjusting Florida hurricane claims. It may seem hard to believe, but we have seen Hurricane Irma claims that have actually been denied! In addition to the denied hurricane claims, the adjusters on behalf of the insurance company more often than not underestimate the total value of a hurricane loss leaving homeowners severely underpaid for their hurricane claims. Couple this underpayment with sometimes expensive deductibles can leave a homeowner, who believed they were covered for a hurricane loss, tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars in the hole.

The solution for Florida homeowners if they find themselves in a situation where the insurance company has denied or underpaid a claim is to immediately seek the assistance of an experienced insurance claim attorney. If the insurance company fails to pay what you are entitled to, the attorney can file a lawsuit for breach of contract to hold the insurance company accountable for what they are contractually obligated to pay a policyholder in the event of a covered loss. The laws in Florida are helpful to homeowners in this situation; if a homeowner is a prevailing party in a lawsuit against their own homeowner’s insurance company, then the insurance company has to pay for the homeowner’s attorney’s fees and costs. This aspect of homeowner insurance claim disputes helps homeowners in their most desperate time of need by allowing law firms to represent homeowners without requiring attorney’s fees or costs to be paid upfront but instead paid by the insurance company upon the resolution of the case.

Finally, how to prepare your family? Battaglia, Ross, Dicus & McQuaid, P.A. has put together a 2019 Hurricane Guide which you can download here. This guide has many suggestions for how to protect your family and home in advance of a hurricane. Some of the highlights include, following recommendations for evacuation, ensuring adequate medication for extended stays away from home, having adequate water supply, and be sure to have a plan in place for the family pet!

If you or anyone you know have any questions regarding hurricane preparedness or hurricane insurance coverages, please feel free to contact me for a free consultation.

11 09, 2018

Hurricane Preparation: What is Needed, How to Prepare, and Legal Action for Damage

By |2018-09-11T14:44:34-04:00September 11th, 2018|Categories: Hurricane Damage Law|Tags: , , , |

Hurricane season officially began on June 1st. It will last until the end of November. 2017 was a busy year for tropical storms and hurricanes. At times people were wondering if 2017 was going to be the worse year we’ve ever had in terms of hurricanes. With storms brewing on the coastal horizon, it is wise to address the needs of the many people who live in areas, such as Florida, who deal with hurricanes often. A Florida hurricane can pop up at any given time during the hurricane season. Lately, it appears like they often do. With storms being so consistent, it is always smart to go over proper hurricane preparation. These preparations would include things such as: what a person needs to prepare, how to waterproof or protect their house as much as possible, and how to reach out for legal support if needed.

What Do I Need to Prepare for a Hurricane?

When it comes to hurricane preparation people often feel overwhelmed. A hurricane hitting your home is a situation that tends to cause a raised level of anxiety. It is 1st important that you do not panic. Remember, there is nothing you can do to move, stop or sway this hurricane. The only thing you can do is stay calm and plan for the worse, as best as you possibly can.

To begin, let’s take a look at some of the most common emergency supplies in preparation for a storm.

  • Bottled Water: It is important to remember that you will need enough water for everyone for at least a few days. A typical person needs about a gallon of water a day, while dogs need 1.75L of water per day. Cats will need significantly less water than this.
  • Radio: Keeping a battery powered or wind up radio is important to gather news as to what is currently happening in your emergency situation, you can also have a radio or cell phone to call out for help if required.
  • Canned Goods: Remember to gather enough food for everyone for a couple of days. Canned food is perfect as it last longer and does not spoil without refrigeration.
  • Medical Supplies: Always keep adequate medical supplies on hand in case of a medical emergency. Simple things like bandages, gauze, antiseptic and other disinfectants can be useful. You can also add in simple medications such as over the counter pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medications.
  • Flashlight: Remember to keep at least 1 flashlight with your emergency kit. The electric will likely go out during a hurricane and you will require light.

There are always less significant and less common materials that people often keep on hand, some of these include things such as:

  • Toilet paper
  • Manual can opener
  • Hygiene products
  • Medical guides, printed from the internet
  • Flares
  • Jumping Cables
  • Can of Gasoline

Keep in mind that many people also add additional ice to their refrigerators and freezers to store their water and to help keep food longer. It is important that if you do this, you remember to keep the fridge and freezer door closed as much as possible. By keeping the cold locked in the airtight space, you ensure that your food does not spoil very quickly. If your foo spoils and you eat it, you risk illness in an emergency situation. Which, of course, can be very dangerous and even life-threatening.

Protect Your House

In addition to proper flood insurance, make sure you fortify your house to protect glass windows and reduce water damage. A Florida hurricane can devastate your house, protect it with the following tips:

  • Board up windows
  • Turn gas and power off
  • Keep trees cut away from the house

If you decide to stay home during a hurricane always remember to make a family plan and designate a safe room for your family. Follow the tips on turning the gas and power off to prevent gas leaks and potential fires. Remember to board up all windows to reduce shattering glass and prevent injuries.

What About Legal Help When It Comes to Damage?

You would not think to link together legal advice and hurricane damage. However, more times than not, people find themselves on one side of a legal battle after a natural disaster. There are many times a person may need to seek the advice of a lawyer after a hurricane.

Many flood insurance and house insurance policies try to word things in their contracts and plan to trick members. You may find yourself on the worse end of this after a hurricane strikes and destroys your home. There are laws protecting the people against unfair practices in insurance claims. Do not simply take “no” for an answer from your insurance provider. Always seek legal advice as to what can and cannot be covered. There is no reason for you as an insurance holder to pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars in insurance yearly just to be told that you are not covered. Seeking legal advice can help with damage and allow you to rebuild what you lose.

You can also use a legal team to help with damage to your business. Be sure to obtain proper insurance for your business alongside your house. Be sure to utilize a legal team to assess the damage done to your business and to your house. While flood insurance companies can provide these services, their quotes can often be on the low side. Make sure you are getting a fair and accurate quote by supplying your own damage assessment.