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Hurricane Claims

Hurricanes are one of the most destructive forces in nature, with the ability to destroy homes and entire communities in just a few hours. This sudden loss of your property and the emotional toll it can take is devastating, but having a homeowners insurance policy should offer you some piece of mind knowing that hurricane and tropical storm damage is covered. However, that may not be the case. You could end up being victimized twice through no fault of your own.

Even though you pay for insurance each month, when you need it most the insurance company may try and find a way to pay you as little as possible, or avoid paying altogether for the damages sustained to your property.

We will investigate your case, and consult with our team of insurance experts, to determine the full value of your claim. We will fight for you in court, to obtain the money that you deserve from the insurance company to which you have dutifully paid your insurance premiums.

That is why it is critical to have an experienced and knowledgeable attorney fighting for your rights, and we’re here to help keep insurance companies accountable, and give you the opportunity to get your life back on track.

 

 

Hurricane Claims 101

 

Steps to Take After a Hurricane

Unfortunately, even the best attempts to protect one’s property will likely end with some kind of damage in the event of a hurricane. If your home or business is damaged in the storm, you will want make sure you take the following steps to ensure your insurance claim is handled promptly in a fair manner.

Cover Up Your Damaged Property It’s important that if your property sustains any damage, that you cover it up with a tarp or something similar to prevent water intrusion or any other further damage. Remember, the insurance company will take any reason it can to avoid paying you, and if they claim your damaged property became more damaged after the storm they may blame you for the damage and deny your claim.

Document Everything It is recommended that you start outside and get your entire house in each shot — all four sides and as much of the roof as you can. Make sure to take photos of your entire yard, also. Start by taking wide shots of the yard, then move in closer to take shots with more detail. Then, head inside and start taking photos there. Start by taking photos of entire rooms, then move on to taking photos of individual items. A complete photographic record is important to being able to prove losses if you need to file a claim. As you take your photographs, make an inventory of damaged property. This will also help with your claim.

File Your Insurance Claim Promptly Insurance policies typically require you to act fast after storm damage. This is why it’s paramount that you take your photographs, write your inventory, and file your claim as quickly as you can.

What Does my Insurance Cover?

In Florida a general homeowners policy will cover wind damage, meaning if your roof or siding is ruined by the wind the damage will be covered. However, there is a special deductible for hurricane damage in Florida, which is set at a fixed percentage based on the amount of the entire policy, and must be met before the insurance starts paying for damage.

This uncertainty is good for the insurance company though, because it will attempt to exploit them and claim it is not liable for some damages. When so many people are filing insurance claims as they would after a hurricane, the insurance company is looking to limit the amount of money they are on the hook for. This will cause them to deny claims and issue low ball offers even when they shouldn’t.

As a result it is extremely important to read your insurance policy thoroughly so it is clear what is covered and what may require a separate policy. This is also important to do because if the insurance company does deny your claim or issue a low ball offer, you will know they are being dishonest.

Insurance Company Tactics

Here are some tactics insurance companies may use to make getting money for damages difficult:

  • Denial that insurance coverage even exists;
  • Denial of your claim because your claim is excluded or partially excluded under your policy;
  • Denies any part of your claim;
  • Unreasonably delays the processing, adjustment, or payment of your claim;
  • Makes misleading or false statements to you;
  • Refuses to pay you under one coverage or attempts to force you to settle under other policy coverage;
  • Tries to lowball you with undervalued estimates, offer or payments;
  • Tells you that you do not need a lawyer to resolve the claim;
  • Requires a written release of any supplemental claim as a condition of settlement or payment on your claim; or
  • The check for payment from your insurer or the letter that accompanies it uses terms like “full” or “final” when you reasonably believe that you have a supplemental or additional claim for that loss.

If you encounter any of those problems — or any other dispute with your insurance provider— handling things on your own may be time consuming and difficult. If you don’t have the savings to do the repairs yourself the insurance money is essential to your ability to rebuild. Alternatively, using the savings you worked for all your life on repairing hurricane damage will hurt your ability to pay for college, or even just take the vacation you deserve.

This shouldn’t be the case though, because the insurance company most likely does owe you money. If you experienced any of the above response from your insurance provider won’t hesitate to contact us for a free, no-risk case evaluation. We’re here to help keep insurance companies accountable, and give you the opportunity to get your life back on track.

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