It’s true that no one is ever really prepared for a hurricane. When it happens, you realize how optimistic your preparation might have been. If you are one of the unlucky ones, it’s now time to start dealing with the aftermath…and your property insurance company.
For hurricane victims, the initial trauma is only the beginning of a long recovery. If you have suffered substantial damage, the weeks and months after the storm will find you putting your life and your home back together again. As Miami insurance lawyers, we have seen how a hurricane can not only devastate a home but devastate a life.
Find Your Policy
You will first need to locate your insurance policy and know exactly what you are covered for. Many people file away their policies but have no real idea of what they are covered for. Filing an insurance claim will make you a quick expert. If you didn’t know already, flooding is not covered by your homeowners policy. Flood insurance is a separate policy and is required in many flood-prone areas and you may have not been required to have flood insurance.
What Caused Your Damage?
Your damage may have been caused by a few different sources: wind, water, fallen trees, or other sources so it is important to review what your damage is, what caused it, and determine if you are covered. If you have flood insurance and your damage is due to flooding, you will want to contact the National Flood Insurance Program within 60 days and submit a proof of loss form.
Notify Your Insurance Representative
Contact your insurance representative and notify them of your loss and that you will be making a claim. You will always want to keep in mind that your representative and the adjusters you will be dealing with work for the insurance company and are not necessarily working on your behalf. Although they may be helpful and friendly, they are tasked with keeping their employer as profitable as possible. In that vein, they will want to pay the least amount of benefits possible.
At this point, you will want to thoroughly chronicle your losses by taking detailed photographs and videos right after the storm. Make a list of each item that was damaged and write down the value of that item. If you have any receipts, these are very good evidence of their value. Keep your information as organized as possible. This will help both you and your adjuster, especially after a hurricane when the company will be inundated with claims.
Prevent Further Damage
All insurance policies require that you reduce further damage to the insured property. Although you want to maintain evidence of the loss, you are bound by law to ensure that it does not get worse. Move any water-damaged items outside and clean up any standing water or moisture that remains to prevent mold from developing. In most cases, mold damage will not be covered by your insurance. Make sure that your adjuster understands what you are doing so they cannot come back later and object that you disturbed the evidence.
Follow Up on Everything
Document everything with follow-up emails and letters. During this time, you will be talking to many people by telephone from adjusters to contractors. You will want to document when each of these conversations took place, who you spoke to, and what actions were taken or not taken.
Seek a Professional
If you find that you have been unjustly denied coverage or have received a low offer from your insurance company, contact our Miami property insurance lawyers at Korin Law, P.A. for a no-cost consultation. Many homeowners are not aware that they don’t have to accept an offer that is not fair. Call our expert insurance lawyers to understand your rights after a storm loss.