Hurricane damage in Florida is something that homeowners sometimes overlook. It’s not a matter of “if,” It’s a matter of “how long until it happens to me?” So, before this year’s storm season begins, it’s a good idea to become familiar with the hurricane damage claim process. When disaster strikes, the more you know, the better you’ll be able to navigate these waters.
In this post, we’ll discuss the various types of hurricane damage claims, what to expect from your insurance company, and how to get assistance from a trusted professional claims adjuster.
THE MOST POPULAR TYPES OF HURRICANE DAMAGE CLAIMS
Damage to your windows from flying debris is one of the most common types of damage after a hurricane. Although this is almost unavoidable, it is critical to document the condition of your windows prior to the storm.
In fact, this advice applies to all types of damage. Take photographs before the storm. They may be your only way of proving that the damage was caused by the hurricane and not weeks or months before.
Hurricanes frequently damage siding, roofing, and doors. Again, due to high winds and flying debris or falling trees, this type of damage can occur many miles inland and widespread throughout the path of a storm.
Fires are another common type of damage. It may seem counterintuitive to consider fire damage when it is raining throughout a storm, but it is a real risk. Power surges and outages can cause appliances to fail, and leaks and flooding can cause short circuits and electrical fires.
Finally, there’s water damage to consider. This does not always only occur as a result of flood water. It can happen as a result of a roof leak, window damage, or even a failed appliance leaking after the storm. Even minor water damage can result in mold growth, so keep an eye out for leaks around windows or around your roof joists.
WHAT IS INCLUDED?
The short answer is that it is determined by the type of insurance you have. The majority of hurricane damage is covered by standard homeowners insurance, but flooding damage is not. This is covered in greater detail in our article on water damage.
Because many areas of Florida are considered high-risk, insurance companies impose additional restrictions on wind damage. It is important to have your policy reviewed by a trusted claim adjuster to ensure proper coverage prior to an insurance claim.
WHAT IS NOT INCLUDED?
There are a few things that your insurance will most emphatically not cover.
The first is damage caused by carelessness. For example, if you are under an evacuation order and leave a slew of appliances plugged in, resulting in a fire, your insurance company may deny your claim due to negligence.
The second issue is vehicle damage. Your vehicle will not be covered by your homeowners or flood insurance if it is parked in a carport or garage. Fortunately, if you have the proper coverage, it may be covered by your car insurance.
HOW TO DEAL WITH HURRICANE DAMAGE
The first thing to remember is that your home may no longer be safe to return to. Listen to the authorities and do not return to your home if your neighborhood is still evacuated.
Prepare your camera for when you’re allowed to return. Take pictures of everything, just like you did before the storm. You’ll have to clean up eventually, but the claims process can take months. If there is a dispute, before and after photos can mean the difference between a successful and unsuccessful claim.
You might be tempted to get rid of broken furniture and appliances. Refuse the temptation. Unfortunately, claims adjusters have to deal with fraud on a regular basis, so if you tell them that all of your damaged furniture, as well as your 70-inch flat-screen TV and brand new, top-of-the-line dishwasher, is at the dump, they’re likely to give you the stink-eye. Save everything until the adjuster arrives; doing so will strengthen the validity of your hurricane damage claim.
Similarly, never sign an invoice with a contractor that does not include an exact cost. Some unscrupulous contractors will write something like “for insurance proceeds” on their invoice, then try to get the entire value of the claim, rather than just the cost of their own work. Also keep in mind that only a Public Adjuster is able to assist you in the claim handling process. Trusted Public Adjusters is fully licensed, bonded, and insured to represent all your claim needs. Contractors that try to deal with a claim on your behalf are in violation of the law and can ultimately harm your claim.
HOW CAN A PUBLIC ADJUSTER ASSIST YOU?
A claims adjuster who works for you rather than the insurance company is known as a public adjuster. They are paid a percentage of the proceeds from your hurricane damage claim, so the more money you receive, the more money they make. This provides them with a strong incentive to ensure that you receive every penny to which you are entitled.
Insurance adjusters frequently undervalue repair estimates by using the cheapest materials available. They may even avoid going to damaged areas of the house in order to avoid having to make a note of the damage. A Trusted Public Adjuster assists you in locating and documenting all damage, as well as advocating for you with the insurance company.
If you believe a public adjuster can assist you, please use our free web form to contact Trusted Public Adjusters. If you have an emergency, please call us at (305) 702-0014 or email us a Help@PayMyClaim.Info