After a hurricane strikes, your entire home (and life) could be left in total disarray. Paperwork will likely be the last thing on your mind. Unfortunately, providing the right documentation is essential for getting your life back together with a hurricane property damage claim.
That’s why it’s best to get things in order before the storm, so that you’re prepared if disaster should strike.
With that in mind, we’ve put together a guide of what you can do to prepare ahead of the storm, and also what you should be prepared to do afterwards.
Your “Before the Storm” To-Do List
Many homeowners see getting insurance as a box to check off their to-do list, but don’t actually know much about their policy. We all have busy lives, but this could serve you very poorly should you end up needing to file a claim.
To make sure you’re prepared in the event of a hurricane property damage claim, we recommend the following:
- Read your policy to understand what damages are covered and what damages are not. In many cases, you may need to revise your policy to make sure you’re fully covered in the event of a hurricane.
- Keep your policy with you. Seal it in a plastic bag and put it with other important documents that you’ll take with you in the event of an evacuation.
It’s also important that you document the condition of your home ahead of time, since it’s hard to prove the extent of damages when things are in disarray. As a precaution, we suggest you do the following:
- Take videos of your property — inside and out — to document its condition
- Take detailed pictures and videos of anything valuable
- Keep receipts and invoices of valuable items
- Maintain an updated contents inventory list
Your Job After the Storm Has Passed
Should a hurricane strike, you will need to take action as soon as you return to your property. Preparing ahead of time will give you an opportunity of ensuring any damage to your home will be covered.
Be prepared to do the following:
- Prevent further damage to your home after the storm. This is your responsibility as a policyholder. For example, if your roof is blown off, it should be covered with a tarp to prevent further water damage.
- Make any repairs necessary to prevent further damage. For example, if your home is flooded, hire a licensed and bonded contractor to pump out the water. Just make sure to save the invoice!
- Take pictures and videos of all damages to your property. Do this as soon as possible to document the state of your home and valuables.
- Don’t throw away evidence. Although you might want to begin cleaning up, make sure you save important evidence. For example, if your roof is damaged, save tiles that are blown off.
Be Careful Speaking to Your Insurer
If you work directly with your insurer, be careful with the language you use when describing what happened. Stick to the facts and avoid talking about things like causation. It’s also important to know your rights under Florida Law.
If your insurer isn’t responsive, offers a settlement without assessing damages, undervalues your claim, or you just feel better with more professional guidance, you should seek the assistance of an insurance attorney. Many people are hesitant to bring in a lawyer, but it can mean the difference between getting the compensation you deserve and struggling to recover.
Florida Professional Law Group has been assisting homeowners with their property damage claims since 2012. We understand firsthand how scary hurricane season can be, specially dealing with the insurance company after such horrific events. That is why we offer a full team of professionals to assist homeowners with their claims from start to finish. Contact us for a free consultation at 800-LAW-4141.