My Home Was Damaged in a Hurricane — What Should I Do Now?

Fri Sep 15th, 2023 on     Homeowners Insurance,    

It is the time of year when all eyes turn to the South Atlantic and all ears perk when the word “hurricane” is mentioned. Especially for those of us in the Sunshine State, hurricanes pose a real threat to life and property. When they do hit, they often hit hard, and many people suffer from extensive property damage, principally to their homes. When this happens to you, there are steps you should take to best support your ability to recover the compensation you are due under the terms of your insurance policy. If you run into roadblocks, such as the insurance company denying your valid claim, contact a Miami insurance recovery attorney at VPM. 

Mitigate Your Losses

When your home has been damaged by a hurricane, you do have a duty to mitigate the losses sustained by the damages that have occurred to your property. Failure to do so can result in the insurance company denying your claim. Mitigation of losses means taking protective measures to prevent further damages from happening. For example, if you have windows broken, you should cover them with tarps and boards to prevent further damage. Another example would be placing buckets under leaks that may happen due to roof damage. 

Be certain to take photos of the damage prior to making any temporary repairs, and refrain from completing permanent repairs. Save all receipts from any purchases made to mitigate your losses as you may be able to obtain reimbursement. 

Take An Inventory & Document Your Damages

Be certain to go through your home and property and take an inventory of all damages. This includes any outbuilding and garages. Take photos of everything that has been damaged and list what you estimate the value of the damage to be. If you have the receipt from when the damaged item was purchased, that can be very helpful, but keep in mind that values can decrease or increase over time. Certified appraisals can also be very beneficial.

One way to be extra prepared for a situation like this is to keep a binder of photos or a recording of all items in your home. Then, should these items be lost or damaged in a hurricane, you will have the documentation you need to recover their value. Should your insurance company deny your claim, consult with a Miami insurance recovery attorney at VPM.

Report Your Damages To The Insurance Company

In order to recover for the damage sustained to your property, you will need to file a claim. It is a good idea to contact your agent or the insurance company immediately to let them know that you have damages and to find out the steps you should take to file your claim. You should also report it to the insurance company if you are forced to find alternative housing due to the damages sustained by your home. 

Ask your insurance company when you can expect an adjuster to come by to look at the damage and be certain that they have all your current contact information. Do not clean up any damaged property or throw away anything. You may need these items in case the insurance company denies your claim or says that you have failed to prove your damages. Should this happen, contact a Miami insurance recovery attorney at VPM.

Keep Detailed Records

It is important to keep detailed records of all communication with your insurance company. Make certain you keep a log of every conversation you have with a representative, including what you were told, who you spoke with, and the date and time of the conversation. Keep copies of any correspondence you receive or send, and be sure that all of this information is kept together in a safe place. Also, should the damages force you and your family to find alternative housing, maintain receipts and records of how much you spend.

Should you be forced to pursue litigation against your insurance company when they fail to pay your claim, your Miami insurance recovery attorney will thank you for keeping detailed records. It will certainly aid in obtaining the compensation you are owed. 

Re-Familiarize Yourself With Your Insurance Policy Terms

Knowing the terms of your policy can save you a lot of headaches. It is especially helpful to review your policy prior to when the hurricane hits, but if you don’t, you should definitely review it when you are facing the claims process. Your policy will contain important information, including your coverage and your limits. Pay special attention to the part regarding hurricane deductibles. Typically, your deductible will be a percentage of your home’s value. This percentage can vary anywhere from 1% to 10% and your policy should clarify this for you. 

Also, look at the policy for information regarding:

  • Coverage for alternative living arrangements should your home be uninhabitable 
  • Coverage for personal property that has been damaged
  • Coverage available for other structures, such as a garage or shed

Obtain Independent Estimates

In order to know how much it will cost to repair or replace the property that was damaged or destroyed, you should obtain estimates from a licensed and insured contractor that is independent of the insurance company. This will help you to know how much it will cost to make the necessary repairs or replace the damaged items. Should your estimates be significantly higher than the amount the insurance adjuster says they will pay, and your efforts to have them increase that amount have been unsuccessful, you should speak with a Miami insurance recovery attorney at VPM.

Consult With A Miami Insurance Recovery Attorney At VPM

If your home was damaged in a hurricane, and the insurance company has denied your claim for coverage, contact our firm to speak with a Miami insurance recovery attorney. Our attorneys focus on representing policyholders and helping them recover when their claims have been unfairly denied or delayed. We may be reached via our contact page.

Super Lawyers
Florida Legal Elite
Top Lawyer - South Florida Legal Guide
Association of Corporate Counsel - South Florida Chapter
Back to top