If you live in Florida it is likely your attention lately has been almost exclusively focused on Hurricane Ian. A devastating storm that reached Category 4, Ian slammed into the western Florida coast on September 28, 2022. The hurricane left a path of destruction in its wake, destroying homes and businesses and leaving many without power. It is likely there will be far-reaching repercussions from this deadly storm, and many people will rely on their property insurance carrier to see them through having their homes and other items repaired or replaced. While there is no guarantee you won’t have any problems recovering the compensation you need due to damage caused by Ian, there are steps you can take to improve the likelihood of having your claim approved. Our Miami insurance recovery lawyer offers advice below.
Know Your Insurance Policy
Know where your insurance policy is located and what it says. Hopefully, before the storm arrived, you placed the policy in a safe place where it could not be damaged by water and high winds. Having your own copy of the policy to refer to is always a good idea, and should you need legal counsel, your Miami insurance recovery lawyer will want a copy.
Now that the storm has passed, review your policy so that you are clear on what it does and does not cover. Be clear on your deductibles and how the claims process works. Make sure you understand how your policy handles flooding and storm surges, as some policies do not offer this coverage in their hurricane policy. Also, keep in mind it is possible that you will not have enough coverage to pay for all the damage caused by the hurricane. When this happens, you may have to cover some of the damages with money from a different source.
Contact Your Insurance Carrier As Soon As Possible
As soon as you can safely do so after the storm has passed, contact your property insurance company to let them know about the damages you have sustained. Often, damage only gets worse over time and not contacting your insurance carrier as soon as the initial damage occurs can reflect poorly on you.
Another reason to contact your insurance company as soon as possible regarding your damage is because, after a widespread natural occurrence like a hurricane, there will be many policyholders filing claims for recovery. Putting yourself on the radar with your insurance company as early as possible will help you receive assistance sooner rather than later.
Prove Your Losses
This may seem like a simple step, but it is a matter our Miami insurance recovery lawyer has often had to litigate. Your insurance company will want proof that the damages exist as well as proof that they are a result of Hurricane Ian. Take photos and videos of all the damage done to your property by the storm. If you have any photos or videos before the storm that show how the property looked before Ian hit, that can also help to prove your damages. If you make any sort of temporary repairs, take photos or videos of the damage to explain why the temporary repairs were necessary.
Also, if you lost personal items in the hurricane, make a detailed list of everything lost. Instead of just listing “dresser,” list anything that will help determine the value of the dresser, such as when it was bought, the name brand, and how much was paid for it. Receipts, if you have them, are very helpful.
If you have items that were damaged beyond repair that you wish to throw away, it may be in your best interest to wait until the insurance adjuster has seen them before discarding them.
Also, save all receipts. If you had to make temporary repairs, or if you had to find another place to stay because your home is no longer habitable, save the receipts for everything you have to spend. It may be possible to have your insurance carrier reimburse you for these expenses.
Mitigate Your Losses
Loss mitigation is a concept that means that when property damage happens, the property owner must take reasonable steps to prevent the damage from becoming more extensive or damaging other property. For example, if Hurricane Ian ripped a corner off your roof, and now that the storm is over, water is still coming into the property through this ripped hole, you should cover the hole with a tarp to prevent further water damage from occurring.
Failure to mitigate your losses can complicate your ability to recover for the damage caused by Ian. The insurance company may argue that any damage that occurred after the storm could have been easily prevented by you, therefore, they will not provide any compensation for it. When this happens, you need to speak with a Miami insurance recovery lawyer.
Proceed With Caution
You cannot assume that the insurance adjuster, and the insurance company in general, is on your side. When speaking with representatives from the company, including the adjuster, remember that they want to make your claim go away by paying as little as possible under the terms of your policy. Be polite and truthful, but do not make the mistake of thinking that their goals align with your own. If you do become involved in a dispute with your adjuster, or if it is clear from the beginning that the insurance company is not wanting to pay you what you are owed, you need to speak with a Miami insurance recovery lawyer.
Speak With A Miami Insurance Recovery Lawyer at Ver Ploeg & Marino
If your claim for property damage caused by Hurricane Ian has been denied, speak with a Miami insurance recovery lawyer at our firm. We are experienced professionals that concentrate our practice on helping policyholders recover the compensation they are owed. Contact us today.Share