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How To Document Your Ft. Myers, Florida Storm Damage

As many Ft. Myers, Florida residents learned, hurricanes can hit the area and hit fast. Hurricane Ian in September of 2022 devastated the Ft. Myers area, doling out storm damage unlike many have seen before. For some area home and property owners, this was the first time they have had to document their damages, file claims, and try to rebuild after a serious storm. A lot can be learned that first time, but the assistance of a property damage attorney in Ft. Myers can save you from having to learn those tough lessons the hard way.

Learning how to document your storm damage can make all the difference in the success of your claim. It’s important to remember that insurance companies are companies first, even if they promise you the world in order to get you to sign up for one of their policies. Denied claims, low payouts, and getting the runaround is something that many Ft. Myers residents learned all about after the damage laid out by Hurricane Ian. What they may not know is that this process could be made much smoother with the assistance of a storm damage attorney by your side.

In the immediate aftermath of a storm, one should think of their property like a crime scene. The untouched scene of your storm damaged property tells a story, and it’s a story your insurance company is going to try to change if the proof isn’t provided. Before touching anything, moving anything, or covering anything up, go through your property and take photos of everything you can exactly as it is after the storm has calmed down. Flooded rooms, strewn belongings, blown roof tiles, broken windows, and property damage should be shown as-is in the direct storm aftermath. If you must move items in order to access certain rooms or areas of the property, take photos first before moving anything.

After you’ve taken photos of your property as it stands, you’ll then be expected to protect your property from further damage. This is called damage mitigation, and it’s often required by insurance companies in Ft. Myers, Florida. Placing tarps over holes in the ceiling, boarding up windows, and temporarily repairing doors so the elements can be kept out as effectively as possible will help you to find better success with your claim. As you make these temporary repairs and protect your property, take plenty of photos to provide to your insurance as proof of your damage mitigation efforts.

Once your property has been protected to the best of your ability, it’s time to sit down and document your belongings. Using the photographs you’ve taken at the scene, categorize photos of items along with information about said items to provide to your insurance claim. Documenting damaged property should look something like:

• Photo and name of item – The first piece of information should be the name of the item you’re documenting along with the photo from the storm damage scene. Being as specific as possible is recommended, so instead of labeling a computer as “Computer” it should be labeled “HP Laptop ef3000” with as many specifics as possible.

• Year of purchase – It’s okay if you cannot remember the exact year of purchase but getting as close as possible is necessary. For instance, if you have a living room set that was purchased sometime between 2015 and 2018, but you can’t remember exactly what year, labeling “Purchased between 2015 and 2018” is suitable.

• Approximate purchase price – Estimating your purchase price may be necessary, but make sure your estimate is as accurate as possible.

• Condition of item before storm – Also outline the condition of your items before the storm. If an item was in excellent used condition, new condition, needs repaired, or poor condition, label this clearly alongside the photo, name, purchase date, and purchase price.

A storm damage claims attorney can help to walk you through the process of effectively documenting and organizing your property damage after a storm has occurred in Ft. Myers. With quicker payouts and more successful claims, it’s easier to get back to life after the storm.

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