Storm Damage Claim FAQs
How Long Do I Have To File A Claim After Hurricane Like Ian?
You have three years after a hurricane to file an insurance claim according to Florida statute 627.70132. Three years seems like a lot of time but with a lot to do to get back on your feet it can pass quickly. If your home or business was impacted by this hurricane you will want to file a claim right away.
When Will I Need Help From An Attorney To File An Insurance Claim For Hurricane Ian?
It may surprise you, but we recommend you hire an attorney to file your storm damage claim straight away. By having a law firm handle your claim, we lift the burden from your shoulders and make sure that you receive the maximum benefit available under your policy.
However if your insurance claim has been denied by your insurance company after seeking compensation for damages caused by the storm, having an attorney will be essential. In some cases your attorney may even have to file a lawsuit against the insurance company in order to reach the settlement offer you deserve for the damage caused by the hurricane.
What Are The Factors That Can Affect A Hurricane Insurance Settlement?
Whether you are in Port Charlotte, North Port, Englewood, Arcadia, Fort Myers, Punta Gorda or elsewhere in southwest Florida, area there is a good chance you were affected by hurricane Ian. Hurricane damage insurance claims are very commonplace in this area, especially roof damage from the high-winds, and flooding from the rainfall and storm surge.
A number of factors that may affect you receiving money from your insurance claim include:
Your insurance coverage limits: A homeowners insurance policy may cover hurricane damage but it may not have enough coverage for the full amount of damages.
Your insurance policy lacks the right coverage: A homeowners insurance policy may not have the right type of coverage for flood damage, or wind damage. You may have to add this type of coverage separately.
If you do not document the damage that the hurricane did to your property: Lack of documentation or evidence for damages is one of the most common reasons for adjusters to deny claims to the property owners.
Bad faith acts by the insurance company: An attorney who has experience in hurricane claim damages will be able to assist you with an insurance company acting in bad faith and denying your insurance claim without a valid reason.
If You Do Not File A Hurricane Claim ASAP What Will Happen?
Florida law states that you have three years to file a claim in the state of Florida to file an insurance claim. Most homeowners policies require that you file your claim within one year of a natural disaster like a hurricane.
It is extremely important that you document damages from the hurricane, keep track of your spending receipts and file your hurricane insurance claim as soon as possible. The longer you wait to do this the greater the chances that the insurance adjuster will note that the damages were not caused by the hurricane.
Hurrican Damages That Often Lead To Insurance Claims
Florida hurricanes can cause significant types of damage. If your home was impacted by a hurricane in Florida you will want to check for wind, water, flooding and storm induced damage caused by the hurricane in your area.
Types of Damages Caused by Hurricane Ian and Similar Storms:
Wind Damage: Hurricane level wind can uproot trees, move cars or even take the roof off of a house.
Water Damage: Water levels may rise during a storm surge and engulf the surrounding land which leads to damages ranging from flood damage to a total loss of your home and yard.
Flood Damage: Flooding in the area and to your home can result in huge damages when added to storm surge damage.
Hurricane induced tornado damage: High winds and other weather conditions wrought by the hurricane can increase the chances of tornadoes also. A tornado can demolish a house and level an entire town.
The damages from a hurricane or tornado can cause the following costs to recover your home:
- Roof Damage
- Water Damage to floors, walls and ceilings
- Windows and doors that are damaged by water and wind
- Water or wind damage to jewelry, clothes, electronics, furniture and appliances
- Any damage sustained by aluminum porches or sheds on the property
- Damage Caused by Trees and Branches or Shrubbery
- Debris Removal Costs
- Damage Related to Fires or Explosions that are the result of a hurricane or other severe weather event
- Structural damage to your home
- Damage To the foundation of your home
- Damage to the roof of your home
- Utility damage for example water lines, power lines and other utilities
- Internal damage to the home or property, such as flooring, walls, appliances and more
What Are The Steps To Take For Filing Your Hurricane Insurance Claim In Southwest Florida
Be sure to file your claim in a timely manner to allow yourself a secure payout from an insurance company.
1 - Photograph the Damages: For full approval of an insurance claim. Be sure to assess the full extent of the damages in order to get the most of your claim. Underpaid claims result from lack of evidence from storm damage. Take photographs of everything surrounding the damage as well as the damaged area.
2 - Keep Detailed List of Damaged Items: Catalog the items of property that were damaged in your home or on your property from the hurricane. This will help document your claim. Your full payout should cover all the damaged items.
3 - Keep Detailed Reports for Repairs and Expenses: It may not be wise to make repairs directly after the hurricane but some repairs are necessary. If you do choose to make repairs be sure to keep detailed accounts of the repairs both before and after and a full list of expenses and receipts.
4 - File Your Insurance Claim: After all the damages have been documented. File your homeowners claim as soon as possible. This will keep insurance disputes to a minimum. Check with an adjuster to learn how long you have to file a claim.
5 - Make Necessary Repairs To Prevent Damage: Due to the amount of time it will take to receive an insurance payout you may want to make necessary repairs with out of pocket money. There will be many countless numbers of claims being made at one time.You may need to make repairs to prevent further damage to your home. If you do not repair a damaged roof you could experience water damage to your roof or ceiling during the next storm. You may be denied payment from an estimate from damages. If you are unsure whether you should make repairs on your home, speak to a representative from your insurance company and communicate your concerns so that your communication will be documented. Your insurance company may be able to make recommendations for companies to fix repairs. This will help avoid home repair fraud. You may also need to send in your repair estimates to the insurance adjuster before allowing repairs.
6 - Find Other Living Arrangements for The Repair Phase: If your home was damaged during the hurricane it may be unfit to live in. Keep a record of all expenses for your cost of living. Insurance companies may cover these expenses under a policy known as living expense coverage. If your home is uninhabitable you will be covered for these expenses.
7 - Hire A Lawyer To Seek Adequate Compensation: If you have the right attorney in Florida you can file a lawsuit against the insurance company to open an investigation of the claims process. This may help you to get a settlement offer you will need to repair your home. If you can not count on your insurance company you will need a qualified attorney at your disposal who will help you with your insurance claim for Hurricane Ian.