The damage from a hurricane is devastating. The claim process for that damage is long and difficult. Here are the steps you should take when filing an insurance claim once you’ve contacted your insurance company.
Step 1: Make a Damaged Property List
Before you do anything, you need to take an inventory of your home. Note where the property damage is. Also, note which contents have damage. A good way to make this inventory is by taking photos or video. A visual record will be more helpful than a written description. If you happen to have receipts for any contents, put them with the damaged property list.
Step 2: Look at Your Insurance Policies
How much money you get in a settlement will depend on the insurance coverage you have. Here are some things to remember:
- Your home insurance will cover some damages but not others. Windstorm insurance and flood insurance may cover the rest. Hurricane damage can be tricky. Your home insurance typically covers hurricane damage due to heavy rain and wind. However, flooding is not covered. In Florida, you should consider purchasing a separate flood insurance policy.
- If you don’t have flood insurance, you may still be able to get federal disaster assistance. To get this type of assistance, the damage in your area must be declared a disaster by the President of the United States.
- Florida homeowners have hurricane deductibles that are based on a percentage of your home’s value. You can find out the details of the hurricane deductible on your policy’s declaration page.
Step 3: Mitigate Further Losses But Nothing More
It is very tempting to clean up and begin making property repairs. However, don’t do too much. Throwing out damaged property or making repairs before the insurance adjuster sees it can lead to a lower payout. If the adjuster doesn’t see the damage, they can’t make an accurate loss estimate.
Prior to making temporary repairs, be sure to document the loss with photos first. Do only what is necessary and let your policy cover the rest.
Step 4: Submit Your Claim
When a hurricane strikes, many homeowners will file damage claims. That’s why it is important to file as soon as you can. However, be sure to follow the rules dictated by your insurance company including time constraints.
Once you’ve submitted a claim, an insurance adjuster from your insurance company will come to your property. While there, they will look at the damages and determine the settlement.
Step 5: Have Patience When Filing an Insurance Claim
Patience is an important part of the process, as is diligence. Be sure to document everything. Although the claims process takes time, doing things the right way can help you get a strong settlement more quickly.
Bonus Step: Hire a Public Adjuster
When providing steps for filing an insurance claim after a hurricane, we cannot leave out the need to hire a public adjuster. Not only will they help with Steps 1 to 5 listed here, but they will also help negotiate the highest payout possible given your damage and your insurance policy.
Aftermath Adjusters & Consulting has been helping homeowners file hurricane insurance claims for years. We have extensive experience with each step of the claims process. If you have hurricane damage, give us a call. We look forward to being your advocate.