- The insurance adjuster has questions that need answering, but the homeowner doesn’t have the answers
- Homeowners do not have all the necessary documents to prove a claim
- Insurance policy clauses are misunderstood, leaving the homeowner without the coverage they assumed they had
- Florida legislature enacted a reform that changed the way claims are handled
As residents deal with the aftermath of Ian, here are five insurance claim tips to keep in mind.
Your safety, and that of your family, is more important than anything else. Never enter your property unless it is safe to do so. If your home is structurally unsound, then leave everything to professionals who have the knowledge and safety equipment to inspect the property.
If it is safe to enter the property, you need to document the damages you find. The easiest way to do this is by photographing the home – inside and out. This includes your personal belongings. You may also want to photograph or video the neighborhood to help your insurance company see what happened in the area.
Remember, safety is key. Do not go near downed power lines and evacuate the area if you smell gas.
Once you have the documentation, it is time to report the damage to your insurance carrier. Be sure that you keep a written record of:
- The person you spoke to
- What was said
- Any emails, faxes, or text conversations
Keep all of this in one place. You may need this information in case they delay, deny, or underpay your claim.
Time is of the essence after a storm like Ian that devastated so many properties. Insurance companies after a natural disaster become overwhelmed, so those that get their claim in quickly will see a faster turnaround time.
Do Your Due Diligence
It is unfortunate, but scam contractors flock to areas with natural disasters. Their goal is to take your money and disappear before you know what has happened. Additionally, contractors with little experience or poor workmanship also come on the scene, charging expensive rates for inferior work.
To combat this, make sure you:
- Work with local contractors
- Check to be sure they are licensed in Florida
- Get a copy of their insurance
- Look them up online
- Check their references
Finally, never sign an Assignment of Benefits agreement or clause. Doing so signs away your rights to the settlement money from your damage claim.
Consider a Public Adjuster
As you can imagine, the claims process is difficult even in the best of circumstances. During a natural disaster the size of Ian, insurance companies are working hard to settle and close claims. This can mean:
- Rushed inspections
- Missed damage
- Lost paperwork
Having a public adjuster on your side is one way to ensure that you get the settlement you deserve. They can help you document the damage, file the necessary paperwork, handle inspections, determine repair estimates, and negotiate on your behalf with your insurance company. Having this kind of advocate in your corner can make a stressful situation much easier to navigate.
If you’ve suffered damage due to Hurricane Ian or any other storm, please give us a call. Our public adjuster team has 50+ years of experience helping clients with their insurance claims, and we are well-versed dealing with hurricane-related damage. Call us today.