Every hurricane insurance claim is different. However, most insurers have a similar claim and payout process. Here’s what you need to understand about receiving a hurricane claims check.
The Claim Process
The insurance claim process has four main steps. They are:
- Filing the Claim: The homeowner must contact the insurance company to let them know of the hurricane damage. Once you’ve spoken with a representative of the company, you will get a claim number. At this time, your claim has officially begun.
- Investigation of Claim: The insurance carrier looks at the documentation provided by the homeowner to determine if there has been damage and how much they will pay for that damage. An insurance adjuster will come to your home to make these evaluations.
- Approve or Deny Claim: The insurer agrees that there has been damage OR they deny coverage. If they deny coverage, you may need to provide additional information, documentation, or hire a public adjuster who can help you negotiate with your insurance company.
- Receive Payment: After the other steps are completed, you will receive a payment for the amount negotiated.
How An Insurance Company Pays You
Once approved, the insurance company will pay your hurricane insurance claim. This means that they will cover the damages according to your policy.
Depending on the type and amount of claim, the insurer will pay you by check. You may be paid one check, but in most cases, you will receive several payments.
- Initial payment(s) under designated coverages
- Final settlement payment(s) under designated coverages
- Emergency expenses
- Additional living expenses (ALE)
- Personal property
By the time you close your claim, the insurance company will have paid you the entire amount due.
ALE Checks Sent Directly to You
Most homeowners’ policies cover something known as additional living expenses (ALE). These are expenses you incur when you cannot live in your home due to the hurricane damages it sustained. These expenses include such things as:
- Temporary shelter such as a hotel
- Rental car
The homeowner receives these payments personally. Under no circumstances are they ever made out to a contractor or lender.
To receive ALE checks, you will need to provide your insurance company with receipts for covered living expenses. Once you receive the reimbursement check, you can deposit it into your checking account.
Some Insurance Companies Pay Contractors Directly
If your insurance carrier pays your contractor directly, you will be listed as a payee along with the contractor for the repairs on your home. Typically, the insurance carrier will provide the contractor with:
- An initial check to begin repairs
- Checks at specified stages of repair
- Final check upon approval of all repairs
Once all repairs are approved, the insurance claim is closed.
Some contractors prefer to use a “direction to pay” form. This form tells your insurance company to pay them directly with your authorization. Remember, this is a legal form. You should not sign this form without understanding what you are signing.
You also need to be sure that you are dealing with a reputable contractor. Otherwise, they could take the insurance money without doing the repairs.
Hurricane claims are not easy to navigate. Many factors affect the payout amount, and it is easy for homeowners to become buried in the necessary paperwork or feel confused about what the insurance company needs to process the claim.
If your home has experienced hurricane damage, and you are unsure how to best deal with your insurance company, have had your claim denied, or don’t feel that you are getting the full payout you deserve, contact Aftermath Adjusters & Consulting. We can help you with your claim so that you receive appropriate payments in the appropriate amount of time. Call us today at (954) 329-2456!