Understanding Hurricane Damage ClaimsFlorida frequently experiences hurricanes and other weather-related natural disasters that cause expensive damage. According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the U.S. loses more than $50 billion every year in economic damages due to hurricane-force winds and storm-related flooding. At the same time, insurance only covers around 50% of the losses. Hurricanes often cause structural issues and roof and siding damage. Depending on your insurance policy provisions and the type of damages, you can claim compensation for:
- Loss of use of your property
- Property damage to your home or business
- Damage to your fencing or other improvements on your property
- Relocation expenses, such as hotel costs
- Damage to structures on your property, like barns or sheds
Hurricane Damage Claims ProcessYou need to take several steps when filing a hurricane claim. The following steps mark the beginning of the recovery process to the settlement:
- File the claim: You should file the claim as soon as possible to protect your rights. You might want to work with a hurricane damage lawyer to ensure you have all the documents to file the claim correctly. Failing to file your claim immediately could raise suspicion, possibly causing the insurance company to delay or undervalue your claim.
- Cover up the damages: If your property suffers roof damage, you must cover the room with a tarp or other covering to prevent additional damage. If you cannot make any repairs yourself, contact a professional to assist you. In addition, hiring a professional could prevent you from causing further damage. Preventing extra damage to your home after a hurricane will lower your repair or replacement costs and help your insurance claim.
- Document the damage: Note all the damage to your home or business. Take photos and videos of all sides of your property, including the roof. Get as many close-ups as you can and take pictures of all the rooms and the damaged items. Finally, don't forget to keep a detailed inventory of all damaged property. You'll need these pictures and records to prove your losses when filing a claim.
Why Hire a Jacksonville Hurricane Damage Lawyer?Insurance companies work with adjusters and lawyers to investigate claims and negotiate settlements. Thus, taking on such professionals without legal assistance can affect your claim. For example, you may not value your claim correctly and accept a lower amount than what you're entitled to recover. If you want to protect your rights and get the maximum compensation, you should consider hiring a lawyer immediately after the hurricane. Hurricane lawyers know best how to handle insurance companies and will fight to ensure you're rightfully compensated for the damages. Your lawyer will:
- Review your case and help you understand your legal options
- Address your concerns and answer questions
- Investigate the case and gather compelling evidence to prove the damages and establish liability
- Offer advice on protecting your case
- Accurately value your claim to know how much you should pursue
- Negotiate with the insurance company for fair compensation
- File a lawsuit and take the case to court if you cannot settle the claim with the insurance company