Practical steps to begin the process of recovering from a hurricane in Florida.
If you live in Florida, then you know that hurricanes are a threat each and every year. No matter if you live on the coast or the center of the state, hurricanes can cause catastrophic damage to your home and personal property.
Most Floridians understand this risk and have secured specific home insurance to cover themselves when a hurricane disaster takes place. However, most homeowners do not understand what they should do immediately following the hurricane. This article is written to help those whose homes were damaged by a hurricane (or may be in the future), and is meant to steer them in the right direction so that they may fully recover from a hurricane loss.
What should I do during and after a hurricane?
The first and most important thing you can do is keep safe. Your personal safety, and the safety of your loved ones, should always be your first concern. During a hurricane, heavy winds and rains can cause the structure of your home to fail. You should always take shelter in a secure room with no windows.
With any serious hurricane contact, damage to your home and your personal items is bound to happen. Water from the storm can soak into your carpeting, furniture, walls, and in extreme circumstances, can flood your home for a prolonged period of time. Flood damage can cause an array of issues, from stucco damage to the weakening of your home’s structural integrity.
Hurricanes can also cause unexpected issues that are not necessarily top of mind when it comes to hurricane damage. For example, fire damage is quite common after a hurricane in Florida, due to lighting and damaged electrical cables.
Always take pictures of your property and home prior to a hurricane, this way you have proof that the damage was not present prior to the hurricane. Immediately following a hurricane, you always want to look over your house and access the damage. Look for broken windows, structural damage, roof damage, water damage, etc. Take note of every issue and document it. Take pictures and keep a detailed log of every issue you find.
Why should I take pictures of the hurricane damage?
When making a claim for the damage to your home, the insurance company is going to need documentation; and what better way to prove damage than an actual photo of the issue. Photos allow an adjuster to see the damage immediately after it occurred. You can also send the adjuster the photos of the house which you took before the storm so that they can see a before and after comparison.
Should I contact my home insurance company after a hurricane?
Yes, it is important to get in contact with your insurance company immediately so that they can begin to assess the damage and get you on your way to recovery.
Your insurance company will likely send an adjuster out to your home to inspect the damage and make a determination as to what repairs will need to be made. Notifying the insurance company right away is important if you have an issue with them down the road. The last thing you want to do is wait months before giving notice of damage and have the insurance company claim that the damage was caused after the storm.
[Click this link if you are interested in learning about renters insurance after a hurricane.
What should I do if my insurance company will not pay for the damage to my home?
Insurance companies are a business, and at the end of the day, they want to keep profits as high as possible. With that being said, they will usually come up with any reason to avoid paying you the full value of your claims.
If this happens and you find that the insurance company is not wanting to fairly compensate you for the damage to your home, you may need to reach out to an experienced homeowners insurance claim attorney. Sometimes, having an attorney on your side is the only way to guarantee that you get the compensation you deserve.
If you, or someone you know, was affected by a hurricane and sustained damage as a result, have them reach out to Geoffery Pfeiffer at the Dolman Law Group. The experienced attorneys at the Dolman Law Group can be reached at 727-451-6900, or by emailing us through our online contact form.