Hurricanes are a way of life for people who live in Florida, but that doesn’t mean that we all know exactly what to do when we are filing hurricane insurance claims. If you have suffered damages to your home or property, or you have had personal injuries on your property during a hurricane, then you will need to file a hurricane insurance claim in order to get compensated for the money that each of these issues cost you. The claims process may not initially seem complicated, but there are many steps that you can take that will likely increase the amount that you get as payment from the insurance company.
Working with a hurricane lawyer is one of the best ways that you can work through the claims process with the confidence that you will be compensated for everything that you deserve payment for after the hurricane. With their help, you will be able to be certain that you have provided all necessary documentation explored all possible angles of the claim, and that you are advocating for your rights in a way that gets you the money that you need, and not just the money that the insurance company wants to pay.
In order to learn more about how hurricane insurance claims work, how an attorney can support you in this process, and how 1-800-Injured’s referral network of experienced lawyers can connect you with the right legal professional for your needs, read more below. If you need help with your hurricane insurance claims in Florida, contact us today and we will connect you with a lawyer who is ready and willing to take your case as soon as possible.
What is a hurricane insurance claim?
If your home, condo, business property, or possessions in a rental are damaged or destroyed in a hurricane, you will need to gather all of the relevant financial information for the repair and replacement costs of everything that was impacted. Once you have compiled all of this information, you will then submit an insurance claim to your relevant insurance company, whether it is your homeowners, condo, renters, or other insurance company who is responsible for covering these types of damages.
In some areas that are prone to damage from hurricanes and other windstorms, you may be required to purchase additional policies in order to financially protect yourself from these types of natural disasters. Each claims process will be unique to the type of insurances that you carry, and which agency is appropriate to file with. An attorney will be able to help you sort through the different insurance policies and companies that you work with in order to determine the right approach to this situation.
How do insurance companies pay out claims?
Once you have submitted a claim to your insurance company, they will assign an insurance adjuster to your case. This adjuster works on behalf of the insurance company in order to inspect the damage themselves, verify your claims, and then return to the insurance company with their own report of the situation.
The insurance adjuster will use this report in order to determine how much the insurance company should pay you in order to cover the financial aspects of the damages that you have incurred. Keep in mind that if you have a deductible on your policy that you have not yet paid, or have only paid a portion of, then this money will be deducted from the claims payment that you will receive.
Once the adjuster has finalized their assessment, the insurance company will issue a check to cover the damages that they must pay for.
Does homeowners insurance cover hurricane damage?
A hurricane is a complex storm with a variety of different factors that contribute to the amount of destruction that it causes. High winds are one of the primary hallmarks of a hurricane, but in coastal areas, flooding is equally as common and possibly even more destructive than the high winds. In many cases, a standard homeowners insurance policy does not cover water damage due to flooding, but likely covers damage to your home due to high winds, downed trees, debris, and more.
If you are in an area that is prone to floods during storms, you will want to look into securing a policy from the National Flood Insurance Program through FEMA. This policy, in tandem with your homeowners’ insurance and any other policies that you carry, will help to cover the costs of any damage caused by a hurricane.
Finally, you will want to learn more about your specific requirements, deductible options, and coverage needs through the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation. It is important that you understand what your policies do and do not cover before you need to file a claim with your insurance company, so that you are not surprised by things that are not covered in your protection or that you do not miss anything that is covered. Unfortunately, many hurricane victims discover that they opted for a less-expensive policy without realizing that they are not covered for some of the damages that they suffer following a catastrophic event like a major hurricane.
What is covered under hurricane insurance?
As you can imagine, there are a variety of different combinations that are available to choose from when you are shopping for a hurricane insurance plan that best suits you. First, it is essential that you are clear on the terms and limitations of your homeowners, condo, or renters insurance to be certain of what you are covered for with this first policy. From there, you may need to purchase additional policies such as flood insurance and windstorm insurance depending on what your original policy includes. If you are unsure of what your policy includes and does not include, contact your insurance company as soon as possible to speak with a representative before a situation arises where you need to file a claim.
If you have a combination of policies that include protection against floods and windstorms, as well as the standard damages that a homeowners policy covers, then you will be protected from financial liability for repairs or replacements needed after high water damage or high winds.
Since all insurance policies vary greatly from one package to the next, and the minimum required coverage varies depending on where you live in Florida, it is very important that you consult with a legal professional who understands the hurricane insurance claim process, and can make recommendations to you about which policies are most important to protect your assets. 1-800-Injured can connect you with a trusted hurricane attorney who can help you make sense of your policies and ensure that you select all of the options that cover you and your family from financial liability for hurricane damages.
How do I make an insurance claim after a hurricane?
The first step to any insurance claim is contacting the insurance company who will be handling your situation. After a hurricane, you will need to contact each relevant insurance company that you have a policy with that you will need to file a claim through. For example, if a tree fell on your home or there was electrical damage because of debris, then you will likely need to contact your homeowners insurance company in order to file a claim. However, if the damage is from flooding or high winds, and you are required to have separate policies for these types of damages, then you will need to contact your flood insurance provider or your windstorm insurance provider.
You will need to take inventory of all of the damage that was inflicted by the hurricane, and work with contractors in order to get the repairs done quickly, or to have estimates submitted for the required work. The combination of quotes, estimates, and invoices for work completed will play a central part in your claims process.
Once you have informed the insurance company of the relevant damage and your financial estimates, they will assign an adjuster to your case who will investigate your situation and verify your claims. The adjuster is extremely helpful in walking you through this part of the process, but it is very important that you remember who the adjuster works for. Their job is to prioritize the insurance company’s financial interests, not to give you every dollar that you would like to receive to help with the repairs.
Working with a hurricane attorney through the claims process can be exceptionally helpful, because they can work directly with the adjuster through the entire investigation in order to make sure that every aspect of your situation is addressed and accounted for. Before your final claim is submitted, you can rest easy knowing that there is an experienced professional making sure that your circumstances are clearly presented to the insurance company in order to maximize your payment.
How long does it take for an insurance company to pay out a claim?
In accordance with the Florida Homeowner Claims Bill of Rights, you have the right to “within 90 days, subject to any dual interest noted in the policy, receive full settlement payment for your claim or payment of the undisputed portion of your claim or your insurance company’s denial of your claim.”
What this means is that after you have submitted your claim, the insurance company has 90 days from your submission to issue a payment for either the full amount that you are owed, or the maximum amount that you both agree to before you begin a series of additional negotiations, or they must issue a denial of your claim with clear justification for this decision.
If your insurance company offers you far less than what you and your Florida hurricane attorney have determined that you truly deserve, you will then begin the process of negotiation over the difference in amounts that you each have determined to be fair. If you simply accept their initial payment offer in exchange for waiving your rights to any future legal action regarding this specific claim, then you will be unable to pursue any additional compensation. It is important that you take each step of this process seriously, and work with your lawyer to make sure that each decision you make is calculated and improves your chances of a fair and comprehensive payment.
If you and your attorney have decided to move forward with negotiations instead of accepting the offer, then you will be working on a different timeline than the initial 90 days set forth by the Florida Homeowner Bill of Rights. You will need to consult directly with your lawyer in order to understand exactly what to expect once you decide to reject the initial offer, since each process is different.
Can you cash an insurance claim check?
When your insurance company offers you a payment for your damages, you and your attorney will need to work together to determine whether or not you believe that this payment offer is fair for the amount of damage that have suffered. If you are in agreement with the amount of the offer, then you will be able to accept the offer, cash the check, and use the funds in order to cover all of the losses and expenses that the hurricane has caused you.
However, if you believe that the amount that the insurance company has offered you as compensation for the damages to your home and property is too low, then you and your attorney will use this as a starting point for your negotiations. Depending on a variety of factors, you may or may not be able to cash a check during your negotiations that will cover the initial, undisputed portion of the offer, but it is extremely important that you are fully aware of any possible consequences of cashing the check.
In order to protect their own interests, it is a common practice for insurance companies to require that the recipient of a final claim payment to waive their rights to any future claims in regards to this specific situation. Before you sign anything legally binding, make sure that you are very clear on the consequences of this agreement, and that your attorney has advised you to do so.
How do you negotiate a settlement with an insurance claims adjuster?
Negotiating a settlement with an insurance claims adjuster or insurance company is a complicated process that will put you up against an experienced, aggressive legal team working on behalf of the insurance company. Your negotiation will begin by you making it clear that you disagree with the settlement offer that the adjuster has made in regard to your situation, and you will need to supplement your argument with clear, concrete reasons. Not only will you need concrete evidence of why you are unhappy with the initial offer, but you will need clear, comprehensive information that has informed your request for a larger amount of money. If you do not have a clear number in mind for what you think that you owe, then you will not be able to make an effective argument during your negotiations.
It is strongly recommended by nearly everyone familiar with insurance claims that you hire an attorney who is familiar with the negotiations process to help you through this complicated, and sometimes contentious, period. Keep in mind that an insurance company’s business model is not centered on issuing every payment that every claimant asks for, but instead centers on minimizing the amount of money that they pay for any given claim while protecting their future legal interests. Since this is the case, it is no surprise that the legal teams retained by insurance companies are aggressive and experienced in defending their clients from additional payments.
Your attorney will be able to take charge of the negotiations and deal directly with the insurance adjuster and the legal team handling your claim. Their experience with these types of claims will be very helpful during the process, and their network of experts and references in other fields will be able to inform their decisions every step of the way. When you hire an attorney, you are not only hiring them for their legal knowledge but for their network that they are able to leverage in order to gather all of the necessary information for a given decision.
Contact 1-800-Injured Today To Be Connected With a Hurricane Insurance Claims Lawyer
1-800-Injured is a lawyer referral service that connects clients with hurricane damage attorneys. Contact us now and we will connect you with an experienced hurricane lawyer who will be able to help you through every step of your claims process, from submitting your initial paperwork to the day that you sign your final claims check.
We understand that you have a lot to focus on after you have experienced damages to your home and property, which is why we are happy to help reduce your stress by taking care of finding the right attorney for you. The sooner you contact us, the sooner you will be able to start working with your attorney on a claim with the confidence that you are taking all of the right steps to protect you and your family from any unnecessary financial burdens.