Watching your home and property be destroyed or damaged by a hurricane can be a traumatic, terrifying experience. When the winds have died down, and it is time to survey and manage the damage that has been delivered to your possessions, you will quickly realize that even though the storm is over, the work has only just begun. In order to get your life back on track, you will need to work through the claims process with your home insurance, which can be complicated and frustrating on its own. There are many different deadlines that you will need to meet, extensive documentation that you will have to submit, and many important steps that you will want to take in order to ensure that you are maximizing your claim amount.
Working with a hurricane claims lawyer in Florida is one of the most reliable ways that you can get through this process with as little stress as possible, and get the money that you need in order to restore your home and property to the condition they were in before the storm. 1-800-Injured has an extensive referral network that will be able to connect you to a hurricane claims lawyer.
Read more below to learn about the different types of claims that you may need to submit in order to recover the compensation that you need, and to learn about how an attorney can help you through this process. Homeowners, condo, or renters insurance are each very important protections for everyone who is at risk of hurricanes or natural disasters, among other unforeseen circumstances. Contact us now so that we can connect you with the right attorney for your needs.
What Types of Home and Property Insurance Exist?
Depending on your housing situation, there are many different options to protect your property from things like hurricanes and other natural disasters. If you own your home or condo, then you will want to opt for homeowners or condo insurance to protect your possessions, the actual building, and any possible personal injuries that may occur on your property.
If you are a renter, then you are still able to get coverage for your possessions or for personal liabilities, like with homeowners insurance, but you are not paying for (and will not get coverage for) the actual structure of the building. Renters insurance is just as important as homeowners or condo insurance and will help you to recover damages if you suffer from losses after a hurricane or other situation that costs you money that is beyond your control.
How Can an Attorney Help With a Hurricane Claim?
When you sign up for your homeowners, condo, or renters insurance, your policy may seem to be very straightforward about what is and what is not covered, which is extremely helpful when you are choosing a plan that works for you. You may also find that it is very simple when you initially begin working with an insurance adjuster after you have had damages in a hurricane. Something that is very important to keep in mind during your claims process, though, is that your insurance company is going to try to limit the amount that they pay for your claims, meaning that their best-case scenario is to issue less money than you rightfully need or deserve.
When you are working with an attorney who has a history of experience with hurricane damages and claims, you can be confident that they understand the process of filing the claim, but more importantly, they understand what to include in your claim in order to maximize the amount that you get for your claim.
Submitting Documents on Time
After you have suffered some serious damages from a hurricane, you have a lot going on in your life that will understandably distract you from making sure that you are submitting all of your documents on time. There is a three-year limit, per the Florida Statutes, for how long after the initial damage that you are able to submit your claim, but simply adhering to the legal cutoff is not all that it takes to ensure that your claims process goes as smoothly as possible.
The longer you wait to submit a claim, the more likely it is that the insurance company will question where the damages actually came from, and will possibly contest paying for some of the things in your claim because they suspect that it is not from the hurricane that you are filing a claim about. This is understandable since insurance companies do not want to be paying for things that they do not need to, but it is something that you and your attorney will need to work on to avoid.
Reopening Claims After a Payment
After you take your initial payment from the insurance company after a hurricane claim in Florida, it is everyone’s hope that you have addressed all of the issues and that you will not need any more money. However, this is not always the case. If you discover that you have additional damages to your home or property after you have accepted payment for your claim, you will need to reopen the claim, provide lots of additional documentation, and ultimately be able to clearly explain why and how you missed these issues during your first claim process.
There are many different situations that could require additional payment, such as if you filed claims for roofing damage, but the contractors ultimately discovered that there was additional damage below the roof itself that will require structural work. In other cases, there may be leaks in your roof that went unnoticed, which have now led to rot or mold, and require additional work and money. Regardless of the reason for which you need to reopen the claim, you will want to make sure that your case is strong when submitted.
Seeking Delayed Payments
After major events that cause widespread damage such as hurricanes, insurance companies may be overloaded with claims and there can be a long period of waiting between when your claim is submitted and when your payment is issued. If you have serious damages to your home, property, or personal injuries that need to be attended to, you may not have the luxury of waiting for payment from the insurance company.
When you are working with an experienced hurricane lawyer in Florida, you will have an aggressive professional on your side who understands the system and can use their experience to get your claim addressed and your payments issued in a timely manner. Otherwise, they may be able to identify alternative options that will help you get the support you need while you are waiting for the backed-up claims process to start moving again.
The Five Categories of Hurricanes
Hurricanes are separated into separate categories indicating severity using the Saffir–Simpson hurricane wind scale (SSHWS). In some instances, people will refer to a hurricane as a Category 6, but officially there are only five.
Category 1 Hurricane
A Category 1 hurricane is the least-severe storm categorized as a hurricane and will cause little to no damage to a sturdy permanent structure. These storms are characterized by sustained winds between 74 and 95 mph.
Category 2 Hurricane
A Category 2 hurricane is more serious than a Category 1, categorized by sustained winds between 96 and 110 mph. This storm can do damage to some roofs, windows, and doors, as well as mobile homes and small crafts.
Category 3 Hurricane
A category 3 hurricane has winds ranging from 111–129 mph, and can cause serious damage to temporary dwelling units and other structures without solid foundations, and can cause some structural damage to more-secured buildings.
Category 4 Hurricane
A Category 4 hurricane is extremely dangerous, with sustained winds ranging from 130–156 mph. In these storms, there is the threat of widespread damage to all structures in the storm’s radius, in addition to things like flooding, trees uprooted and snapped, and long-term damage to utility delivery systems.
Category 5 Hurricane
A Category 5 hurricane is the most severe hurricane possible, with sustained winds in excess of 157 mph. These storms threaten complete destruction of anything directly hit by these high winds. The environmental damage caused by a hurricane this severe can be devastating to the surrounding communities.
Steps to Take Before a Hurricane
As soon as you get an alert that you are in the path of a hurricane, it is important that you focus on getting the essentials together. This includes things like candles, batteries, headlamps and lanterns, freshwater, canned goods, non-perishables, prescription medication, a weather radio, some basic tools, and first aid supplies.
Create a plan with your family and housemates in case you need to evacuate. Trying to scramble to get your things together and making a plan under the stress of an evacuation order can lead to mistakes. Planning ahead will ensure that you can simply follow your own checklist instead of needing to make decisions on the fly.
Steps to Take After a Hurricane
Once the storm has subsided, it is important to remember that the hazards do not clear up with the weather. Downed power lines or damaged wiring can electrify standing water in your basement, yard, or out on the roads. These same puddles can have dangerous discharge from septic systems or sewers, so it is important to stay out of any standing water entirely.
Use the essentials you have gathered until you are provided with information from local authorities about when to begin using public drinking water, when power will be returned, and any other advice meant to keep you and your family safe.
If your home has been damaged in any way during the hurricane, gather as much photo and video evidence as possible so that you can provide ample proof to your home insurance provider when it comes time to file a claim. If you need support through this process to get the money that you actually deserve, contact 1-800-Injured as soon as possible to be connected with a hurricane lawyer.
Contact 1-800-injured Today
When you contact 1-800-Injured, you can be confident that we will be connecting you to a hurricane attorney in your area who is ready to take your case and help you fight for what you deserve from your insurance company.