So you’ve survived Hurricane Ian—but your home and belongings haven’t fared as well. If you’re like thousands of other Florida residents, you’re preparing to file a homeowners’ insurance claim.
The claims process can be a headache when you’re dealing with cleanup, too. Here’s what you need to know to get the most out of your insurance, recover the costs for your damaged items, and get back your peace of mind.
The Insurance Claim Process After Hurricane Ian
There are several important steps to follow when filing a hurricane claim with your insurance company.
Photograph And Take Videos Of All Property Damage
The first thing you should do is take photos and videos of your property, inside and out. This provides evidence of the hurricane damage for your claims adjuster.
Make A Detailed List Of Property Damage Including Makes And Models
Next, make a detailed list of all property that was damaged, including make and model number. Having a detailed list of your items can speed up reimbursement.
Contact Your Insurer
Once you’ve documented the damage, contact your homeowner’s insurance company. Provide your insurance company with your contact information, paperwork, and evidence needed for the claims process.
Also, review your current insurance coverage to understand what is covered and how much you will be expected to pay out-of-pocket.
A Claims Adjuster Will Visit To Review The Damage
Once you’ve contacted your insurer, they will arrange to send out an insurance adjuster to your property. The adjuster will review the damage and evaluate the claim.
You can make temporary repairs to your property before the adjuster comes out. In fact, most insurers want you to take steps to protect your property from further damage. Use tarps to cover broken windows or doors, remove items soaked by storm surge, and run fans to dry out wet areas.
A Report Will Be Prepared By The Claims Adjuster
Once they’ve assessed the damage, the insurance adjuster will prepare their report. Claims adjusters are the insurance company’s “eyes and ears,” and their report will help decide whether your losses are covered and for how much.
There are also public adjusters in Florida who can work on your behalf, especially if you have a very large claim. They charge a percentage of your total payout for their services.
A Check Will Be Issued
Once the insurance adjuster has reviewed the damage, your insurer will issue ya check to you for the covered amount. Some homeowners’ policies also pay for additional living expenses during this time.
3 Post-Hurricane Ian Tips
Getting reimbursed for Hurricane Ian property damage may take some time. Here are some tips to keep in mind post-Ian (and for the next hurricane season, too).
Track All Receipts And Expenses
Keep detailed records of all your purchases and expenses. Don’t forget to save receipts for hotel stays and other living expenses while you’re out of your home.
Be Aware Of How Your Policy Handles Repairs
Find out how your insurer plans to handle the repair process once you’ve paid your deductible. Many insurers will work directly with policyholders to choose materials, arrange for repairs, and manage subcontractors.
Take Advantage Of In-Person Support
Hurricane recovery can be a stressful process. Lean on the in-person support available to you, including FEMA disaster recovery centers. You can find one nearby at disasterassistance.gov. Florida also offers support and FAQs via the state’s division of emergency management.
Factors That Determine The Settlement Amount
How much you will receive from your insurance company depends on several factors.
The type of property insurance you have will affect your payout.
- Replacement cost policies will offer you the amount needed to replace your possessions. Cash value replacement policies will instead offer you the value of the item minus depreciation.
- Extended replacement cost policies can help you cover the cost to replace your dwelling if building costs exceed the value of your policy.
- Stated amount policies, like those for mobile homes, pay the amount stated in your agreement.
It’s important to note that you must purchase through the national flood insurance program to have flood damage covered.
Florida’s Hurricane Deductible
Florida property insurance policies typically offer a hurricane deductible that must be paid before the hurricane insurance claim check is issued. This deductible is available as a flat $500, or you can choose 2%, 5%, or 10% of your dwelling coverage. It applies to wind damage incurred during a named storm, and only within a certain time frame.
Any Limits On Your Policy
Of course, any stated limits on your home insurance policy will be in effect and will cap the amount you are able to receive.
Repairs And Rebuilding
Homeowners’ insurance policies pay for you to repair and/or rebuild your home. When all is said and done, you may decide to sell and move to a rental instead; you should still obtain renters insurance if you choose that path.
Temporary Living Expenses
Your policy should pay to cover living expenses for the loss of use of your home. This can include rent, meals, and even utilities at your temporary home.
Different types of damages will involve different damage claims.
- For flooded vehicles (with comprehensive coverage), file the loss with your auto insurance company.
- For fallen trees, expect a $500 payment for removal and costs up to your coverage limit for repairs.
- For hurricane-related water damage, such as rain (but not flooding), confirm coverage with your insurance agent.
Insurers in states subject to frequent natural disasters, such as Florida and Louisiana, understand that you’ll likely need to relocate, at least while repairs are being made. Your policy should cover these costs, so keep your receipts.
The Payment Process
Under most policies, you have one year to file a claim for hurricane damage. Meet with the adjuster, and if you have a mortgage, keep your mortgage lender in the loop, too. Choose your repair company and begin replacing your damaged items so you can get reimbursed as soon as possible.
Here’s What To Do If Your Claim Is Denied
If you run into problems with your insurer, such as denials, delays, or unfair payments, a bad faith lawsuit may be necessary to settle the matter.
Contact Your Tampa-Based Hurricane Ian Insurance Claims Lawyers
When you’re ready to file your Hurricane Ian claim, the right advisors can make all the difference. Get expert support from the hurricane claim attorneys at Burnett law. Request a free consultation today.