Floridians expect hurricanes as a normal part of life in the Sunshine State
Whether it was Irene, Harvey, Irma, Maria, Florence or Michael, if you live in Florida, you probably were affected by a hurricane during the last couple of years. These recent hurricanes did serious damage to property. Even if you have prepared for the storm and have insurance, what you do after the storm can make a big difference in how your hurricane insurance claim is handled.
If you are a property owner, here are five things you should never do when you have filed or will file a hurricane insurance claim.
1.Don’t stay in your home if it is not safe to do so
Take precautions. If there is a possibility that the storm or its damage might require you to leave your home, secure your property and turn off your gas, water and electricity. If you are told to leave your home or suspect that it may not be safe to stay, leave. Find a place to shelter safely until you know it is okay to return. If you stay when it is unsafe, you not only put yourself in danger, you also put first responders in danger. In addition, if your house is not safe, your insurance company may reimburse you for the expenses you incur when you are unable to go home.
2.Don’t return to your home
You may be eager to go home and see how if you have any property damage. Don’t return home. Wait until you are told it is safe to return home. Rescue workers may be helping others and searching for survivors. There may be dangers that you cannot see such as downed power lines, unsafe structures or gas leaks. Don’t put your family, your neighbors, rescue workers and repair crews in more danger.
3.Don’t wait to contact your insurance company
Immediately after you are evacuated or after you know your home has been damaged, contact your insurance company. The insurance companies will be very busy in the aftermath of the storm. The sooner you file your claim, the quicker they can get someone to assess the damage and compensate you for your claim. Your insurance policy may also have a “prompt notice” clause that requires you to contact the insurance company as soon as possible.
4.Don’t throw away damaged items
You need to document the damage to your home and property so you can prove the extent of the damage in your insurance claim. Take pictures and videos of all damaged items before you throw anything away. If you make emergency repairs, document them before and after the repair. Don’t throw away damaged items until an insurance adjuster has seen the damage. Additional assistance and advice can be found on the Florida Division of Consumer Services website.
5.Don’t try to handle a hurricane insurance claim without professional help
If you do not consult with a hurricane claims lawyer, you could lose thousands of dollars that you are owed. Hurricane claims attorneys specialize in insurance disputes and can help you determine if you are receiving fair treatment from your insurance company.
Knowledgeable Florida Insurance Dispute Attorneys Help You get Fair Compensation for Your Claim
After a storm, Johnson & Williams, P.A. can help you with your insurance claims. Our hurricane claims lawyers help people in Orlando, Winter Haven and Kissimee get the funds you deserve from your insurance company. Call (407) 245-1268 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.