If you’re like most people in the U.S., you live in a home and have several insurance policies on it. And if you live anywhere near the coast, chances are that, either directly or indirectly, a hurricane will affect your property at some point during your lifetime.
Before The Storm
Securing your property: While there’s nothing you can do to make a hurricane go away, you can take steps to minimize damage and make it more likely that your insurance will cover repairs.
Make sure everyone in your family knows what to do: If any relatives are elderly or disabled, or if you have children with special needs, make sure they know how best to stay safe during the storm.
Have plans for pets: Bring animals indoors and don’t leave them unattended outside.
Documenting Your Possessions
Taking photos and videos of your property before and after a hurricane may help with an insurance claim, especially if you have some of the contents covered:
- Take photos of the property before the storm hits.
- Take photos during the storm or soon after it’s passed through.
- Take pictures of damaged or destroyed items (e.g., furniture, appliances, clothing).
- Make sure to include any receipts for these items in case they’re needed for verification purposes by your insurance company—it’s also worth noting that receipts can be difficult to find after a major disaster like a hurricane, so make sure you save them somewhere safe or look up old emails for purchase receipts.
The sooner you report damage to your insurer, the better. You should contact them immediately after a hurricane has passed through your area.
If you wait too long to notify your insurer, they may not cover any losses, and/or they may only pay a portion of what was lost or damaged in the storm.
A claims adjuster will ask you to provide documentation and proof of your losses. They may also want to see photos or videos of the damage.
If you’re unsure if something should be covered under your policy, call your insurance agent or company as soon as possible. If you think there is an error in how they handled a claim, contact them again within 30 days after receiving their decision letter.
Documentation is key to a successful claim. You need to know what documents the insurance company will want to see and where they can be found. Make sure you have all of the following:
- A copy of your policy and proof of coverage (your declaration page or current billing statement)
- Proof of payment for any deductible (check stubs, bank statements)
- Claim form from the agent or company that’s doing the repairs
You should still back up any photos or documents before submitting them to your insurance company; otherwise, if something happens before they approve your claim (or reject it), all those hard-to-replace items could be lost forever! If possible, save everything in more than one place so there’s less chance of losing it all if something happens during transit between the office and home again—for example, by using a cloud service such as Dropbox or Google Drive instead of just email attachments from one computer system at work where there might not necessarily always be internet access available either due perhaps being out on-site doing inspections where cell reception may not necessarily exist nearby yet, therefore, making such backups difficult without going back into town every day which would require driving time plus gas costs).
Record all communication with your insurer. Keep detailed records of all conversations, including the name of the person you spoke with, their email address or phone number, and any promises or delays that may affect your ability to access funds to cover expenses. At the same time, you wait for them to inspect and process an initial payment on your claim.
Keep track of each call so that if there are questions later about what was said in those conversations, you can refer back to these notes.
Temporary Housing And Claims
If you need temporary housing because your home is uninhabitable due to damage caused by the hurricane, check if this is covered under your policy – if it is not, ask what other options might be available.
If you cannot return home immediately after a hurricane or other natural disaster and need temporary housing while repairs are made on your home, check with your insurer to see if this type of coverage is included in your plan.
We know filing insurance claims can be difficult, and we want to help. Call (813) 750-0513 to schedule a consultation. Our years of experience dealing with insurance claims can help make sure you get the compensation you deserve.
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