Hurricane Hermine has finally concluded her 20-day journey, forming off the coast of Cuba, traveling north through the Gulf of Mexico, making landfall in Florida and blazing through areas of Georgia and the Carolinas before terminating off the Maryland-New Jersey coast.
The storm had many faces, from tropical storm to depression and finally to hurricane and back to a tropical storm before withering away. Left in her wake were some homes with extensive property damage.
Some residents and business owners in Tallahassee are feeling Hermine’s aftermath as they deal with the extra burden of cleanup costs. In one instance, a tree tore through the Sickle Cell Foundation, just outside the Golden Park neighborhood, damaging the roof and flooding the inside. “Our building is not habitable, our workers have been displaced,” Velma Stevens, Executive Director foundation told WCTV.
Hermine, the first hurricane to make landfall in Florida since 2005, brings up a lot of things to discuss, but one of the most important is what to do if your home and property suffers damage because of the storm. Specifically, there are things you should do to ensure you have the strongest insurance claim possible when you contact your insurance company.
On that note, here are four important things you should do after a hurricane.
1. Document Everything
First and foremost, document everything. Taking photographs of all the things that have been damaged on your property will greatly assist you when filing your insurance claim. In fact, it is probably best to document your property before the storm, if possible, so you have a representation of your covered home and property both before and after the storm.
But make sure you are getting your entire home in the shot, as extreme close-ups are unhelpful in proving your home suffered damages during the storm.
Likewise, taking inventory before and after the storm will help you to keep track of personal belongings that were damaged. The more information you have, the better it will help to bolster your claim.
2. Cover Up Damaged Property
The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Ready initiative encourages homeowners to cover up the damaged property. This includes putting a tarp on damaged roof or any other area to prevent water intrusion. This will help to contain existing and prevent further damages in the days following the hurricane.
3. File a Claim Promptly
Keep in mind that many insurance companies have reporting deadlines so it is important that you file your claims immediately after a storm. If you decide to make minor repairs in your home post-hurricane, take steps to stay in contact with your insurance company and notify them of all outside vendors that are brought in to make repairs.
4. Call A Law Firm that Specializes in Insurance Disputes
Even after you’ve taken all the steps to ensure that your claim is accepted by the insurance companies, problems can still arise. Companies are sometimes caught not acting in the best interest of their customers. But fortunately, there are attorneys who specialize in these types of disputes. Reasons to seek the help of an attorney can range from denial that insurance coverage ever existed to companies trying to lowball you with undervalued estimates, offers, or payments — and many more.
Having your hurricane insurance policy in place before before a storm hits provides some great peace of mind. However, sometimes that peace is shattered when an insurance company decided to add insult to injury by making it difficult to file a successful claim. If they don’t outright deny your claim, they might try to lowball you or make you wait too long. That could mean spending all your money to repair your house and property, when you thought you were covered. You don’t need that.
If you encounter such problems, don’t hesitate to contact us for a free, no-risk case evaluation. Morgan & Morgan is knowledgeable at handling any insurance disputes that may arise between you and an insurance company. Our attorneys want to not only keep insurance companies accountable for their actions, but also to give you the opportunity to get your life back on track.