Florida’s hurricane season has come to an end but, for many Floridians, it is just the beginning of efforts to recover. Faced with the devastation of a hurricane’s wrath, you may be inclined to begin cleanup efforts, hire a local handyman to do quick repairs, or demolish property that you believe is beyond repair. Don’t do any of these things. The experienced disaster recovery specialists at Ged Lawyers, LLP, compiled their list of things you should never do during the hurricane insurance claims process:
Don’t wait to notify your insurance company of your claim
You may think that it is best to wait to notify your insurance company about your claim until all your paperwork is organized and you have gathered evidence of your claim. This is not the case. Contact your insurance company as soon as possible after the damage occurred, to report the damage sustained and notify them that you will be filing a claim. In situations where a hurricane has caused property damage, and there are numerous homeowners and communities affected by the storm, the insurance company can quickly become backlogged with claims. It is in your best interests to report your damage right away so that your insurer can send an insurance adjuster to assess the damage as soon as possible. Many insurance policies also specify a timeframe during which you are required to notify them of your claim.
Don’t immediately throw away your damaged belongings
It is human nature to want to immediately toss wet, broken, demolished belongings in an effort to begin the process of post-hurricane recovery. Resist this temptation. As difficult as it may be to stare at the devastation of your home or property, it is critical that you do not throw anything away until you have documented the damage. So take photos and videos to record your property damage; you will need evidence to support your hurricane damage claim. Once you have properly documented the damage, then do what you can to salvage any property to protect it from further damage, providing it is safe to do so.
Don’t give an insurance adjuster the wrong information
You may be inclined to offer additional information to an insurance adjuster, such as what you think caused property damage. In doing so, you may reduce the amount of coverage you receive for certain repairs. If, for example, you mention that you have been meaning to replace missing roof shingles for some time, you may inadvertently give the insurance adjuster the information they need to deny part of your claim. After all, damage that is sustained due to normal wear and tear or poor maintenance is not covered by homeowners insurance.
Don’t accept your insurance company’s denial of your claim
Just because your insurance company has denied your hurricane insurance claim does not mean that the decision is final. Insurance contracts are legally binding agreements between the policyholder and the insurer and are subject to interpretation by the courts. So don’t immediately accept your insurance company’s denial of your claim. Instead, ask for a written explanation as to why the claim has been denied and consult with an experienced disaster recovery specialist.
Questions about your hurricane insurance claim? Give us a call
The disaster recovery specialists at Ged Lawyers, LLP are experienced and knowledgeable in all aspects of hurricane insurance claims. Contact a member of our team at 844-443-3529 or online to discuss your claim.