Hurricane Ian hit Florida’s southwest coast as a Category 4 hurricane and left behind catastrophic wind and flood damage. As the state begins to recover from natural disasters, safety will remain a top priority. Remaining safe in hazardous conditions will require taking critical precautions: use generators as the instructions outline, beware of—and avoid—fallen power lines, and seek emergency help if you are experiencing dangerous flooding.
After securing your and your loved one’s safety, many Floridians will be concerned with their property damage in the aftermath of the storm. Property damage insurance claims will need to be filed with the appropriate insurance carriers so that you can take the first step back to “normal.” Properties other than a house, including cars, boats, and airplanes should also be assessed for damage. The best way to determine the extent of the damage is to take pictures of your home and other property, and then call your homeowners’ insurance company to make a claim.
Will my insurance cover my property damage claim after Hurricane Ian?
Most Floridians will have homeowners’ insurance, which generally covers property damage to your home’s structure and, personal belongings. Many policies will also include liability protection and necessary living expenses in the event that the home cannot be lived in. While “hurricane insurance” is not an actual policy, policies that cover wind and flood damage, which are associated with hurricanes, can be added to a homeowners’ insurance policy.
Wind damage to the home’s structure, roof, or other external structures such as a shed or garage can be repaired or replaced under most homeowners’ insurance policies. However, even though most policies include coverage for wind damage, flood damage is typically not covered under most homeowners’ insurance policies.
Because many homeowners’ insurance policies do not include flood insurance, the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (FLOIR) recommends that Floridians purchase an additional flood insurance policy to protect against the unfortunate event that flooding from a storm or hurricane causes water damage to a home.
Making an insurance claim for property damage caused by flooding will be difficult if you do not have the additional flood insurance as part of your homeowners’ insurance policy.
What is the process of filing a homeowners’ insurance claim after Hurricane Ian?
Like the importance of taking photographs prior to a hurricane, it is critical to take as many photographs as possible after the storm so that you can assess the damage. This documentation will be helpful for the insurance adjuster to see the extent of the destruction before homeowners attempt to clean up the property or make any repairs. Additionally, when widespread damage occurs because of a hurricane like Hurricane Ian, it can take weeks to months for an adjuster to come to your home in person Therefore, immediate documentation of the damage caused by the storm becomes all the more important.
Additionally, homeowners’ insurance policies have a variety of deductibles, but it is important to remember, however, that the deductible must be paid before your insurance company will make repairs or replacements on your claim.
Once your insurance adjuster gives you a proof of loss document, it is critical to meticulously review all the stated information so you understand which damages—and how much money— your insurance is willing to cover. Oftentimes, your insurance company will refer you to a contractor to make your repairs. Make sure that you feel comfortable with the reputation and services provided by the contractor. If you do not, reach out to your insurance company about whether there is another contractor who can make repairs.
The claims process can seem like a daunting, overwhelming, and arduous process. But if you take a few simple preliminary steps, you can quickly start the process to make your house feel like home, once again. If you are seeking legal assistance, reach out to us at Clayton Trial Lawyers to see if we can help.