According to CBS Miami, Tropical Storm Dorian could become a Category 3 hurricane by the time it makes landfall on the east coast of Florida on Monday. Local and state authorities are cautioning residents to prepare for hurricane damage this Labor Day, and part of that preparation means knowing how to handle an insurance claim after the storm passes.
At RRBH Law in Miami, we are standing by to assist you with your claim. With over 20,000 insurance claims still open from Hurricane Michael last year, it is critical that you understand how the process works so that you don’t have to wait almost a year to get the compensation you need to rebuild.
Here’s what to do if your property suffers hurricane damage from Dorian.
Review Your Policy
Right now, you should be reviewing your insurance policies. And yes, I do mean policies, plural. With hurricanes, you have to worry about more than one form of damage to your home because flooding is not covered under most homeowners insurance policies. You’ll have to purchase a separate flood insurance policy for that.
Unfortunately, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, if you don’t currently have flood insurance, you’re out of luck because the National Flood Insurance Program requires a 30-day waiting period. (New homeowners closing on a mortgage are an exception to this rule.) If you need to make any changes to your homeowners’ insurance, however, you can still do so up until a hurricane warning or watch is issued. Regardless, familiarizing yourself with your policy will help make the process smoother if you sustain any hurricane damage.
Contact Your Attorney, then Your Insurance Company
You might think that if Dorian causes damage to your home that you need to call your insurance right away. While you should contact them in a timely manner, you should actually call an attorney first. A qualified insurance litigation attorney, especially one who has won cases for clients, will help you protect your right to recovery.
Document the Hurricane Damage
As soon as you can, document all of the damage that occurred. Take photographs and, if possible, video to show what was damaged. Video can be a powerful ally in the future if you have to sue your insurance. If you don’t currently have a detailed inventory of your personal property, now is the time to start creating one.
Don’t Be Afraid to Negotiate
It’s important to understand that you don’t have to take your insurance provider’s first offer. In fact, you should always get a second opinion. The goal of your insurance company is to pay as little as possible, so they will use any reason that they can find not to pay.
If your home sustains damage from Dorian, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us as soon as possible. We will work with you to ensure that your insurance provider pays the amount that they owe you.