Hurricane Irma resulted in over 838,000 residential property insurance claims. And although the storm that devastated the entire state of Florida occurred in September of 2017, it is still possible to file a claim.
Damage from the hurricane has totaled nearly $50 billion. And some Florida homeowners still have not had their Hurricane Irma claims settled—roughly 7 percent, to be exact.
According to this Florida statute, affected parties must file a claim with their insurance company within 3 years of the date the hurricane made landfall. Hurricane Irma made landfall in Florida on September 10, 2017, which gives policyholders until September 9, 2020 to file.
Don’t let the fear of a denial stop you from submitting a Hurricane Irma claim
It’s common for homeowners to feel as though their claim will be denied. Horror stories of dealing with insurance companies are always talking points for aggravated policyholders. And with exposure via social media to an even broader group of angry individuals whose claims have gone denied, the stigma grows even greater.
Fear of a denial holds many policyholders back from filing in the first place. This is especially true during hurricane season, when deductibles are higher.
As the holder of an insurance policy, though, you shouldn’t let insurance companies bully you into remaining silent. As a customer paying your premiums, you are entitled to your end of the bargain. If you hold up your end of the bargain, they should honor theirs. And if not, they are acting in bad faith and should be dealt with accordingly.
What does my insurance cover?
Most insurance policies will vary slightly. While most policies are sold with the essentials needed for someone living in a specific geographical area and with specific needs, there are optional variables available. These variables are what make each policy unique.
If you want to know exactly what your policy covers, there’s no better place to go than directly to your policy paperwork. Before filing a Hurricane Irma claim, make sure the damage your property incurred is covered within your policy.
Some of the most common damages that occur to a home during a hurricane are:
- Wind damage
- Structural damage
- Damage to furniture and fixtures inside your home
- Flood damage, if you have the additional coverage that is required in most areas
Is business coverage within the same window?
Businesses were affected by the storm just as much—if not more—than homeowners. With businesses, not only did they suffer damage to physical locations, but they had to see cash flow come to a complete halt during the recovery.
In South Florida, so much of the business revenue received is based on tourism and when the storm hit, businesses suffered. Filing a Hurricane Irma claim for businesses requires more than simply being reimbursed for physical repairs. You need to recoup money that was lost when your doors stopped opening.
If you own a business in South Florida and it was affected by the storm, you have the same 3-year window of opportunity to report damages that residential property owners have. You can file a Hurricane Irma claim if you’ve had damage to equipment or assets, lost the ability to continue payroll, or costs associated with temporarily moving your business to a new or virtual location.
What if I’ve already made the repairs to my home or business?
It’s always advised to contact your lawyer and begin the claims process as soon as possible. This ensures the process is dealt with properly and all steps you take are the correct ones. Although you may be anxious to get back to a normal life, the money you could lose in the end through an incorrect process could prove to be detrimental.
However, paying for repairs up front doesn’t mean you have no further options. If you need to make the repairs before filing a Hurricane Irma claim in order to reopen your home or business, there are two things you should note as being extremely important:
- Take pictures
- Save receipts
As long as there are before and after pictures of the damage as well as matching receipts for work that has been done, you should still be able to recover your expenses. If you haven’t taken either of the above steps, you still may have options. Call 305-800-4663 (HOME) and give one of our experienced lawyers the details of your situation. We can walk you through your options.
How to move forward with your claim
Insurance companies are notorious for underpaying claims. They use unethical methods such as recording phone calls and baiting policyholders into admitting that their damage isn’t as severe as it truly is. These are for-profit companies and when major disasters such as hurricanes hit and cause widespread damage, they tighten their pockets. Their number one goal is to satisfy investors, not policyholders.
When filing a Hurricane Irma claim, or any insurance claim for that matter, the best practice is to contact a licensed attorney. Attorneys work to fight insurance companies on a daily basis and we know the methods used to keep money in their own pockets.
As an experienced team of insurance litigators, we have helped a wide range of policyholders to fight their insurance carriers. Underpaid claims, denied claims, and anything in between are what we specialize in. Since September of 2017, we have been helping individuals filing a Hurricane Irma claim to get what they deserve.
Remember, these are for-profit companies. Many are publicly traded on the stock market and shareholders are the main concern. Don’t let insurance company greed get in the way of you getting what you deserve. If you pay your premiums, you’re owed a fully paid claim.
Call 305-800-4663 (HOME) today to get started with your Hurricane Irma claim. We’re here to help.