If your home or property got damaged in a hurricane, you might be looking for guidance on how to protect your right to get compensation from your homeowner’s insurance policy. Insurers often try to get away with paying you less than you deserve, or even deny your claim outright.
Insurance policies are long documents full of confusing language. These papers have rules and restrictions and then exceptions to the rules. It is no wonder that many people choose not to fight their insurance company for the benefits they should get.
If you have a lawyer on your side who handles hurricane property claims in Fort Pierce, Florida, the attorney can fight to get you the full payout you deserve. We can read your homeowner’s insurance policy, explain the terms in everyday language, and answer your questions. We can let you know what your policy does and does not cover.
At the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine, we can help you dispute the insurance company’s decision, advocate for you, negotiate with the insurer, and get the money you need to fix or rebuild your home.
Call us today at 1-800-747-3733 to get started.
What Your Homeowner’s Insurance Policy Might Cover in a Hurricane Damages Claim
Every insurance company writes different homeowner’s policies. The coverage you have will depend on the terms of your individual policy. There is no “standard” homeowner’s insurance policy. Many homeowner’s insurance policies include money to:
- Fix or rebuild your home.
- Fix or replace buildings that are not part of the main home structure, like a detached garage, shed, gazebo, or other outbuildings.
- Fix or replace structures like your pool, deck, patio, fence, and other structures.
- Replace damaged or destroyed items inside your home.
- Remove storm debris on your property.
- Pay for a hotel or other lodging while your home is not habitable.
You might be surprised at the total dollar value of your losses when you add up all of these items. We can walk you through your policy and show you which items your homeowner’s insurance might cover.
Hurricanes and Flood Damage
A standard homeowner’s policy might pay for damage from direct storm impact, like the wind blowing out your windows or hurling a tree through your roof. Many people are confused and angry when they discover that their policy does not provide compensation for damage from flooding.
Since the flooding happened because of the storm, you might logically think that the same insurance that covers the storm damage also covers the harm from the flooding that the storm caused, but the reality is usually something different. People have to buy separate flood insurance through the government to be protected in the event of flood damage.
The Insurance Claims Process
The claims process can drag on for weeks or even months. The insurer might refuse to pay the full value of your claim until you get a hurricane property claim lawyer in Fort Pierce to fight for you.
The Cash Flow Problem
In the meantime, you have to pay for a hotel and food for weeks or months for your family. You had to pay someone to secure your house to prevent additional damage from rain coming in through broken windows and damage to the roof or walls and to prevent looting. You had to buy new clothes, toiletries, and many other items for every member of your family to replace the ones ruined at your house.
You paid your insurance premiums on time every month for years on end, but when you needed them most, the insurance company delayed in getting you the help you needed. They probably blamed the high number of claims from the hurricane for the long time they took to resolve your property damage claim.
If your insurance company is ignoring you, trying to pay you less than you deserve, or denied your claim, we can take a look at your situation. Our options include things like:
- Negotiating with the insurance company for a better settlement;
- Filing an appeal of the denial of policy benefits;
- Filing a lawsuit against the insurance company for their bad faith refusal to pay what they should.
How to Protect Your Right to Compensation for Your Hurricane Damage Losses
You should always do what makes sense in your situation. Here are a few suggestions of things you can do to protect your right to collect full policy benefits for your losses from a hurricane or tropical storm damage:
Notify Your Insurance Company
We understand that it can be chaotic after your house gets damaged from a significant storm system, but you have to let your homeowner’s insurance company know right away that your home got damaged and you will be filing a claim. The insurer might send a team to the area to board up and secure damaged buildings to prevent further damage and looting that could cost the insurance company more money.
Lists and Photos
If it is safe to enter the home, go through and make detailed lists of all the items damaged by the storm. Take plenty of photos from different angles to document the condition of the house inside and out.
Securing the Building
If your insurance company does not secure your home right away, you should make a reasonable effort to prevent additional damage to your house and its contents. Do not try to reach your home until the officials allow it and make your safety the first priority. You do not want to get hurt trying to put a tarp on a hole in the roof or boarding up broken windows.
Keep Your Receipts
Because you will be living on the go for a while, it will be easy to lose receipts. Get a gallon-size resealable plastic bag and put in it all your receipts for food, lodging, gas, clothing, supplies to secure the house, other items, and all other expenses you incurred because of the storm.
When you get a chance, jot down notes about the receipts. Do not give the insurance company or anyone else your only copy of the receipts. Make a few copies of the entire file of receipts and keep each full copy in a different location.
Getting Help from a Hurricane Property Claim Lawyer in Fort Pierce, Florida
If you feel that your homeowner’s insurance company is not treating you fairly, you can call the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine. Our team takes on insurance companies every day, in a variety of cases. We have helped people with insurance claims related to hurricanes Michael and Irma, and we can help you too. We will fight to get the compensation you deserve. Call 1-800-747-3733 for a free consultation.