When a storm or hurricane hits, property owners who have been paying homeowner’s insurance claims expect that their insurance company will help them repair or replace what has been lost. However, insurance companies sometimes deny claims or diminish the value of the claim, leaving their policyholders wondering how they are going to return to their home and property to its former state, or as close as possible. If this has happened to you, call the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine at 1 (800) 747-3733 for a free case consultation.
When Storms Occur
When insurance companies must deal with thousands of claims due to a weather event, such as a tropical storm or hurricane, which may have affected large portions of the state, they can have a difficult time keeping up with the demand. However, insurance companies have requirements they must follow when resolving a claim and claimants have a limited time to act.
Ways You Can Help Your Claim
There are things that you can do to help your claim move through the insurance system. They include:
- Reviewing your insurance policy. Get an understanding of what is covered in the event of a storm and what is excluded from coverage in the event of a storm. The more familiar you are with what is written in the policy, the easier it will be for you to understand the process. Storm surge and flood damage is covered by the National Flood Insurance Program, which is a separate policy from your homeowner’s insurance.
- Filling out the list of damaged property for submission to the insurance company. This is called a proof of loss form. When your insurance company receives the form, they must begin their claim investigation within ten days. The more detailed you can make your list, the better.
- The insurance company is not interested in making sure that you get what you need to repair what is broken or destroyed. When the insurance adjuster asks questions related to your claim, he or she will probably look for damage that is not covered in your policy. They will also go over your proof of loss documentation carefully to look for damage that is not covered in your policy.
- When the adjuster is asking you questions and going over your proof of loss documentation, they will be looking for any cause of damage that’s excluded under your policy. This is especially true after a large hurricane. The way you describe damage or how it occurred could be used against you when your insurance company resolves your claim.
- Documentation is also important for property damage claims. Photographs are a must-have when you’re compiling your claim and proof of loss list. Take photographs that are time-stamped or time stamp each one individually.
- Having records of past repairs or home inspections can also be useful. If an insurance company claims that some of the damage was preexisting but you have evidence that it wasn’t there until after the storm, your chances of getting a fair settlement of your claim will be better.
- If your home and possessions were destroyed and you are claiming a total loss, the insurance company may take a long time to investigate your claim. They may challenge the claim by disputing how much your possessions are worth monetarily to minimize the amount of money they need to payout.
- Keeping all your documentation related to your home and property is a good idea. The insurance adjuster may claim that some of the damage to your property was pre-existing in an attempt to minimize your claim.
- Being detailed in your descriptions of your property losses. Keep receipts, invoices, contracts, warranties, and any other documentation for any repairs or additions that have been done to your home.
Turning Your Claim into a Lawsuit
If your property was damaged in a storm, and your insurance company is not as responsive as you would like, you may need to consider hiring a storm loss property claim lawyer in Port St. Lucie to help you get your home repaired and your property back to its original state, when possible. The legal team at the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine at 1 (800) 747-3733 will know what to do to help.
In Florida, there is a four-year statute of limitations under FL § 95.11 to file a lawsuit for the repair or replacement of your damaged real or personal property. The insurance company also has deadlines that they must adhere to. For example, if you filed a claim via email or through the USPS, an insurance company representative must contact you within fourteen days of receiving the claim. This rule applies to every communication you have with your insurance company. Insurance companies have ninety days to send you a report about their findings and pay your claim. If there have been no actions taken on your policy by the insurance company, they may be acting in bad faith.
Speaking with a Storm Loss Property Claim Lawyer in Port St. Lucie First Can Help
It may be in your best interest to speak to a storm loss property claim lawyer in Port St. Lucie before making any statements, verbally or recorded, to your insurance company. If you say the wrong thing in a sworn statement, you may give your adjuster a reason to deny the claim.
Dealing with an insurance company can be challenging. The process of filing a claim and waiting to be paid can be frustrating and time-consuming. Insurance companies have a team of professionals on their side whose mission is to delay or minimize the amount of money they payout on a claim. Don’t waste too much time trying to get them to pay out the money you need to rebuild your life.
If your property has been damaged or destroyed in a storm or hurricane in Port St. Lucie, Florida, call the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine at 1 (800) 747-3733. They will know how to help.