How to File an Insurance Claim After a Hurricane
When your home is damaged by a major hurricane, it can seem like all of a sudden you have a massive to-do list. White it can all be a bit overwhelming; it is extremely important to make sure you act fast, especially when dealing with property insurance companies. Regardless of the type of insurance claim you need to file, fighting your insurance company is no easy task. In fact, many homeowners will retain a property insurance attorney right from the onset of the claims process. In any event, the best way to combat unfair treatment by your insurer is to become an informed consumer. Property insurance companies don’t expect you to understand a whole lot about the insurance claims process—surprise them. This blog post will help prepare you to file an insurance claim after a hurricane.
Read Your Insurance Policy: The first step you want to take is to locate a copy of your insurance policy and read it to find out what is and what isn’t covered. Another important piece of information that you’re going to want to know is the amount of your hurricane deductible, if applicable. The hurricane deductible is the amount you are responsible for in the event that you decide to file an insurance claim.
Gather Evidence of the Damage: As a homeowner, you should be aware that it is extremely important that you gather documentation of the damage that will be part of your insurance claim. The easiest way to do this is to take detailed pictures and videos of your home before and after the hurricane. This will help verify that the hurricane did in fact cause the damage to your home and not some other event. Another crucial step is that you must take any necessary steps to help mitigate any damages to your home. Oftentimes, homeowners discover roof damage after a hurricane and fail to have their roof tarped thereby allowing water to intrude into the home. Keep in mind that a failure to take any steps to mitigate the damages to your home may have a negative effect on your insurance claim.
Report Your Claim to Your Insurance Company: Call your insurance agent immediately and inform them that you are making a claim for damages to your property. Make sure you have your policy number ready to provide to your agent so that they can open a claim. They will provide you with a claim number and assign your claim to an adjuster who will then contact you to evaluate your damage. Remember, insurance representatives and adjusters are not your friends. Don’t provide the representative with your diagnosis of the cause of the loss. Keep it simple and only provide the details necessary to report the claim.
After Reporting Your Claim: Once you’re finished reporting your insurance claim, be sure to jot down the following information: the day and time of the conversation and with whom you spoke, notes about what is said and if any monetary amounts are mentioned, and of course your insurance claim number. Insurance companies will be handling thousands of claims, make the process simple by always having your claim number on hand when you communicate with a representative from the insurance company. And remember, it’s in your best interest to make sure the information you report is accurate and truthful—this will help resolve your case as quickly as possible.
Proof of Loss: After reporting your claim, your property insurance company will likely send over a “proof of loss” form. A proof of loss is a statement of the amount of money being requested in your insurance claim and it must be signed and notarized. A Proof of Loss is usually a one-page form (possibly with attachments) that is provided by your insurance company. Specifically, the purpose of a proof of loss is to provide the insurer with specific information pertaining to the formal claim of damages. The policy will determine what must be in a proof of loss and most often includes: the date and time the loss occurred, type of loss claimed, the available insurance policy limits, and the exact amount of damages sought.
Do You Need Help with Your Homeowner’s Insurance Claim?
If you have additional questions about your insurance claim or are currently caught in an insurance dispute over damage to your property, contact us today at (305) 300-3000 for a free consultation. The attorneys at Farrell, Patel, Jomarron & Lopez recognize your rights as an insured homeowner, understand how the insurance claims process works, and know how to submit a strong homeowners insurance claim that will prevent your claim from being denied, delayed, or underpaid. Your home insurer will hire a team of attorneys who will work hard to make sure you don’t receive the compensation you are entitled to. You should have a team of lawyers working for you too! FPJL will aggressively represent you to ensure you get the money you are owed without any further delay by the insurance company. Our team of attorneys have decades of experience providing affordable representation to homeowners facing a wide range of denied, delayed or underpaid insurance claim issues.