5 Things You Shouldn't Do When Filing Hurricane Insurance Claims
The devastation of hurricanes in the State of Florida often transcends far beyond the days in which the storm is active. The impact of 2018’s Hurricane Michael has left residents of Panama City, Mexico Beach, Tallahassee, the Florida panhandle, and other locations in the storm’s path with the task of facing the damage that was left behind by the category 4 hurricane. Before filing a hurricane insurance claim following a storm, it’s important that property owners seek representation from a skilled hurricane insurance claims attorney and consider the following five tips about what to avoid during an insurance claim for hurricane damage in Florida. Contact the Law Offices of Michael B. Brehne, P.A. today to discuss your claim with our Orlando attorneys.
1. Don’t Dispose Of Damaged Items
Following a hurricane, property owners should avoid returning to their residential or commercial properties until local authorities provide them with authorization to ensure the properties are safe to enter. Following the return to a damaged home or business, it may seem as though every item within the property is unsalvageable due to the accumulation of wind damage and water damage — resist the temptation to dispose of all of the items which appear to be or you suspect to be damaged. Oftentimes, property owners can preserve a substantial amount of their property by securing the items from further harm and deterioration. In addition to saving a portion of the items from irreparable damage, preserving your belongings can also prove useful with regard to your insurance claim. The insurance company will likely require that you take every measure possible to help mitigate the damage from the hurricane.
3. Don’t Wait To Contact The Insurance Company
The sooner you contact your insurance company about hurricane damage to your property, the quicker you can begin the claims process. The longer you wait to place your claim, the greater range of time it may take for an insurance representative to visit the property and assess the damage for their report — what’s more, it’s likely that your home or business was not the only property affected by the hurricane. In addition, most insurance policies have a requirement for prompt notice, which mandates that insured individuals notify their insurance company as soon as possible following the damage-causing event. Failure to promptly notify the insurance company could result in a negative or undesirable result to your claim. Contact our firm to speak with an insurance attorney about timeline requirements to file a claim for hurricane damage.
2. Don’t Disregard The Importance Of Documentation
After taking the required steps to prevent further damage, insurance companies require property owners to present sufficient evidence of the damage — property owners must thoroughly document and present the damages and claim amounts during the hurricane insurance claim. To help ensure the maximum recovery of funds for properties damaged due to hurricanes, our insurance lawyers recommend that property owners promptly photograph and videotape the damaged property; obtain estimates for repairs and replacements; itemize the list of personal property damage; and keep safe each receipt from personal payments for repairs, replacements, protection of property; and any other incurred expenses from the storm.
4. Don’t Forget To Contact An Orlando Insurance Lawyer
Whether your property sustained category 1 hurricane damage or category 5 hurricane damage, the devastation which often results from hurricanes can be overwhelming to navigate without the assistance of hurricane insurance claims attorneys. After ensuring the safety of your family, friends, and loved ones, contact the Law Offices of Michael B. Brehne, P.A. for effective, prompt legal assistance with each step of the insurance claims process. From ensuring the insurance company is promptly notified of damage and collecting comprehensive documentation of any damage incurred from the hurricane to helping ensure approval of your claim and the receipt of full compensation under the policy limits, we have you covered. And, if necessary, our attorneys can file litigation against insurance companies that act in bad faith or fail to fulfill their required duties to their policyholders. Contact our law firm today to discuss your hurricane damage case.
4. Don’t Feel Obligated To Accept Initial Insurance Estimates
Following hurricane damage loss, the goal of most insurance companies is to close or complete as many claims as possible within the least amount of time. During their pursuit of this goal, the practice of most insurance companies includes undervaluing the true cost to repair or replace certain items or areas of damages properties. If they are successful in their pursuit and proceed to undervalue the cost to remediate your property damages, you will not receive a payout which meets the cost of actual repair, replacement, or restoration. These bad faith insurance practices — which, at the core, comprises the refusal to pay a submitted claim without a reasonable basis and the lack of accurate investigation in a reasonable timeframe by the insurance company — requires policyholders to prove that the company has acted in bad faith. The best way to ensure that your hurricane damage claim is successfully filed and approved is with the help of experienced insurance dispute lawyers, who will work diligently to hold accountable your insurance company for every action of bad faith regarding your claim.