Not all property owners suffer total destruction when hurricanes blow through, but the risk of losing power and cable can escalate even before a storm fully hits the area. The aftermath of a hurricane is not the time to first discover that you lack the ability to get in touch with your insurer to file a claim.
Just as we recommend that you make sure you have the right documentation to file an effective claim, our Fort Lauderdale hurricane damage attorneys recommend that you act now to create a backup plan for making contact with your insurance company.
Florida Legislators Recognize Post-Catastrophe Connectivity Issues
A recent report by the Florida Office of the Insurance Consumer Advocate cites a number of issues that can commonly challenge your ability to receive timely settlement of your claims after a major catastrophic event. One vital issue is that you often lack the resources to connect with your insurance company.
The most common issues pertain to loss of power, cable and even cell phone towers in the affected areas. Just as important, your local insurance agents can experience similar losses in connectivity. The report recommends that insurers maintain records and files electronically, while providing policyholders with an interface they can use to communicate effectively.
While this recommendation addresses some basic concerns, you need to take additional action to protect your ability to get in touch with your insurer.
Advance Planning Can Help You Get Connected in an Emergency
Even if you have not seen any major disasters for many years, you should always assume that a disaster is just around the corner. You need to make sure you have the resources needed to contact your insurance company and your loved ones in an emergency. Here are some tips to help you get connected:
• Keep contact information handy: Keep your insurance agent’s information and your insurance company’s claim notification number stored in your phone. Retaining one or more paper copies of this information can be helpful as well, particularly if you keep an extra copy away from the immediate disaster zone or in a waterproof pouch or container.
• Identify Wi-Fi hotspots outside of your local area: Most libraries (and even restaurants and coffee houses) offer free connectivity. If you know where these places are located in nearby towns, you know where to go to get connected.
• Make sure you have battery power: If you live in a high-risk area, you should consider taking exceptional measures to ensure that your phone has power. You need a spare charger in your emergency escape kit, and it is even better to have a second fully-charged battery on hand, along with a car charger. Check out your phone manufacturer’s website to learn all your options or call them for details.
Keep in mind that high claim volumes and other issues can affect your ability to receive timely and fair treatment from your insurance company. Make sure you have full contact information for an experienced property insurance claims lawyer so you can seek knowledgeable support at the first sign of claim issues. We are available by phone at (954) 928-9568 or use our convenient online contact form.