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Insurance Claims: What Homeowners Can Do to Prepare for Hurricane Season

| Aug 26, 2016 | Insurance Claims |

The 2016 hurricane season is well underway; and, while we saw some storm activity earlier than expected in January, so far the hurricane season has been pretty quiet. However, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is still predicting a “near-normal” hurricane season, which means a relatively-strong likelihood of 10 to 16 named storms originating in the Atlantic Ocean before November 30, 2016.

Of these named storms, NOAA predicts that as many as eight could become hurricanes, with up to four reaching Category 3, 4 or 5 (winds of 111 mph or higher). The NOAA has also put the chance of us seeing an above-normal hurricane season at 30 percent, while there is a 25 percent chance that the level of storm activity in the Atlantic Ocean will be less than normal.

Of course, it only takes one major storm to cause widespread damage. As a result, as we approach what could be the busy end of the 2016 hurricane season, it is important for homeowners to be prepared.

Tips to Prepare for Hurricane Season in South Florida

When it comes to preparing for a hurricane, you will find no shortage of tips and advice online. For example, AccuWeather.com recommends:

  • Stocking up on first aid supplies, food, water, flashlights and batteries
  • Protecting your windows and securing outdoor furniture
  • Watching the weather forecast for updates
  • Knowing your evacuation route and following the direction of local authorities

These are all good tips, but they do not cover everything. If your home suffers damage in a hurricane, you will most likely need to file an insurance claim. The claims process isn’t easy, and knowing what to expect ahead of time can help you deal with your insurance company and spot signs of bad-faith insurance practices.

Preparing for Your Hurricane Property Damage Claim

Here is a general overview of some of the key steps to take when your home is damaged in a hurricane:

  • Contact your insurance company. Your first step should be to contact your insurance company to report the damage. While it may be obvious that the damage to your home was caused by a hurricane, you still want to file your claim as soon after the hurricane as possible.
  • Take photos. Take photos of everything. This includes the damage to your home, damage to your personal items, debris in your yard, and any other damage or loss that may potentially be covered by your insurance policy.
  • Make a list. Make a list of your property that was damaged in the storm, including as much detail as possible.
  • Be cautious about following your insurance adjuster’s advice. Your insurance adjuster works for your insurance company, and he or she may or may not have your best interests in mind (most likely not). If your adjuster tells you not to protect your property, you should seek advice from a qualified hurricane damage attorney.
  • Know how to spot insurance bad faith. Unfortunately, bad-faith insurance practices are far more common than most of us would like to believe. There is a fine line between poor service and bad faith, and if you find yourself being treated unfairly by your insurance company, you may need to hire an attorney to protect your rights.

Contact the Fort Lauderdale Hurricane Damage Attorneys at Saavedra | Goodwin

If you need help dealing with your insurance company after a hurricane, tornado or other storm in South Florida, we encourage you to contact us to learn more about your legal rights. To schedule a consultation with an experienced attorney at Saavedra | Goodwin, call (954) 767-6333 or send us your contact information online today.