The first hurricane to make landfall in Florida since 2005, Hurricane Hermine exited the Gulf of Mexico around 1:30am on the morning of Thursday, September 2, 2016. Parts of Florida experienced wind gusts above 70 mph throughout the day on Thursday, and as much as 22 inches of rain fell on some regions of the state.
Much of this rain fell before Hurricane Hermine made landfall, with record storm surges as high as six feet above Mean Higher High Water further contributing to the risk of damaging floods.
Indeed, Hurricane Hermine’s damaging winds, rain and storm surges left many Florida residents forced to cope with severe damage to their homes and businesses. Initial estimates put insured losses from Hurricane Hermine at nearly $500 million, while total losses are expected to approach $1 billion.
If your home, business or other property was damaged in Hurricane Hermine, what should you do?
Seeking Insurance Coverage for Property Damage from Hurricane Hermine
There are three basic steps property owners in Florida need to take to start the insurance claim process following a hurricane:
1. Notify Your Insurer that You Have a Claim.
The first thing you need to do is to report the damage to your insurer. Even if you purchased flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), your policy will generally be held by a private insurance company. So, make sure you have your policy number available, and then give your insurance company a call to report the damage.
2. Document the Damage to Your Property.
At this point, you should also document the damage to your property. Documenting hurricane damage early is important, as you want to be able to demonstrate that the damage occurred as a result of the hurricane, and not later due to other factors that may not be covered by your insurance. To document the damage to your property from Hurricane Hermine, you should:
- Collect Your Records. If it is possible to do so safely, collect vital records from your home or office. If you have information stored on a computer, try to recover the computer as well.
- Make a list. Make a list of the items that suffered damage. Be as thorough as possible.
- Take photos and video. Take lots of photos. You want try to have a complete record of the damage caused by the hurricane. Video can be helpful as well.
- Keep your damaged property, for now. Although officials may require you to dispose of certain damaged items, if possible you should keep your damaged property until you receive a visit from your insurance adjuster.
3. File a Proof of Loss
If you purchased flood insurance through the NFIP, you are required to file a Proof of Loss within 60 days of the flood. You need to make sure you complete the form as completely and accurately as possible, and you should seek help if necessary in order to avoid jeopardizing your claim.
Contact the Fort Lauderdale Property Damage Attorneys at Saavedra | Goodwin
If you would like more information about protecting your rights when filing a flood insurance or other property insurance claim in South Florida, contact the attorneys at Saavedra | Goodwin. To speak with an attorney about your claim, please call (954) 767-6333 or send us a message online today.