After initial projections showed Hurricane Matthew causing the greatest destruction further up the Atlantic Coast, the season’s second major storm blasted eastern Florida as a Category 4 hurricane, causing record storm surges and widespread power outages throughout the state.
Many homes and businesses suffered significant damage from Hurricane Matthew as well, and their owners are currently going through the process of filing claims with their insurance companies so that they can rebuild.
If your home or business was damaged in Hurricane Matthew, it is important to familiarize yourself with the insurance claim process and your rights under your policy. Here is a brief overview of what you can expect during the weeks and months to come:
1. Communicating with Your Insurance Company
Once you file a hurricane damage claim, without help, you are largely at the whim of your insurance company. An adjuster will investigate your claim on the insurance company’s schedule (which can often involve substantial delays after a major storm), and you will receive updates if and when your adjuster provides them.
2. Protecting Your Rights Under Your Policy
To help protect your rights under your policy, you need to be careful to avoid mistakes which include falling for the tactics of your insurance company’s adjuster. Bad faith is a prevalent issue in property damage insurance claims, and by being smart about protecting your rights you can help avoid disputes with your insurance company down the line. Be sure to take plenty of photos of the damage, and make sure you understand your obligations with regard to mitigating any ongoing or future losses.
3. Working with a Public Adjuster
One way to help protect your rights during your hurricane damage claim is to hire a public adjuster. A public adjuster works for you – not the insurance company – and can help make sure that the full extent of your losses gets covered in accordance with the terms of your policy.
4. Identifying Signs of Insurance Bad Faith
If you are concerned that your insurance company may be handling your claim in bad faith, it is important to take action quickly. You need the money to repair your home or business, and allowing your insurer to string you along will only serve to delay your much-needed recovery. Failing to conduct a timely investigation, unreasonably delaying payment and denying payment without explanation are just a few examples of common bad faith insurance practices following a natural disaster.
5. Taking Legal Action to Protect Your Rights
If your recovery after Hurricane Matthew is taking longer than expected due to delays, denials or inaction by your insurance company, it will be worthwhile to discuss your rights with an experienced attorney. Policyholders who are unable to make headway on their own can often benefit greatly from having legal representation on their side. At Saavedra | Goodwin, we are available to assist with property damage claims following Hurricane Matthew, and we can also recommend a trusted public adjuster to investigate and help negotiate your claim.
Speak with an Attorney About Your Property Damage Claim After Hurricane Matthew
To speak with one of the hurricane damage attorneys at Saavedra Goodwin, call (954) 767-6333 or request a consultation online now. With offices in Fort Lauderdale, we represent individual and business policyholders throughout South Florida.