It’s hard to believe, but another hurricane season is right around the corner. After last year’s spike in activity, including Hurricanes Hermine and Matthew, experts are expecting a return to near-average conditions in 2017. According to Weather.com:
“A total of 12 named storms, six hurricanes and two major hurricanes are expected this season [June 1 through November 30, 2017], which matches the 30-year average (1981-2010) for the Atlantic basin.”
Of course, it only takes one major storm to cause widespread damage; and, as also noted on Weather.com, “[t]here is no strong correlation between the number of storms or hurricanes and U.S. landfalls in any given season.” As a result, Florida residents are encouraged to, “prepare each year no matter the forecast.”
Insurance Tips for Florida Homeowners
There are several steps Florida homeowners can take to protect themselves in the event a major storm comes close to shore or makes landfall. Acknowledging the reality that there is simply no way to prevent all damage from hurricane-force winds and heavy rains, one of the most important things homeowners can do is make sure their losses will be covered by insurance. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
1. Homeowner’s Insurance vs. Flood Insurance
While standard homeowners’ policies cover many types of hurricane-related damage, they typically do not cover flood damage. This can include water damage from storm surge (though, in many cases, storm surge damage will constitute an “ensuing loss” from wind damage). To minimize the risk for disputes with their insurance companies, homeowners near the coast and in other flood-prone areas should consider adding flood insurance policies to their coverage.
2. Maintaining an Inventory of Assets
If your home were to be severely damaged in a hurricane, would you know what you lost? Homeowner’s policies cover not only damage to the home itself, but damage to items of personal property in the home as well. Taking inventory – and taking photos – of your home (including any updates, additions and remodeling projects) and personal property can help ensure that you do not inadvertently overlook covered losses when you file your insurance claim. If you have full replacement cost coverage, this can help ensure that your home is rebuilt or restored with like-quality materials as well.
3. Ensuring Easy Access to Insurance Information
When your home suffers storm damage, the last thing you want is to have your claim delayed because you cannot find your policy number or access your online account. As part of your storm preparations, make sure you have the information you need to contact your insurance company as soon as possible.
4. Preserving Your Insurance Claim
Unfortunately, many insurance companies will look for any excuse to deny their policyholders coverage. As a result, when you file your insurance claim, you need to be prepared. For more tips on insurance coverage for hurricane damage, we encourage you to read:
- Common Issues with Hurricane Damage Insurance Claims
- It’s Hurricane Season: Insurance FAQs
- What Homeowners Can Do to Prepare for Hurricane Season
Speak with a Fort Lauderdale Hurricane Damage Attorney
With offices in Fort Lauderdale, the attorneys at Saavedra | Goodwin represent South Florida homeowners in hurricane damage insurance claims and in disputes with their insurance companies. If you have questions about your insurance coverage and would like to speak with an attorney, please call (954) 767-6333 or contact us online for a confidential consultation.