While Fort Lauderdale escaped the worst of Hurricane Irma, flooding and wind damage still caused widespread power outages, left roadways blocked with trees and debris, and caused flooding and wind damage to many local homes. While storm surge was among forecasters’ initial fears (and did lead to some damage along the coast), ultimately, it was homes further inland that experienced the most flooding, with homes on many low-lying streets being inundated with several feet of water.
If your home was damaged by Hurricane Irma, it is important to make sure you understand your rights under your home and flood insurance policies. Even if you are entitled to coverage (and, if you have both policies, you likely are), securing payment from your insurance company can be a challenge. Here are some tips from the Broward County insurance claim lawyers at Saavedra | Goodwin. For more information, we encourage you to schedule a confidential consultation.
Tips for Homeowners Affected by Hurricane Irma
#1: Contact Your Insurance Company
Hopefully you have done this already; but, if you haven’t, you need to contact your insurance company to report your claim. With the widespread devastation caused by Hurricane Irma, insurers in Florida are going to be busy for a while, and you want to make sure your claim gets processed as quickly as possible.
#2: Preserve Your Property if it is Safe to Do So
If it is safe to enter your home, try to preserve any property that can be saved. This certainly includes things like photo albums and keepsakes, but it can include furniture, vehicles and other assets as well. With water damage, keep in mind that mold is a very real issue. Make sure you keep yourself and your family members safe from mold, but also be aware that you may need to hire a mold remediation contractor to mitigate the damage to your home while your insurance claim is pending.
#3: Document the Damage to Your Home
When you are pursuing any type of insurance claim, you can never have too much information on your side. As soon as possible, you should take photos of all of the damage to your home and any surrounding areas where there is evidence of high winds or intruding water. Try to create a comprehensive list of the damage to your home and personal property as well.
#4: Consider Hiring a Public Adjuster
A public adjuster is someone who evaluates insurance claims but does not work for an insurance company. Particularly with storm damage – where certain types of damage may be covered under your homeowner’s insurance policy and other types under your flood insurance policy – hiring a public adjuster can help you navigate the claims process more effectively.
#5: Know Your Rights During the Insurance Claims Process
Even under the best of circumstances, dealing with your insurance company can be a challenge. After a major weather event such as Hurricane Irma, the process can be even more difficult than usual. As a homeowner, it is important for you to understand your rights against your insurance company, and to know how to identify evidence of bad-faith delays and denials.
Speak with an Insurance Claim Lawyer at Saavedra | Goodwin
If you need help dealing with your homeowner’s insurance or flood insurance company after Hurricane Irma, we encourage you to contact us for a confidential consultation. To speak with one of our experienced attorneys about your insurance claim, please call (954) 767-6333 or request an appointment online today.