After a storm damages your home, you are likely to have several priorities that you need to try to manage simultaneously. These include ensuring your family’s safety, securing insurance coverage, protecting photos and heirlooms, and beginning the recovery process as soon as possible. While your insurance adjuster may provide you with some advice, it is important not to rely solely on the information you receive from your insurer.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and other federal authorities have published some useful resources, and our lawyers are here to help if you have questions about your property damage insurance claim in Broward County, FL.
Important Considerations for Taking Action After a Damaging Storm
Tips for Personal and Family Safety
- Look First. Always carefully inspect your home before re-entering. Watch your step, look overhead, and be cautious whenever you are in doubt about a potential health or safety hazard.
- Dress Appropriately. Wear boots or sturdy shoes whenever walking in flood waters or in an area where you could step on sharp debris. Wear gloves and long sleeves when cleaning up or moving items in your home.
- Turn Off the Gas. If you have gas in your home, turn off the main line as soon as possible, and check for leaks at the stove, furnace and other gas-powered appliances.
- Be Cautious of Mold. Mold can form quickly after a storm. Know how to protect yourself against exposure; and, if you have any concerns, seek help from a qualified remediation expert.
Tips for Filing Your Insurance Claim
- File Your Claim Now. After a storm, you want to file your insurance claim as soon as possible.
- Contact Your Home and Flood Insurers. If you have home and flood insurance through different carriers, be sure to contact both carriers about your claim.
- Take Photos and Video. Before moving anything or making any temporary repairs, try to comprehensively document the condition of your home, furniture, and personal items. As you begin to clean up, continue to document any damage you find along the way.
- Mitigate Ongoing Damage. In order to receive full coverage, you may need to take certain remedial action and make temporary repairs in order to mitigate ongoing damage (such as the spread of mold). Seek professional help if necessary.
Tips for Protecting Photos and Heirlooms
- Air Dry. Moisture and humidity can permanently damage photos and family heirlooms. Air drying is generally best (unless more-intensive intervention is necessary); and, if possible, items should be stored indoors with a dehumidifier.
- Handle with Care. Moisture and dirt can make items extremely fragile, and scrubbing dirt-covered items can cause damage from scratching. Once again, if you need assistance, professional help should be available.
Tips for Beginning the Recovery Process
- Know the Steps to Take. There are several steps involved in the process of recovering from a major storm. For some additional tips, we encourage you to review our Step-By-Step Guide.
- Know How to Spot Insurance Bad Faith. Unfortunately, delays in the recovery process are often the result of bad-faith insurance practices. If your insurance company is not handling your claim appropriately, you may need to take legal action to protect your rights.
For additional information, you can read:
- After the Flood: Advice for Salvaging Damaged Family Treasures (FEMA.gov)
- After the Flood: What Flood Insurance Policyholders Need to Know (FEMA.gov)
- Homeowner’s and Renter’s Guide to Mold Cleanup After Disasters (CDC.gov)
Speak with an Experienced Insurance Claim Lawyer in Confidence
For more information about protecting your legal rights after a major storm in South Florida, you can contact our offices for a confidential consultation. To speak with an insurance claim lawyer at our Broward County law offices, please call (954) 767-6333 or request an appointment online today.