One of the most-devastating hurricane seasons on record is over, and the 2018 hurricane season does not begin until June 1. But, that does not mean that homeowners should be lulled into a sense of complacency. Whether you have been rebuilding from Hurricane Irma or were lucky enough to have your home survive unscathed, there are steps you can take now to make sure you are well-prepared for whatever the 2018 hurricane season may have in store.
If you own a home in South Florida, here are some tips from our Broward County insurance claim lawyers on how to prepare for a potential hurricane damage claim:
1. Get Your Home Inspected.
Getting your home inspected can help you identify any issues that need to be addressed in order to mitigate the potential damage from a severe storm, and it can also help should you need to file a property damage claim with your home or flood insurance company. One of the most common ways that insurance companies attempt to deny homeowners’ claims is by claiming that damage was either (i) pre-existing, or (ii) caused by a lack of maintenance and upkeep. If you have a recent inspection report from a licensed inspector showing that you do not have any roof leaks or existing damage, this can help in preventing denial of your claim.
2. Take Photos and Make a List of Your Home and Personal Property.
Along with obtaining an inspection report, taking photos can help prove that your home and personal property were in good condition prior to the storm. Take photos of everything – every room in your home, closet and cabinet interiors, and exterior storage and living areas – and try to capture as much detail as possible. While you are taking photos, also consider make a list of your personal assets so that you can easily determine what was damaged or lost in the storm.
3. Review Your Insurance Coverage.
Review your home and flood insurance policies to make sure that the coverage you selected is still appropriate for your home. If you need (or want) to purchase additional coverage, now is the time to do so. Make sure you understand what is and isn’t covered. If you have questions, we encourage you to review our Insurance Resources for South Florida Homeowners.
4. Have a Disaster Plan.
All South Florida families should have a disaster plan that lets each member of the household know what to do in the event of a major storm. Tips and a plan template are available from the Florida Division of Emergency Management.
5. Store Everything in a Safe Place.
None of these materials will be useful if you cannot access them during a storm. Consider saving copies of everything in a secure location online, and make sure all of your family members know how to gain access. Consider downloading your insurance company’s app on your phone as well, and make sure you know how to login so that you can access your policy and file a claim should you need to do so.
We Are Experienced Attorneys for Homeowners with Storm Damage
At Saavedra | Goodwin, we provide experienced legal representation for homeowners who are struggling with home and flood insurance claims. If your home is damaged in a storm and you need help dealing with your insurance company, you can call (954) 767-6333 or contact us online for a confidential consultation.