Florida is a coastal state known for hurricanes and tornadoes, which impact thousands of property owners every year. While many property owners pay their insurance premiums faithfully with the expectation that their insurance company will step up and do the right thing, this is unfortunately not always the case. Read on to learn more about some things you can and should do when a disaster hits your property.
Tornado Damage Claim Tips
Below are some steps to take to ensure appropriate recovery of your property value:
- Call your insurance company to report the claim: Find out where you can send written notice of the claim, and send notice of the claim in writing by email, mail, or fax with a written description of the possible damage and the incident (even if your insurer says that written notice is unnecessary). Make sure to record your claim number.
- Ask for an advance when applicable: A lot of insurers will routinely make an immediate payment of $1,500 to $5,000 if the policyholder has severe property damage. Make sure to keep track of all receipts of how you use this money.
- Thoroughly analyze your insurance policy: Find out what your policy covers and what it doesn’t, not just the declarations page. You should read the entire policy to know exactly what it covers, and mark any portions you don’t understand for the insurance adjuster to explain. Your insurance company can send you a copy if you’ve lost your policy in the storm or are unable to locate it.
- Ask your insurance company if the policy covers expenses for living elsewhere: If your home is uninhabitable due to storm damage, most homeowner policies reimburse for reasonable expenses of maintaining a second living situation while the insured residence is undergoing repairs. If your home was destroyed completely, it could take up to six months to rebuild, and your policy may pay for “additional living expenses” like renting a home similar to the insured property, restaurant meals, and travel to your insured residence. Always get advance approval from your insurer if you enter a lease.
- Record the damage: Before you clean up from the disaster, record all of the damage via video and photo. Too much evidence is always better than too little.
- Take inventory of the damage to the building and its contents: Record everything you think is wrong with your home and send that list to the insurance adjuster. Make sure to try and get everything that was damaged inside the home, such as computers, furniture, etc. Never discard any damaged object or evidence of the damage that the adjuster hasn’t looked at yet.
- Communicate in writing: Even if you have a call or in-person conversation with the insurance adjuster, confirm everything said in writing afterward. Email or write to the insurance company to check your claim status. This helps avoid misunderstandings.
Contact Us Today
Often, policyholders find damage that the insurance company failed to payout, or that it will cost more to repair the damage than the insurance company wants to pay. If your insurance company unfairly denies or underpays your insurance claim, you need an experienced insurance attorney on your side. Call Craig Rolle to schedule a consultation and get the compensation you deserve today.