Hurricane Ian was one of the most intense and destructive hurricanes to hit Florida. Many homeowners and business owners are cleaning up the mess Ian has left in its path and wondering how to file hurricane insurance claims.
If your home, property, or business was damaged by Hurricane Ian, you might want to file an insurance claim for hurricane damage. Damage claims against your insurer, also known as “first-party claims,” typically require the insurance company to begin the loss adjustment process within 30 days of you notifying them of the claim.
In this blog post, the Barrett Nonni Homola & Ferraro team will go through the basics of how to file an insurance claim for hurricane damage in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian. Our Hurricane Ian damage claim lawyers will also discuss general information about claim filing deadlines and what to expect once you file a claim.
What Is Hurricane Insurance?
Technically, there is no single insurance policy that covers all the damage that a hurricane can cause. While your homeowner’s insurance policy may provide some protection against hurricane damage, you may require additional policies to fully protect your property. The additional policies that Florida homeowners typically purchase include:
- Windstorm insurance – The cost for this type of policy varies, usually because of where the insured resides. Claims for roofs damaged by high winds are commonly made after a hurricane.
- Flood insurance – Florida homeowners insurance typically does not cover flooding from storm surges or other types of flooding. Flood insurance is incredibly important because just one inch of standing water can cause over $25,000 of damage to your home. Even if you think you are not at risk for flooding, it may be wise to get flood insurance. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) estimates that more than twenty percent of flood insurance claims and federal disaster assistance for flooding comes from areas marked moderate or low risk.
In some cases, homeowners are required to purchase both types of insurance before they are allowed to complete the purchase of their property. This is particularly true in planned communities or areas with a homeowner’s association.
The Property Damage Claims Process
How Long After a Storm Can I File a Claim?
The first step in making a property damage claim is notifying your insurance company. You should notify your insurance company as soon as you are able. Typically this means as soon as the storm has subsided and you are able to fully (and safely) inspect your property and assess the damage.
Additionally, the sooner you notify your insurance company, the fresher the evidence that the damage was caused by Hurricane Ian and not by any other cause. If you have questions about how to best position your claim, or concerns that your insurance company will immediately reject your claim, contact an experienced hurricane insurance lawyer.
What Is the Hurricane Ian Insurance Claim Deadline?
Property damage claims usually have a short time frame in which to file. If you wait until after the deadline passes, your insurance company will most likely deny the claim, and they will be within their rights to do so.
Generally speaking, you have three years to file a claim after the date of the loss. Once you have filed your claim, your insurance company has two weeks to acknowledge that they received it.
Is There a Painless Way to File Hurricane Insurance Claims After Hurricane Ian?
While there is no way to make filing insurance claims truly painless, we will go over some ways to make the claims process more streamlined and organized.
Itemize Your Damaged Property
Whether it was your home or business that was destroyed, be sure to make a thorough list of all your damaged property. Include damages to any valuables such as computers, appliances, and furniture. If you have the original receipts for any of your valuable items, you can attach those when you file your hurricane insurance claims.
Document the Scene
Take clear and compelling photos or videos of damage that occurred from the hurricane to support your claim. Include photos of any damaged valuables as well. Any “before” pictures can help present a compelling narrative to show an insurance adjuster what you have lost.
Hire an Attorney
Before issuing payment, an insurance adjuster will ask you to sign a “proof of loss” document. This document includes information on the scope and pricing of repairs for your house or property.
You must review this document very carefully to ensure that all necessary repairs will be covered. Failure to review the document could mean that you might not get all of the money that would fairly compensate you for your losses.
Having an attorney at the ready to review your proof of loss document and help confirm that it is acceptable to sign saves you time and money. Additionally, if there are any hiccups along the way, an experienced attorney can help you navigate them.
Speak with a member of the Barrett Nonni Homola & Ferraro team to talk about how we can assist with reviewing your proof of loss document and help you find ways to begin your next chapter after the storm.
Contact Us for Help Filing a Hurricane Ian Insurance Claim
At Barrett Nonni Homola & Ferraro, our team has been helping Floridians fight against unjust insurance payouts for over 40 years. As hurricanes become more frequent and severe, we know that filing insurance claims after storms will become more common too.
We can fight for your rights and help you handle complex disputes with your insurance company or someone else’s. When you retain Barrett Nonni Homola & Ferraro, you will have direct access to communicate with your lawyer.
We believe in always being available for our clients should you have concerns or need questions answered. Let us handle all the complex legal issues while you concentrate on getting your life back on track after the storm.