After a major storm, filing hurricane insurance claims can be a tricky and difficult process in an already tumultuous time. By following a set of steps to prepare for your claim, you can ensure that the process will run more smoothly and that your claim is taken care of accurately. C.W. Smith Law, P.A., a business offering legal services throughout Central Florida, can offer you guidance and assistance, thus making sure your hurricane insurance claim is properly addressed by your insurance company.
1 Call your insurance company as soon as possible to report the claim and to begin the insurance claims process.
In order to ensure that your hurricane insurance claims are taken care of as quickly as possible it is important to make sure that you contact your insurance company immediately. Even if you don’t know all of the damages or what repairs will cost, call your insurance agent or company directly and promptly to make sure your claim has been filed. Especially after a severe hurricane where many people are making claims at once, it is important to make the call early as waiting periods can lengthen. Also, some insurance companies have policy language which can potentially exclude claims not made promptly.
2 Document your damages
Be certain that before you make any changes to your home that you have documented proof of all the damage that the hurricane caused, and that you have given your insurance company adequate time to inspect the damages as well. Do so by taking pictures of all areas around the property, as well as video, and making a list of the things damaged and items lost. This includes personal property inside the home as well as damage to structures.
3 Protect your home and make basic repairs.
One of the most important things moving forward with your claim is to ensure that your home is protected against any further damage. Your insurance company will not bar you from making basic repairs to your home such as setting a tarp on your roof or covering broken windows. These changes are essential in preventing the damages from getting worse than they already are. Failure to protect your property to the extent possible can also reduce or limit claims for additional damages after the fact.
4 Keep track of any expenses towards repairing the damage
Be sure to keep any receipts of expenses paid toward repairing your home as well as any expenses spent on evacuating. Especially in the event of a hurricane, insurance companies may pay a certain amount per day for your evacuation expenses to cover your hotel and meals. By keeping track of and documenting all of these expenses, you will be sure to speed up your claim process.
5 Record any changes you make to your home
As important as it is to document the initial damages, it is equally important to document any changes you make to your home. Keep visual documentation through photos and videos as well as written, detailed documentation for any of the repairs made on your home. This can ensure that your insurance company has a record of any repairs, either made by you or someone else, and when they were made. Other than basic repairs being made to prevent additional damages, you must give your insurance company a chance to inspect your home before starting your repairs and under some policies your insurance company made get to pick your contractors.
6 Written Proof of Claim & Sworn Statements
Many insurance policies require that you provide a written “sworn proof of claim” reflecting certain information on your policy, the insured, your claims and your damages. Under some policies that must be sent to the carrier within thirty or ninety days of the loss. Some insurance companies will not tell you that this must be done and may try and use it as a basis to deny your claims later. If your insurance company requests a sworn verbal statement or examination under oath (EUO), failure to provide that statement may provide your insurance company with a basis to deny your claim. Any time a sworn proof of claim is required or an EUO is requested, it is a good idea to speak with and likely retain an insurance attorney regarding your rights and responsibilities.
If you need assistance in facing your insurance company with your hurricane insurance claim, contact C.W. Smith Law, P.A., a business in Orlando, Florida offering law services, for further information and guidance on filing your insurance claim.