Our Attorney Shares Preparation Tips for Hurricane Season

If you live in Florida, you have probably experienced a hurricane. During hurricane season you must be extra precautious because you never know when disaster is going to strike. Unfortunately you cannot predict the weather so it is vital that you are prepared for it, even if there is a suspicion of a hurricane and it doesn’t end up hitting your region. C.W. Smith Law, P.A. finds it to be very important that you know the laws that can protect you or benefit you when it comes to hurricane damage. Now is always the best time to get prepared for hurricane season and now is the best time to update your insurance coverage as new coverage will normally not apply to storms existing when the policy is issued.

Laws Regarding Storm Shutters

 If you are involved in a natural disaster such as a hurricane in Florida, there are laws that protect you as a homeowner/condo owner. If you own or rent a condo, there are some laws you should be informed about. Section 718.113(2)(a) refers to material alterations and provides that any alterations must be in accordance with provisions of the governing condominium documents, and if they don’t have a governing provision, they must be approved by 75% of the total voting administration. The directors may not have the authority to approve the installation of doors and windows if they are material alterations. Section 115(1)(e) addresses previously installed hurricane protection when the association votes to install throughout the condominiums. If a condo owner already has hurricane protection that complies with the current code, the owner receives a credit that is equal to the pro rata portion of the assessed installation cost assigned to every unit. This means that the owner does not have to pay the portion of installation that would otherwise be applicable to their unit but is not excused from the pro rata portion of the installation cost for the common elements.

When it comes to free-standing home provisions and law, there may be restrictive covenants in your neighborhood so please consult with your home owners association or your attorney in order to obtain the most up to date information.

What You Need To Know

 Whether a storm is headed your way or not, be sure to keep your insurance coverage information and agent contact information handy.  An easy way to do that is to take a picture of your coverage information or bill with your cell phone and also make sure that your agent’s contact information is in your phone.  That way if you have to evacuate at the last minute, or if you have to leave your home after a storm, you will have that information with you.  You should also keep a list of your belongings or take a brief video of each room in your house (and your garage) including closets so that you can itemize your belongings if the worst occurs.

If your home or business is damaged by a storm, you will need to notify your insurance company as soon as possible as many policies have provisions which can bar a recovery if you wait too long.  Some policies require a written sworn “proof of claim” be submitted within 90 days of the loss as well, or the claim could be denied.  You will need to take actions to secure your property to the extent that is possible after the loss.  That means boarding broken windows, putting tarps on damaged roofs, and other actions where possible under the circumstances.  Some insurance policies allow your insurance company to pick the contractors to perform the repairs to your home, but most allow you to use whomever you like.  Be sure to carefully select your contractors and to have any contracts reviewed by an attorney before signing them, as some contracts can permanently assign away your rights with your insurance company.  Early on is the best time to speak to an insurance attorney regarding your rights and responsibilities under your home owners’ policy and you should consider talking to our attorney at C.W. Smith Law, P.A. to ensure you are taking the right steps and to assist if you need to file a claim.

Contact Us

 When you need an attorney during hurricane season, or have a different type of loss at your home, contact C.W. Smith Law, P.A. today to speak with our attorney. We can help guide you in ways to protect your home and we can also file your claim for hurricane damage. Call us at 407-801-2667 or visit our website https://www.cwsmithlaw.com.