After a Natural Disaster in Florida
Natural disasters can strike without warning and in Florida it is hurricanes that we need to worry about. In the aftermath of a hurricane, you need to take the right steps to rebuild your life and one of those steps is filing a claim with your insurance company. Getting an insurer to pay a claim is not easy. However, having a natural disaster coverage attorney from Farah & Farah on your side can ensure that the insurance company does not manipulate or take advantage of your situation. If you are having difficulty with your insurance company after a natural disaster, call us at 855-797-9899.
Be on the Offensive
Insurance companies are not in business to pay claims, but to collect premiums and make money. They will try to delay, underpay, or even outright deny claims knowing that the claimants desperately need the money to make repairs. There are steps you can take to make sure the insurance company operates in good faith. The main thing is to keep the insurance company on the defensive when pursuing a claim. You should be the first to do everything from visiting the scene and taking video and photographs, to hiring experts and getting estimates of the damage. If you’ve done all the work it sets the insurance company up for a bad faith claim if it fails to adjust the claim in a proper and timely manner. If you are still unsure of what to do, follow these pre- and post-disaster tips:
- Locate and copy all insurance policies.
- Immediately contact the insurance company and file a claim.
- Photograph and/or record on video in the light most favorable to ensuring coverage.
- Save copies of checks, estimates, invoices, and receipts of all pre-and post-disaster purchases, expenses, leases, and rentals.
- After documenting the damage and allowing the adjuster to inspect, mitigate damages with temporary repairs.
- Get the latest appraisal of the equipment, premises, and personal and business property.
- Create a map of the premises and the location of the equipment, machinery, and personal property.
- Get an estimate for repairs from a licensed contractor and retain an engineer to determine any structural damage.
- Keep record of and confirm conversations with insurance reps, adjusters, and experts.
- Appropriately prepare and send the “proof of loss” under the policy in a timely manner.
- For a business, discuss loss of income with an accountant and calculate the losses and take steps to get the business running to mitigate damages.
Important Info for Homeowners
If you have an actual cash value policy, the insurance company will depreciate everything damaged in the disaster. Actual cash value policies allow payment for only the actual cash value of the damaged items at the time of the damaging event. Items that are depreciated include sheetrock, roof, structure, home contents, and fixtures. You can contest and negotiate the amount of depreciation, however. To do that, you’ll need to hire a contractor and/or other necessary professionals.
If you have a replacement cost policy, which pays the cost of replacing damaged items, the insurance company usually won’t pay until the items have already been replaced. This may also be negotiable under certain circumstances.
Natural Disaster Coverage Attorneys Helping You Recover after a Natural Disaster
Losing your home and your possessions during a hurricane is devastating and the steps you take after such a tragedy significantly impact how you will rebuild your life. Insurance companies are a necessary factor in recovering after a natural disaster and an injury attorney at Farah & Farah may be able to help you get the payments you’re counting on. To learn more about your rights and options, contact us at 855-797-9899 for a consultation today.