Hurricane damage in South Florida is inevitable. There are many products on the market, like impact windows and doors, to help prevent more severe damage to your home. However, these storms are unpredictable. Homeowners insurance will cover a lot of the damage caused by these big storms. On the contrary, it is important to read through what your insurance covers and what it does not.
Many home insurance policies will cover damages that are in result of intense winds. However, what is not normally covered is water damage to your property as a result of flooding. Flood insurance is an entirely different insurance policy you will need to purchase to ensure your home, as well as your assets, are covered.
Continue reading to learn all you need to know, as well as how to legally prepare your property, when a hurricane hits.
Types of Hurricane Damage Claims
There are many different types of damages that extreme weather, like hurricanes, can cause. The three main damage claims filed after a hurricane are wind, fire and water damage. However, these are not the only types of damage claims filed due to hurricanes. Mold damage, that normally comes later as a result of the water damage, is also very common.
It is important to document any and all damage following a hurricane to prepare for filing your claim. Although you are insured, the insurance company will attempt to discredit your damages any way they can. For example, if you know a hurricane is coming, it may be a good idea to document and photograph the parts of your home, like windows and roofs, that are at high risk of damage. This is because your insurance company may try to fight the fact that your windows or the structure of your home was previously damaged and was not a result of the storm.
Fire damage claims are also filed despite of the amount of rain that comes with these large storms. However, due to the rain and lightning, there are power surges and outages that can cause fires. Appliances and outlets can cause electrical fires especially when rain water is involved. This brings us to the third most common claim, which is water damage. Water damage can occur due to a multitude of factors. These factors including leaky roofs and windows from fallen debris.
However, your water damage will not be covered if your insurance company can prove that these damages are the result of flooding. This is why many homeowners purchase flood insurance along side their homeowners insurance policy.
In Florida especially, homeowners insurance policies are restrictive in what they do and do not cover. Many homeowners are purchasing separate policies, like flood insurance, to ensure their home and property is fully covered when these storms hit. It is important to read through, and understand your coverage before the storm hits. It normally takes 30 days to file for new insurance coverage, so in the case you want coverage before a hurricane, file early.
The big question is, what does your homeowners insurance cover?
Depending on the type of homeowners insurance you have, coverage varies. Basic insurance will cover some damages, especially involving damage from debris. If your roof or windows begin leaking due to damages from fallen trees or other objects, you are covered. Damages to structures due to high wind is also covered.
It can’t be said enough how important it is to make sure you know exactly what is covered, so you can inquire about other policies you may need to be fully compensated after the storm.
Your homeowners insurance policy does not cover damages from a flood. This also includes damages from a storm surge. Not only do Florida Residents experience this type of damage, but many other states like Texas need a separate policy to cover damages from floods and overflow from other bodies of water. The tricky thing about filing for water damage, is the insurance policy will try to find any way to prove that the damage was due to flooding, and not cover any losses.
Your homeowners insurance does not cover damages as a result of negligence. This means that if you were under evacuation order, you did not follow directions from officials as to how to protect your home. For example, turning off your power, as well as not unplugging appliances, which may cause a fire. Homeowners insurance does not cover damages to your vehicle, even if it is in the garage. Like flood insurance, you will need to purchase the correct auto insurance to ensure your vehicle is fully covered from hurricane damage.
How to Recover from Hurricane Damage
Following a storm, making sure you and your loved ones are all safe is a priority. The next step is to document any and all damages to your home and your belongings. It is heavily important to put an insurance claim in as soon as possible. This is because of the high volume of calls and claims they will be experiencing after the hurricane. Insurance claims can take an extremely long time to begin to move forward in the process. That being said, it is important to get a jump start as soon as the storm passes.
After you submit your insurance claim, the next step is to look into hiring a public adjust. Unfortunately, your insurance company tries to find any way to deny your claim. If they approve your claim, they will then find any way possible to pay out the least amount of money as possible. Hiring a public adjuster, like the exports at Exodus Public Adjuster, will guarantee someone who knows the process in and out is in your corner.
Your public adjuster will come out and do their own assessment of the damages following the hurricane. They are the middleman and take care of everything involved until you receive the money you deserve. They fight for your best interest and want you to be paid fairly for your compensation.