Destruction in Southwest Florida and throughout the state from Hurricane Ian, the fifth-strongest hurricane to ever hit the U.S., is still shocking. Hundreds of homes and businesses have been wiped out and over 100 Floridians have been reported killed. Recovering from such devastation can take years.
If your home was damaged by Hurricane Ian, you know how difficult recovering from any kind of damage can be. Surveying the damage and thinking about how to repair or replace your lost and damaged property can be overwhelming. However, understanding the steps you should take and moving forward one step at a time can help.
In this blog post, we’ll discuss important steps to take when filing an insurance claim for hurricane damage. For more specific information and help, please contact the Dennis Hernandez insurance claim lawyers at 855-529-3366 or submit the FREE CASE EVALUATION form on this page.
Contact Your Insurance Company to Report Your Home Suffered Hurricane Ian Damage
Your first step should be to contact your insurance company. An adjuster from the insurance company will need to come out and inspect damage to your property from Hurricane Ian before you can get repairs done, so it’s a good idea to get an adjuster there as soon as possible. The only repairs you should make prior to the insurance adjuster’s assessment are those that are necessary to prevent further damage (e.g., covering a broken window with wood or putting a tarp over an area of the roof that was damaged).
Document the Damage to Your Florida Home Property
Before you meet with the insurance adjustor, it’s important to document your property damage and losses from Hurricane Ian. Although it might seem difficult when your home has been damaged or destroyed, it is important to take pictures of as much of the damage as possible. A written or verbal record of what has been destroyed and what is missing to accompany the pictures is also recommended. If you have a complete inventory of the damage, it will be useful in working with the adjuster to submit a complete, accurate claim.
Begin by photographing every room that is damaged by standing in the middle of the room and taking pictures of all four sides. Then take more pictures of each individual damaged and ruined item. On the outside of your home, take pictures of the roof, if possible, any flood line that shows how high the water rose and all damaged items. Be sure to back up your pictures and/or send copies to someone else to make sure they don’t get lost.
In addition, a written list of all damaged items with brand names and model numbers can be very helpful when filing your insurance claim. Locating receipts for the expensive or valuable items that were damaged and submitting copies of them can also help you get the amount you are entitled to from the insurance company.
If you are unable to live in your home, keeping records and receipts for everything you are spending on lodging, eating out and other living expenses is very important. These are often reimbursable under Florida homeowners insurance policies.
Keep in mind that having good documentation can help speed up the settling of your claim. Your receipts, pictures and written documentation could also be useful if, for some reason, your claim is denied, and it becomes necessary to take legal action against your insurance company.
File a Hurricane Ian Florida Insurance Claim
Filing an insurance claim for property damage is never easy; however, doing it amidst major hurricane damage when thousands of other Floridians are also filing claims and trying to get repair work done can be especially frustrating and disappointing. Following these guidelines can help you get through the process effectively.
- Your insurance company may have their selected contractors give you estimates of the damage. It is always a good idea to get additional independent estimates, since adjusters and contractors may not see the full extent of the damage and thoroughly assess what it will take to make the necessary repairs.
- File all requested documents with your insurance company as soon as possible. Not including the documents requested can delay settling your claim. If, however, you believe the insurance company is needlessly requesting more and more documents to delay settling with you, it might be time to get help from an experienced lawyer to speed up the process.
- Once you believe that your claim is complete, be sure to contact your insurance agent. Don’t wait for the agent to contact you because you might be waiting for a very long time. Make sure to ask your agent if they have everything they need to process your claim and get a written confirmation that your claim is complete.
- Beware of Hurricane Ian damage scammers. Unfortunately, many scammers are trying to take advantage of people in Lee and Charlotte Counties and other areas of Florida that were hit hard by Hurricane Ian. Scammers typically ask for money up front and then never show up to do the work. To protect yourself, always check to see that contractors are licensed, bonded, and insured before you hire them.
Even if you work with the adjuster and file all requested documents with your claim, you may still run into problems with a Hurricane Ian damage claim. Insurance companies look for ways to save money, and delayed payments, undervalued claims and denied claims are all too common in Florida.
What to Do If Your Homeowners Insurance Company Denies or Underpays Your Hurricane Ian Claim
Damage on the Southwest Florida coast and throughout the state is expected to be in the billions of dollars. Insurance companies should cover the cost of the damage, but, as we all know, they very well may try to lower their costs by underpaying claims or by denying them altogether.
Some of the tactics Florida homeowners insurance companies use to underpay or deny claims include:
- Incorrectly categorizing the cause of the damage as an uncovered cause.
- Asserting that you didn’t give them enough evidence of the damage.
- Saying that you didn’t submit all the required documents and forms.
- Claiming that the damage occurred before the hurricane or that the damage occurred because of poor maintenance.
- Saying that you didn’t prevent additional damage.
- Severely underestimating the cost of repairs.
If you believe your insurance claim was underpaid or wrongly denied, you should review your insurance policy and contact your insurance agent in writing, including supporting documentation that shows why you should have been paid more or why your claim should not have been denied. Ask the agent to reevaluate your claim.
If you cannot resolve the hurricane damage claim issue yourself with the insurance agent, you should contact a homeowners insurance lawyer.
A Dennis Hernandez Hurricane Ian homeowners insurance lawyer can help you get the payment for your claim that you need and deserve. Our legal team fights for the rights of homeowners in Fort Myers, Fort Myers Beach, Cape Coral, Iona, Sanibel Island, Port Charlotte, Bonita Springs, Bonita Beach, Naples, Venice, Sarasota, Orlando, Arcadia, and everywhere else in Florida where Hurricane Ian has damaged and destroyed homes.
How a Dennis Hernandez Hurricane Ian Homeowners Insurance Lawyer Can Help You
The Dennis Hernandez legal team is dedicated to fighting for the legal rights of homeowners whose lives have been devastated by Hurricane Ian. Our hearts go out to the people of Lee and Charlotte Counties and all the other places in Florida where Hurricane Ian has caused so much pain and loss.
At this time in your life, you have more than enough to deal with. You shouldn’t have to go through the stress of trying to fight with an insurance company that wants to pay you as little as it can get away with. Let us put our legal experience and negotiation skills to work fighting for you. We will negotiate aggressively with your insurance company, protect your rights and never settle for a penny less than you deserve.
Contact us at 855-529-3366 or fill out the FREE CASE EVALUATION form on our website for a free consultation.