5 Things to Avoid During the Hurricane Insurance Claims Process in Florida
Florida is no stranger to hurricanes and storms, especially during the months of September and October. Unsurprisingly, Florida is also the third most expensive state for homeowners’ insurance coverage. According to Insurance.com, Florida’s average home insurance rate is nearly $1,338 higher than the national average.
Just because your homeowners’ insurance policy covers damages caused by a hurricane does not necessarily mean that your hurricane insurance claim will be successful. Since many homeowners do not understand how to navigate the insurance claims process and may deal with bad faith insurance practices, some of their mistakes may hurt their insurance claim.
5 Things Florida Homeowners Should Avoid When Filing a Hurricane Insurance Claim
There are certain things you, as a homeowner, should avoid in order to protect your legal rights and obtain the reimbursement you deserve as a homeowner whose property has been damaged or destroyed by a hurricane.
- Throwing Away Damaged Items
While it may seem that all of your personal property and belongings have been totally destroyed by the hurricane, you may be surprised to find out that some of your property has not been damaged beyond repair.
As a homeowner, you must preserve as many items as possible. In fact, insurance companies require their policyholders to mitigate their damages and losses as much as possible. If you throw away damaged items, your insurer may undervalue your claim if they can prove that you failed to minimize the financial impact of the storm surge, wind damage, and flooding.
- Not Contacting Your Insurance Company Right Away
You are required to notify your insurance company of the damage immediately. The sooner you report the damages to your insurer, the sooner their representative will arrive to assess your claim.
Failure to contact your insurance company right away may also give your insurer an excuse to deny your claim because you failed to comply with the “prompt notice” requirement.
- Not Assessing the Full Extent of Damages
An insurance company representative must assess the full extent of damages caused by a hurricane. Unfortunately, some adjusters may intentionally fail to investigate the full extent of losses in order to reduce the value of your hurricane insurance claim.
If you do not agree with the insurer’s estimate of your damages, you may have a right to conduct an independent assessment. For this reason, it is important to be represented by a Tampa insurance attorney to document all the damages and protect the value of your insurance claim.
- Accepting the Insurance Company’s Initial Settlement Offer
As a rule of thumb, initial settlement offers do not reflect a fair or reasonable settlement amount. After a hurricane, an insurance company will review hundreds or thousands of hurricane insurance claims in the shortest amount of time. Unfortunately, many insurers undervalue hurricane insurance claims in order to retain as much of their profits as possible.
You should not accept your insurance company’s settlement offer without consulting with a knowledgeable lawyer first. You have a right to dispute the insurer’s offer and submit a counter offer.
- Trying to Navigate the Hurricane Insurance Claims Process on Your Own
Trying to handle your insurance claim without a skilled insurance law attorney on your side is one of the worst things you can do. It is important to hire an experienced insurance attorney to ensure that your hurricane insurance claim is handled in a fair manner and help you avoid mistakes during the hurricane insurance claims process. Contact our Tampa insurance lawyers at HD Law Partners to talk about your particular case. Schedule a free case review by calling at 813-964-7878 or filling out our contact form.