Now that Hurricane Matthew has run its course, insurance adjusters throughout the Southeast United States are hard at work evaluating property damage claims and helping the region rebuild. Unfortunately, as we all know, insurance companies do not always have our best interests in mind and may search for any reason to delay or deny payment of claims. For this reason, it is imperative that policyholders take extra caution when preparing their hurricane damage claims and follow certain key steps to maximize their chances of securing fair coverage. If your home or business has sustained damage following Hurricane Matthew, be sure to keep the following tips in mind.
- Get in touch with your insurer immediately: The longer you wait to let your insurance company know about your claim, the more likely they are to assert that the damage to your property was caused by a reason other than the hurricane. Additionally, if the storm required you to evacuate and live in a hotel, promptly informing your insurer will maximize your chances of being reimbursed for these costs.
- Document everything: As soon as you can, inspect your property thoroughly and photograph any and all damage you see. This includes damage to your roof, flood damage, structural damage, broken pipes, shattered windows, removed or missing sections of framework, and damaged possessions in your home. Even things such as food lost in your pantry or refrigerator from the storm may be covered. If you have access to any recent photographs of your home’s condition before the storm, include them in your claim. Be as thorough as you can, as you may be unable to recover compensation for any damage you may discover after the fact that is not mentioned in your initial claim.
- Do not throw away damaged items: Unless it is necessary for safety reasons, do not dispose of any items that were damaged during the storm until they have either been photographed or seen by your insurance adjuster.
- Double check your policy: Hurricane insurance policies, like most insurance policies, are filled with dense legal terminology that is intentionally confusing. By combing through the terms of your policy, you will be better equipped to stand your ground in the event that your insurance company should attempt to delay or deny your claim.
- Obtain your own repair estimates: Your initial settlement offer will likely be worth far less than what you actually deserve. To give yourself leverage to negotiate, obtain your own independent repair estimates from contractors to be compared against your insurance company’s claims.
- Hire an attorney: If you and your insurance provider should be unable to come to an agreement regarding the value of your claim, consider retaining the services of a knowledgeable insurance lawyer. An attorney will be able to review the terms of your policy and employ the necessary legal strategies to maximize your potential financial recovery.
Get The Morgan Law Group, P.A. on Your Side
If you have encountered difficulty with your homeowner’s or business insurance claim following Hurricane Matthew, the Miami insurance attorneys at The Morgan Law Group, P.A. can provide the knowledgeable guidance you need to ensure your rights as a policyholder are protected. To find out more about how our firm can help, contact us online or call (844) 818-0774.