Hurricane season 2022 is well underway, and Floridians are bracing themselves for impact. This year’s storm activity has seen higher-than-average levels, and we still have a ways to go until the season is over. One of the many stressors attached to hurricane season is the devastating financial impact it can have on so many lives. Home and business owners invest hundreds of thousands of dollars into the structures they build and occupy, and a lowball insurance settlement offer won’t do much to help you fix it in the event of a natural disaster. If a storm comes through and nearly destroys the entire building, making a full recovery will be a major undertaking, but it all starts with your storm damage insurance claim.
Submitting a hurricane damage claim is something you must do if your property has been affected by a hurricane, but you may be worried about getting what you deserve. Are you preparing to submit your claim for hurricane damage, and do you want to ensure you receive everything you are owed? In this blog, take a look at a few causes of claim underpayment and how you can avoid them.
Missing Important Deadlines
Taking too long to submit your claim can absolutely tank your chances of recovering from your damages. Home and business owners can sometimes drag their feet when submitting a storm damage insurance claim. Unfortunately, this will typically result in missed deadlines and lost opportunities to take the necessary precautions for maximizing your claim.
Every insurance policy is different, which means that your deadline could be as far away as 4 years or as soon as 4 days after the damage has occurred. It is important to review your insurance policy carefully and take action while you still have time. Even if you have a generous deadline, it is always recommended to file your storm damage insurance claim immediately. If you wait weeks to do this just before you’ve been given more time, you may be jeopardizing your chances at making a full recovery. We understand that hurricane season can be a stressful time, but if you hope to receive proper compensation for your hurricane damages, you must file your claim in a timely manner.
Lack of Documentation
A picture is worth a thousand words, and but if your property has been destroyed by a hurricane or storm, the pictures you could take could be worth tens of thousands of dollars.
It is important to collect an abundance of photographs of your residential or commercial property if it has been affected by a hurricane. Having a plethora of evidence to show to your insurance adjuster is a great way to give yourself the best chance of fully recovering from your damages.
Taking pictures of your structural damage is extremely important, as this is typically where most of the financial impact is felt after a natural disaster. However, keep in mind there are other forms of documentation you must submit if you want to be properly compensated. Were you momentarily displaced as the result of your structural damage? If so, be sure to submit your hotel receipts and confirmations alongside the rest of your claim. If you have any personal items inside of your home or business that were damaged, you may be entitled to compensation for those losses as well.
Taking the First Offer
At times, property owners make the mistake of taking the first lowball insurance settlement offer they receive from their insurance companies. People naturally want this process to be over with as quickly as possible, and because of this, home and business owners will sometimes accept whatever their insurer gives them without any dispute. Because of this, insurers continue to lowball clients in hopes they will simply take the money and run.
We understand that going back and forth with your insurance provider isn’t exactly fun, but this hassle is sometimes required if you want to make sure you’re receiving everything you need to heal from your storm damage. A $20,000 payout for your hurricane damage may seem like a big number at first glance, but in many cases, this will only cover a fraction of your repairs. Because of this, you must be ready to communicate with your insurance company and prove the extent of your damages. By refusing the first offer, knowing the value of your hurricane damage, and properly documenting your losses, you will be putting yourself in a great position to maximize your payout.
Failing to Mitigate Storm Damage
Certain insurance policy provisions require home and business owners to mitigate their storm damage after submitting a claim. In layman’s terms, this means that after you’ve sent in your claim request to your insurance company, while you wait for the damage to be repaired, you must put in place temporary repairs to stop the damage from worsening. In this context, mitigation could be anything from putting a tarp on your roof, boarding up a window, or installing a privacy sheet in place of where a door once was.
It is important to know your insurance policy very well. In certain cases, insurance companies have misread policies, leading them to believe that certain damages are not covered and should not be compensated. As the policyholder, knowing your policy like the back of your hand can help you in the event your information is misinterpreted by a representative.
Not Hiring a Florida Public Adjuster
Unfortunately, underpays aren’t always the result of an honest mistake. If your storm damage isn’t closely inspected, your claim may be minimized. It is important to always remember that the claims representative sent to your home is working for the insurance company, not their customers. We all know that insurance companies are incentivized to underpay their clients, so if you’ve been offered a lower amount of money than what is necessary for your damages, you may need to re-inspect.
Hiring a public adjuster is a surefire way to increase your chances of being properly compensated for your damages. Hurricane and storm damage can completely destroy the serenity of your home, and an underpaid claim will not be enough to restore your structure. If you are concerned about your potential payout and you want professional help, Sentry Public Adjusting is here for you. Our team of claim specialists, inspectors, and mortgage liaisons understand insurance companies, and we have a proven track record of helping home and business owners get the money they deserve.
Property insurance is supposed to give you peace of mind. Because of this, when it’s finally time for you to utilize your policy and submit a claim, it can be extremely disheartening when your damages are undervalued. If you need help dealing with your insurance company after receiving a lowball insurance settlement offer for your storm damage, contact Sentry Public Adjusting today at 800-780-6141 today for a free consultation.