When a hurricane hits, the trouble remains long after the storm leaves. Hurricane Irma was no exception. It left most of Florida in a state of devastation. Because of the extent of a hurricane’s damage, recovery is a long road. If you know how to handle your insurance claims, you may be able to make that road to recovery a little easier. Follow these tips to help you recover as quickly as possible from Irma.
1. Assess your damage from Hurricane Irma quickly
If you evacuated for Irma, you probably found yourself eager to get back home and check on the damage. There’s a good reason for this. The sooner that you assess the damage and contact your insurer, the sooner that you can get help. For the most part, insurance companies handle claims as they come into the office. If you’re one of the first people to report a claim, you have a good chance at getting help first. With a large-scale hurricane like Irma, insurance companies are bogged down with claims. Filing an early claim can make all the difference.
While you should alert your insurance company about your claim as soon as possible, you shouldn’t rush home against county orders. Many counties in Florida requested that evacuees remained away from home for a certain period of time. Such a request was made for your own safety. If you can’t safely return home to assess your damage, you can contact a neighbor and ask them for help.
Keep in mind that insurance adjustors can’t access your home if there is major flooding. In the wake of Hurricane Irma, there is still an issue with flooding. You might have to wait for an adjustor. However, an early claim still puts you at the front of the line for assistance.
2. Don’t make assumptions about your insurance
Although you may think you understand your insurance coverage, you may not know everything about it. Many homeowners assume that their insurance won’t cover hurricane damage. While flooding damage requires a separate insurance policy, you may have some coverage for water damage. For example, water damage that occurred due to wind damage on your roof could leave you entitled to some reparation.
When it comes to insurance policies, it can’t hurt to ask. Don’t assume that you don’t have coverage. Instead, assume that you do. Call your insurance company immediately to find out what damage they will cover. You might be surprised at their response. Even if you don’t have coverage, it can’t hurt to ask.
3. Consider all of your insurance policies
In the stress that comes after a hurricane, people often forget about their insurance policies. You might contact your homeowner’s insurance company but forget about your flood or auto insurance. If you have damage to your vehicle, your auto insurance company may be able to help. Comprehensive auto insurance policies usually cover damage from storms and flooding. You may be eligible for your car’s market value.
Be sure to contact every one of your insurance companies as soon as possible. You may have more coverage for damage than you realize.
4. Understand the process
To make your recovery easier, you should understand how the insurance process works. After you contact your insurance company, they send out an insurance adjustor to evaluate the damage. However, the insurance company is biased. You can hire a public adjustor to assess the damage to your property. Adjustors have licenses awarded by the state department of insurance. Once they evaluate your property, they can tell the insurance company how much damage was done.
After your insurance company receives a report from an adjustor, they can get to work on getting you the money that you deserve. However, the process isn’t immediate. You can expect to wait for your check. And for you to receive anything, you need to meet your deductible.
5. Report your claim no matter what
If you have damage to your home, but it doesn’t meet your deductible, you should still file a claim. Although you won’t receive money for the damages, you do prepare yourself for future hurricanes. If another storm hits this year, the damage from that storm adds onto your claim. Unfortunately, Hurricane Irma may not be the only hurricane to hit Florida. This season is particularly devastating. It can’t hurt to prepare yourself for future storms this year.
6. Don’t give up
Your insurance company might leave you with a large pile of unpaid bills. However, there is hope. FEMA offers low-interest loans and grants to people who suffered from Hurricane Irma. They can help you cover temporary housing, home repairs, and more. There also may be some non-profit organizations in your area who can help you.
Too many people suffered at the hands of Hurricane Irma. But don’t let that stop you from moving forward with your life and living in your dream home. Contact your insurance company or FEMA and get the help that you deserve.