Living in Southern Florida means that you accept the potential for extreme weather, including hurricanes. Homeowners insurance is one of the most important investments made by homeowners at the tip of Florida and on the Keys. Ensuring that you have adequate coverage from a reputable insurance company is key to having peace of mind when storm season arrives.
When you're lucky and Mother Nature takes it easy on you, major storms may pass your home or your whole neighborhood without creating a lot of damage. For many homeowners, however, that may prove to be a temporary respite. When another storm does impact your home, you need to be ready to make the right decisions and to file a claim with your homeowners insurance company. Depending on the extent of the damage and the estimated value of your claim, professional help with the claim may increase the potential for success
Start your claim as soon as possible
The days immediately after a storm are some of the most important to the success of your claim. As soon as you know there has been damage to your home or property, you need to contact your insurance company to advise them. After major storms, claims are handled on a first-come, first served manner.
Advising your insurer or agent as soon as possible helps ensure you are paid for your claim sooner. Write down and hold on to your claim number once you've completed your claim. You should also keep written notes confirming whom you spoke with, as well as the day and time of your initial call and every subsequent communication with your insurer.
Documentation is key to proving your need
You want to take photographs or video of the destruction on your property. Everything from downed trees to broken windows should get captured in case you're waiting for days or weeks to see an insurance adjuster. You may not want to wait until they can send someone to start working on cleaning or repairs. Documenting the initial state of your home can help you prove it later.
Similarly, when you do begin cleaning and repairing your home and property, keep every receipt. From trash bags to tarps, many of these purchases could get covered, depending on the terms of your policy. It's better to err on the side of caution. After all, you can't get paid for expenses that you fail to report to the insurance company.
Know what claims to file
While your car was parked at your home, damage to your vehicle caused by trees or wind-swept debris will likely fall under your comprehensive vehicle coverage. Similarly, if your flood insurance is through a second insurance company, be certain to initiate a claim with that company as well.