In the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, Florida residents are returning home to find damage and destruction of their homes, businesses, and properties. Many of these home and property owners were under mandatory evacuation orders, especially those in the Florida Keys and other coastal areas where storm surge can cause major flooding and damage to buildings. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, 25 percent of homes in the Florida Keys were destroyed, and many, many more were badly damaged. As residents return home, those with insurance should be assessing damages and filing claims in order to receive compensation and begin the rebuilding process.
Homeowners Insurance Claims Extension
Due to the large number of Floridians evacuating and moving around in preparation for this storm, Governor Rick Scott has signed an emergency order that gives homeowners across the state of Florida an extension when filing claims regarding storm damage. Policyholders have 90 days to supply required information and documentation, including before and after photos of properties, to insurance companies.
This extension will also prevent insurance companies from canceling policies and allow displaced residents some extra time to update their information and file damage-related claims. Homeowners will also have more time to renew their old policy or shop around for a new one.
It’s important to note that if you do have a homeowners insurance policy, you should file your claim sooner rather than later. In just one week after Hurricane Irma, the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation estimated that there were over 335,000 claims for $2 billion in losses. According to The Real Deal, one catastrophe-modeling firm, AIR Worldwide, estimates that there could be $40 billion worth of insured industry losses in the U.S. as a result of this storm. These losses do not even account for uninsured properties, infrastructure, pleasure boats, or losses paid out by the National Flood Insurance Program.
Insurance Reminders for Homeowners
Don’t wait until a storm threatens your home to think about your insurance coverage. Act now. Once a threatening storm forms in the Atlantic, insurance carriers can stop selling or updated policies at any time. Here are some steps you can take to make sure you are getting the most from your homeowners insurance policy.
- Review your policy regularly and make sure you know what’s covered.
- Be sure to understand required reporting and response times and other requirements after the damage has occurred.
- Take photos and video of your property before the storm and after any damage.
- Make an inventory of your personal belonging, preferably with photographs, for documentation in the event of a loss.
- Save photos, video, personal belonging inventory, and important documents in the cloud if you have access to online file storage.
- Secure important documents as well as the photos and videos in waterproof containers.
- In the event of property damage or a loss, speak with an attorney before speaking with your insurance company.
Our property damage claim attorneys represent residential and commercial property owners in all types of insurance claims, including those from storm damage. It is important to know that you can trust your insurance carrier to provide you the coverage you have been paying for. Unfortunately, most insurance companies will not simply pay fair value on a claim, especially if it is a significant, high-dollar property damage claim. In many cases, property owners need to take legal action to recover their losses and ensure that their insurance carriers comply with the terms of the insurance contract.
(2017, September 18). South Florida homeowners are getting an insurance break post-Hurricane Irma. Retrieved September 19, 2017, from https://therealdeal.com/miami/2017/09/18/south-florida-homeowners-are-getting-a-break-via-emergency-insurance-order/
(2017, September 18). Live in the Keys? There’s a solid chance your home was destroyed by Irma. Retrieved September 19, 2017, from https://therealdeal.com/miami/2017/09/12/live-in-the-keys-theres-a-solid-chance-your-home-was-destroyed-by-irma/
(2017, September 18). Hurricane Irma claims filed in Florida already reach $2B. Retrieved September 19, 2017, from https://therealdeal.com/miami/2017/09/18/hurricane-irma-claims-filed-statewide-already-reach-2b/
(2017, June 05). Homeowners Insurance Preparation During Storm Season | Panter, Panter & Sampedro, P.A. Retrieved September 19, 2017, from http://www.panterlaw.com/2017/06/12/homeowner-insurance-preparation-storm-season/