Florida is a coastal state known for hurricanes and tornadoes that impact thousands of property owners every year. Florida homeowners like you pay insurance premiums faithfully. When you suffer property damage, you expect that your insurance company will step up and do the right thing. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Read on to learn more about what you can and should do when a disaster hits your property.
Florida Tornado Damage Claim Tips
Below are seven tips to ensure appropriate recovery of your property value after suffering property damage from a tornado in Florida:
Tip #1: Call your insurance company to report the claim
First, find out where you can send written notice of the claim. Send notice in writing by email, mail, or fax. Include a description of the possible damage and the incident. It is important to send notice in writing, even if your insurer says it is unnecessary. Make sure to record your claim number.
Tip #2: Ask for an advance when applicable
Many insurers will make an immediate payment of $1,500 to $5,000 if the property damage is severe. Make sure to keep track of all receipts documenting how you use this money.
Tip #3: Thoroughly analyze your insurance policy
Find out what your policy covers and what it doesn’t (go beyond the declarations page). Read your entire policy and mark any sections you don’t understand. Your insurance adjuster can explain these to you. If you've lost your policy, your insurance company can send you a copy.
Tip #4: Ask your insurance company if your policy covers expenses for living elsewhere
Is your home uninhabitable due to storm damage? Most homeowners' policies will reimburse you for living elsewhere while your home is being repaired. If your home was destroyed completely, it could take up to six months to rebuild. In this case, your policy may pay for “additional living expenses.” These can include renting a similar home, restaurant meals, and travel to your home. Always get advance approval from your insurer before signing a lease.
Tip #5: Record the damage
Before you clean up from the disaster, record all the damage via video and photo. Too much evidence is always better than too little.
Tip #6: Take inventory of the damage to the building and its contents
Record everything you think is wrong with your home and send that list to the insurance adjuster. Make sure to list everything that was damaged inside the home. Include computers, furniture, etc. Never discard any damaged object or evidence of damage before the adjuster sees it.
Tip # 7: Communicate in writing
Even if you have a call or in-person conversation with the insurance adjuster, confirm everything said in writing afterward. Email or write to the insurance company to check your claim status. This helps avoid misunderstandings.
Contact Us Today
Too often, policyholders find damage that the insurance company failed to payout. Or they find that it will cost more to repair the damage than the insurance company wants to pay. If your insurance company unfairly denies or underpays your insurance claim, you will need an experienced insurance attorney on your side.
Contact PZ Law Firm, P.A. today at (407) 500-EZPZ (3979) for a free consultation and get the compensation you deserve.
Disclaimer: This column does not create a client-attorney relationship and is not intended as legal advice. Should you need any legal advice, speak to an attorney who is skilled in the area and jurisdiction you require.