Top five questions any South Florida resident needs to think about before hurricane season kicks into full gear
Now that hurricane season is here it is imperative that every homeowner stays abreast of the process of filing a hurricane damage insurance claim. Here are the top five questions any South Florida resident needs to think about before storm season kicks into full gear.
What are the most important elements to be aware of for hurricane season?
The most crucial action that one must take, is to snap pictures of the property prior to the storm. These photos should document the condition of the home prior to the hurricane, so if any damage occurs, a baseline is readily presentable to the insurance company as bona fide evidence.
The most common sort of hurricane damage is impact to the windows, on account of loose debris. Further, high winds and falling trees can cause damage to siding, roofing, and doorways. And interestingly, fires can also alight during hurricanes – power surges, outages, leaks, and floods can cause appliances to malfunction or short-circuit, which in rare cases, can cause electrical fires.
Finally, water damage can occur due to roof and appliance leaks. In larger storms, water can also ingress into the home. This damage can lead to mold, which should be remedied immediately.
What is covered by insurance?
This depends on the kind of insurance that the homeowner has purchased. Basic coverage protects against most forms of hurricane damage, excluding flooding. (That is to say, the policy will likely cover water damage due to a roof leak, but it will not cover a flood in the laundry room that destroys the clothes dryer.)
Likewise, damage to the roof or to the windows will also be excluded from coverage, unless a windstorm policy has been purchased.
What else is not covered by insurance?
Vehicle damage is not covered under a property insurance policy (but it could be covered under one’s auto insurance plan). And of course, negligence is also not covered. For example, if a storm surge warning has been decreed and yet appliances are still left plugged in, damage from an electrical fire in the kitchen will not be covered.
How should one deal with damage?
- Listen to authorities regarding evacuations and returns.
- Take pictures after the storm. (Before and after pictures will serve as proof in the event of a dispute.)
- Do not throw away damaged furniture or appliances. (Claim adjusters oftentimes deal with fraudulent claims and may not present the claim if the claim seems dishonest.)
- Do not sign an invoice with a contractor who does not provide a cost of the work upfront. (A shady operator may include the term “for insurance proceeds” on their invoice and try to get more from the insurance company than their cost + an honest profit margin.)
How can a public adjuster help?
Public adjusters are claim adjusters who work for the property owner, instead of the insurance company. Their fees are contingent upon what the homeowner recovers from the insurance company, and so in most cases, retaining the services of a public adjuster is a wise decision.
Stellar Public Adjusting Services has a team of adjusters with several decades’ combined experience. They can be contacted at 305-396-9110 or at their website: https://www.stellaradjusting.com/