When your home is damaged by a hurricane, it can be hard to know where to begin with your insurance company.
Do you file a claim for the windstorm damage? Or for the water damage from heavy rainfall that got in after your roof was damaged by the wind?
Read on for our best tips on how to handle hurricane damage insurance claims.
Types of Damage Caused by a Hurricane
Hurricanes are a swirling vortex of water and wind which lay waste to everything in their path. Some of the major consequences of a hurricane are:
- Storm surge
- Heavy rainfall
If only a hurricane caused one type of damage, it would be easier to determine the payout in hurricane damage insurance claims. Unfortunately, when your home is damaged by a hurricane, it is likely that you have flooding damage, which can be exacerbated by wind damage that allowed more water into your home through heavy rainfall.
Because most insurance policies have a great deal of specificity in what they cover, your insurance provider will likely try to break down each individual cause of damage.
This sounds good, because it means that you get the most comprehensive evaluation of your loss, right? Well, it may not be beneficial for you in the long run. Each type of damage has a maximum coverage limit, and you have to pay the deductible for each kind of damage.
Even aside from the fact that ordinary homeowner’s insurance doesn’t cover flooding, if you have more wind damage than your policy covers, you will have to pay out of pocket to cover the remaining repairs, even if you have a claim for water damage from the rainfall which didn’t come close to its limit.
1. Windstorm Deductibles
Certain states have dedicated policies for windstorm damage, and it has its own deductible. The limits and limitations vary from state to state, but if you have a windstorm deductible, then you are more likely to have coverage from the wind damage caused by a hurricane.
The following states all have a special windstorm damage deductible:
- New Jersey
- New York
- North Carolina
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
2. Sewer Backup Damage
This is another case where you may or may not be covered, depending on what the insurance company determines is the cause of the damage.
You can buy endorsements, or add-ons, to your homeowner’s insurance policy and one of the options that is available is sewer backup damage. If you have purchased this as an add on to your policy, then the sewer backup damage may be covered.
If, however, the sewer backup is a result of flooding, which can be caused by heavy rainfall in the area of a hurricane, then you need to make sure you have purchased special flood insurance or your damage will not be covered.
If you do not live in a flood-prone area, but there is still the chance you could be hit by a hurricane, you may want to check with your insurance about purchasing a sewer backup endorsement.
Last Minute Insurance – Are You Covered?
When it comes to the coverage of your home, you cannot take risks with hurricane and flood insurance.
Some people think they are clever by waiting until it is storm season, or worse, a storm is on the horizon, to try and get coverage.
Unfortunately, many policies have a waiting period of as long as a few weeks or a full thirty days. If you wait until the storm is on top of you, you may not even be able to buy coverage. The laws are different depending on the state you are in, but many insurance companies will cease the sale of hurricane-related insurance when a hurricane watch starts. Even if you are able to purchase a policy, it is possible that your coverage will not be active until the storm is over, and the property damage is done.
Hurricane Damage Insurance Tips
1. Keep your coverage year-round – because there are waiting periods and blackouts, if you keep your coverage all year and not just during storm season, then you are less likely to encounter a situation where your policy is not effective.
2. Prepare for a higher deductible – Because hurricane damage insurance claims are based on the percentage of the total claim, you may have to fork over between 2 and 5 percent of the coverage amount.
3. Consider hurricane insurance even if you are low risk. Nearly a quarter of the insurance claims that FEMA pays out each year are to homeowners in a low-risk zone. It may be worth it for you to buy hurricane insurance if you are in any region that may be hit by a hurricane.
4. Keep track of food and lodging expenses. Your policy shouldn’t just cover repairs to your home. If your residence is uninhabitable after a disaster, then they will pay for your living expenses while you have to stay somewhere else.
Why You Need Continental Public Adjusters
Continental Public Adjusters is proud to serve the entire state of Florida in handling property claims, and they have the experience to help you get the most out of your policy.
If you have a new property claim, or even worse if your claim is denied, delayed or underpaid, you need an experienced public adjuster.
Continental Public Adjusters will do five key things for you:
1. Advocate: Our sole responsibility is to make sure you receive the maximum recovery for your loss.
2. Review: A comprehensive investigation helps us understand each specific type of loss. With our experts and consultants, we begin to determine the overall value of your property loss.
3. Estimate: Using the latest cost estimating software to prepare supporting documentation and provide to your carrier.
4. Adjust: We will adjust your claim and negotiate with your insurance company adjuster to reach a settlement meeting your approval, in your best interest.
5. Maximize: We can foresee issues and obstacles in the claims process with the experience that comes from settling thousands of claims, and will work to reach your maximum benefit.
Start with a free consultation with one of our team members to learn about your options. Continental Public Adjusters, Inc. has 38 years of experience successfully settling thousands of claims related to both personal and commercial property in the state of Florida.