Hurricanes and windstorms can cause a tremendous amount of damage to homes and property. Whether the damage that results from these types of disasters is covered under a standard homeowner’s insurance policy may vary depending on the location of the home and the specifications of the insurance policy. Homeowners may have to purchase additional coverage to cover damage inflicted by hurricanes or windstorms in certain states that are prone to these types of extreme weather.
Hurricane and Windstorm Damage Coverage
It is important that homeowners speak to an insurance representative regarding coverage so that all aspects of the policy are understood well before the insurance is needed. Homeowner’s insurance policies can be complicated, and misunderstanding coverage can be detrimental when a disaster happens. Even when separate policies are purchased to cover hurricanes or windstorms, water damage that is considered to have come from flooding situations may not be covered under the terms of the policy. Since hurricanes often cause flooding, home owners in hurricane prone areas should make sure that flooding is also covered.
Florida Hurricane Damage Attorneys
Home owners should file a hurricane damage claim as soon as possible following hurricane damage. Hurricanes often damage many homes in one area, so homeowner’s insurance companies in the area are likely to be very busy reviewing claims and assessing hurricane damage. This can cause the claims process to take longer, which can make it difficult to begin repairs in a timely fashion. Filing quickly may help to speed up the claims process.
Windstorm Damage Claims
Claims for windstorm damage are often covered under standard homeowner’s insurance policies. Covered damage may include wind damage from hurricanes, tornadoes, or other types of weather that causes strong winds. However, any damage that is not a direct result of wind often requires separate coverage. This may be difficult to differentiate following a storm in which rain and other elements caused damage in addition to wind.
Hurricane Repairs Process
After filing a hurricane or windstorm damage claim, homeowner’s insurance companies will usually send a claims adjuster out to survey the damage and provide an estimated valuation. Any repairs that have been made without documentation prior to the assessment of the insurance adjuster will usually not be covered by insurance. If repairs must be made in order to prevent further damage, home owners should take pictures of the damage before making temporary or small repairs, and save receipts from any items purchased to make the repairs. No large repairs should be done prior to the insurance company’s assessment.
Assessment of Damage
Home owners should take an active role in assessing the damage so that the insurance company is held to a realistic standard. Assembling a list of ruined or damaged items and structures, along with estimated values can help homeowners gauge the accuracy of the homeowner’s insurance estimates. Hiring a reputable contractor to provide an appraisal may also help to ensure the legitimacy of the insurance adjuster’s reporting.
Following hurricanes, windstorms, and other types of severe weather, home owners must be wary of disaster fraud. This is a criminal activity in which a person or people meet with a home owner saying that the insurance company wants repairs to begin immediately, but a down payment must be made first. After the money has been paid, the person or people disappear, and the repairs still need to be made. In some cases, the fraudulent contractors may even begin repairs in order to convince the home owner.
Denied Hurricane Damage Claims
Hurricane and windstorm damage claims may be denied if it is determined that the terms of the homeowner’s insurance policy excluded the type of damage which occurred. If the type of damage was not specifically excluded, the homeowner’s insurance company may be obligated to pay the claim. In some cases, insurance companies may intentionally foster misunderstanding so that home owners will not be able to file costly hurricane damage claims. This behavior is illegal and a homeowner’s insurance company may be subject to legal action in addition to being required to pay damage claims for homeowners that have been misled.
“Windstorms, Hurricanes, and Tornadoes-Are You Covered?” 360 Degrees of Financial Literacy. The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, 1 Jan. 2014. Web. 3 June 2014. <https://www.360financialliteracy.org/Topics/Home-Ownership/Homeowners-Insurance/Windstorms-Hurricanes-and-Tornadoes-Are-You-Covered>
“Virginia Bureau of Insurance Offers Hurricane Preparedness Tips.” Insurance Journal News. Wells Media Group, 2 June 2014. Web. 3 June 2014. <http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/east/2014/06/02/330781.htm>