Even if you don’t live in the direct path of the latest hurricane, you’re sure to feel the effects of powerful tropical storms within the near future. With hurricanes occurring more frequently and with greater ferocity than ever before, it makes sense to be prepared to protect your family and your home from danger.
Most of us already know the drill about bottled water, flashlights, batteries, window protection, and pools, but many people I talk with have not prepared adequately for dealing with their insurance companies after storm damage occurs. Once a storm has hit and damaged your property, it’s too late to prepare. So use the calm time wisely and consider taking these five steps to be prepared.
Review Your Florida Homeowners Insurance Policy
No one likes to read through insurance policies, but understanding your coverage now could save you a lot of time and disappointment later. So read through your policy, noting your questions and concerns. Be sure to pay attention to your level of coverage, type of coverage, all exclusions, and specified procedures.
Consider these and other questions as you review your policy:
- Do you have enough coverage, given the present value of your home and belongings? Is it time to increase your level of coverage?
- Do you have special coverage on expensive items? Do you need it?
- Does your insurance policy pay replacement cost or actual cost? Do you have a deductible or percentage you must pay? Is this something you should change?
- Are certain types of water damage excluded? Do you need a flood insurance policy to cover possible damage from rising water during or after a storm?
- What steps are you supposed to follow to file a property damage claim? Who are you supposed to call? What information do you need?
Call your insurance company representative to try to get your questions answered, and, if you’re not satisfied with their responses, call other insurance companies and consider talking with an experienced Florida insurance claim attorney. Once you’re satisfied with your policy, make a paper and digital copy of the policy, your notes on it, and the steps to follow to file a claim.
Take Pictures of Your Home and Your Possessions
We’re always telling people to take pictures of the damage to their home after a storm, but what about what your home and possessions look like before damage occurs? Having such pictures can help you and insurance company representatives assess all of the damage from a storm or other disaster.
Create a List of Your Furniture and Other Expensive Household Items
When you file a claim with your insurance company, you typically need to list the damaged items, dates purchased, and prices. For many of us, creating this list – especially when under stress – can be very difficult. Why not, then, be prepared and create it when you’re calm and have the time to be thorough?
Walk through your home, taking an inventory of all major furniture and expensive household items. As an alternative, you could use the pictures you took of your home for reference. Try to find receipts for the items on your list and create a spreadsheet including name of the item, price, date and place of purchase, and manufacturer. A picture of each item could even be included to help expedite identification.
Keep All of Your Storm Damage Preparation Records Together
It’s one thing to have pictures and a spreadsheet of your personal property, it’s another to be able to locate it in an emergency. So, before that emergency occurs, create a paper file folder to store a copy of your insurance policy, the inventory of your household items, and pictures. Label the folder appropriately and put it in a safe place that you will remember.
In addition, create a digital folder of the same documents and photos and save it online, so you can access it no matter where you are.
Contact Experienced Florida Insurance Claim Attorneys
At Malik Law, we’ve helped many Florida homeowners understand their insurance coverage and get compensated fairly for hurricane and storm damage. We want to help you be as prepared as possible for the next major storm and obtain fair payment for any damage that occurs.
Call Malik Law today at 407-500-1000 or contact us online to talk with an experienced insurance claim attorney ready to help you.