Just as it is no stranger to water damage, South Florida is also highly susceptible to Hurricane, or Storm damage, given the tropical climate. Though the greatest portion of damage will come from water damage, which can do things such as rot wood, rust steel, and de-laminate plywood, wind damage, mold, collision damage from debris such as trees, and even loss of food by spoilage due to electrical outages are also damages that are, or should be, covered in hurricane insurance. Any property insurance plans in tropical, coastal areas, particularly in South Florida, usually includes a process to submit hurricane damage insurance claims, similar to what you would do for submitting water damage claims:
- Acquire a copy of your insurance contract to ensure that there are no disagreements over the language of your plan.
- Until the insurance company and the claimant have come to an agreement about the scope of the damage, mitigate, don’t repair the water damage.
- Document the damage, take as many pictures as you can, and where possible save samples of damaged drywall or other affected surfaces.
- If your insurance adjuster does not utilize thermal or infrared imaging, or moisture mapping technology then you should consider hiring a public adjuster who does.
- Obtain your own estimates of the repair costs, three independent estimates from contractors are a good start.
- If your claim is not settled within 45 days, you can and must demand an explanation why.
- If your insurance company is unresponsive, consider contacting a public insurance adjuster.
An important aspect to consider is what to do in the case of an absolute emergency forces the individual or family to abandon the home. If the claimaints are forced to evacuate due to the dangerous conditions, they may not have grabbed essentials like toiletries or clothes for school and work, and so may, and should, ask for an advance against the ultimate hurricane insurance claim to hold them over until the claim is finally resolved, and these living costs should be recorded.