Hurricanes are an unfortunate reality that comes with living in a state that borders an ocean. Though we love blue skies and sea air, homeowners in coastal areas must face the reality that their property will be threatened by hurricanes every so often.
Many coastal homeowners use hurricane insurance to help cover the costs of weather-based destruction of their property. But even with this added layer of protection, many insurance companies don’t make it easy for homeowners to receive the insurance money they deserve after a disaster.
If you live in a coastal area and are facing an unsympathetic insurance company, here’s the information you need to know.
Common Damage Types
Hurricanes are very destructive, and the wind and rain can have the same effect as a bulldozer plowing through your house.
Common claim types you may receive compensation for are:
- Destroyed Siding And Shingles
- Crumpled Garage Doors
- Shattered Windows
- Flooded Basements
- Moisture Damage
- Roof Damage
Even with these common claims, insurance companies don’t want to pay out for every claim they receive, so they may try and avoid the payout through a series of loopholes or policy exemptions that their policyholders may not have known about before signing up.
A few common types of exemptions insurance agencies may exploit are:
- Claiming the damage occurred before or after the hurricane.
- Separating flood and hurricane insurance policies to imply that water damage technically happened in a flood before the hurricane.
- Claiming that the home wasn’t up to code, or that the homeowner was living in unsafe conditions prior to the hurricane, such living as near an ocean in the first place.
- Claiming that mold or other moisture damage was in the home before the hurricane.
What should you do to combat these tactics?
Luckily, there are things you can do to stop insurance agencies from treating you this way.
- Take photographs before and after the storm. If you know a storm is coming, take timestamped photos of all your valuables so you can prove to your insurance company that you really have the assets you claimed to have, and that those assets were functional before the storm.
- Take photos before you do any cleanup so you can prove that the damage was as extensive as you’ve claimed.
- Be as detailed as possible with your claim. If you leave out details, you’ll delay the process considerably if they ask you to start over with more details.
- Be thorough in your search for damage. Not all damage to your property will be visible. Check for water damage in the structure of your walls, foundation, and roof.
- Has your car checked out by a mechanic?
- If you receive claims check from your insurance agency and you aren’t happy with the amount, contact an attorney and don’t cash the check until you’re satisfied. With most insurance checks, cashing the check robs you of your right to negotiate.
If you need help, contact a reputable personal injury attorney to make sure your insurance agency isn’t taking advantage of you!