Hurricane Dorian Insurance Claim Tips as it Sets its Sights on Florida
No doubt about it, Hurricane Dorian is coming to Florida. We just don’t quite know where yet as the path continues to evolve. Currently, our firm is fielding many calls from prior clients and many others who are actively seeking professional claims representation in the event Hurricane Dorian causes damage to their property. As such, our expert adjusters are working tirelessly to prepare communities and clients for the inevitable. Before it’s too late, we encourage everyone to contact their Insurance Agent to obtain copies of their policies and ask the right questions so that they understand their Coverages, Policy Limits, Exclusions, Deductibles, etc.
Below are a few popular claim tips for Dorian that we always try to share with clients. Please feel free to pass them along. Bottom line – PREPARE NOW!
- Locate all Insurance Policy documents & create a binder to organize all paperwork in the event you sustain property damage and need to file a claim. Place in a waterproof bag to keep safe and take it with you if you evacuate.
- Finalize your communication plan with Employees, Family and Friends.
- Remove & store all property items outside and clear any debris from your property that may become flying projectiles. Your neighbors will thank you!
- To the extent possible, make every attempt to strengthen the exterior of your building so the strong winds and flying debris do not tear large openings. Start by protecting and reinforcing these five critical areas: ROOF | STRAPS | WINDOWS | DOORS | GARAGE DOORS
- Take Many BEFORE Photographs – Focus on taking overview pictures; both inside and outside. Proper documentation of your property before damage occurs is critical for you as well as your insurance company and serve as a starting point to negotiate a fair and favorable claim settlement.
- Describe each room and its finishes. Note the brand of windows and doors. Secure any information you can get your hands on such as architectural plans and drawings. It does not have to be scientifically exact, but the more information you can provide the better position you will be.
- Visit https://www.floridadisaster.org/ for detailed storm information and evacuation notifications.
- Be careful of debris, glass, nails and electrical wires
- Take Many AFTER photos of the damage before any clean-up or repairs are done. It is critical to document the amount and type of repairs that need to be done so you and the insurance company can “get on the same page” concerning the work, quantities and materials that need to be priced. This is known in the insurance business as a “scope”. How many feet of flooring need to be replaced, how much paint, how much carpet, etc. If you can agree on a scope of repairs with the insurance company, that scope can be passed on to contractors. The contractors come up with estimates based on the scope, and if their prices are far apart, you and the insurance company can see where they differ. Even if there are disagreements over what needs to be done and what’s covered, having one document that lays it all out is extremely useful to settling a large insurance claim.
- Particularly on large claims, you may need the help of a professional to recover your full insurance benefits. If you are unable to find the time or energy it takes to settle a total loss claim, hire professional help, but make sure to hire a reputable professional who comes with strong recommendations. Public adjusters and policyholder attorneys will often work for a percentage fee of whatever they recover for you. This gives you affordable access to professional help but it will affect the amount of your insurance settlement. Percentage fees are always negotiable and should reflect the value of services provided
- Don’t sign any Contracts or Documents without first checking Licensure. Also, try to obtain more than one quote.
Get Professional Help if you Need it: Think of your insurance claim as a business negotiation. You are dealing with a profit-oriented company and your goal is to restore your assets.
As always, the public insurance adjusters at Tutwiler and Associates are here to help with any property insurance related questions you may have. Please call 800.321.4488 or contact a public adjuster to submit a question to one of our insurance claim experts.