18 Sep. 2018

Property Claims: How to make your storm damage insurance claims go as smoothly as possible

Posted By Darrigo, Diaz & Jimenez

Hurricane Florence started its slow march across the Southeast Friday, pounding North Carolina with a powerful combination of wind and rain. The dangerous storm, which was downgraded to a tropical storm, will batter the region through early next week. While the storm’s winds will slowly weaken, the devastating effects will continue to be felt.

Recovering from catastrophic storms is stressful enough, but homeowners and condo owners are often forced to navigate what can be confusing and contentious insurance claim proceedings. Knowing what to expect and what you need to do when you have a major claim, like a hurricane, will make a big difference in how quickly you get paid and back on track to your normal lifestyle.

Don’t become a victim . . . twice!

After a natural disaster that is the size and scale of Hurricane Florence, insurance companies will be called upon by droves of people who need financial help and deserve full coverage. This puts a strain on insurance companies and can lead to significant delays and outright denial.

Below are tips for filing disaster claims that will make the process easier and help protect your claim from denial or delay.

  1. Call your insurance agent immediately. Most insurance policies mandate that you give notice to the insurance company “immediately” after the damage occurs. If you wait too long, the carrier may say the claim was “prejudiced” by your “delay” and attempt to avoid covering your claim as a result.
  1. Always get everything in writing. Save all communications to avoid any conflicts or misunderstandings down the road.
  1. Take lots of pictures and/or videos. Document any damage to external and internal property, such as furniture, clothing and electronics, so that you receive adequate reimbursement for your losses.
  1. Point out all damage to the insurance representative. After your claim has been received, an insurance representative will come and inspect your property. It is crucial that you report all damage to your property. Remember, the insurance representative does not work for you, but instead works for the insurance company. Even though the adjuster may be friendly and professional, he or she is not an advocate for the full payment of your loss.

Insurance companies will offer you a settlement based on the adjuster’s estimate of your damages. In many cases, the offer is much lower than expected. Insurers do this because they know that claimants are often facing significant damage they need to repair fast, and that this creates a sense of urgency to settle.

However, you have the right to appeal a denial or lowball settlement offer. In fact, we encourage you to exercise this right, so you hold the insurance company to the coverage you are paying for every month when you pay your premium.

As a Tampa law firm, we understand the hardships of rebuilding in the wake of hurricanes. If your insurance claim has been delayed, denied or underpaid, Darrigo, Diaz & Jimenez is ready to help. Our Tampa trial attorneys can help review your filed claim and stand up to insurance companies that use unsavory business tactics. Call 813.774.3341 today to schedule a free case evaluation with our highly-experienced, highly-praised team.

Categories: Property Claims
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