HURRICANE IRMA DAMAGE AND DENIED CLAIMS
Hurricane Irma has finished its path across Florida and has since been deescalated into a tropical depression over Georgia and South Carolina. In its wake, it has caused widespread damage and power outages throughout Florida due to its heavy rainfall, flooding, and gale force winds. People must now assess the damage wrought upon their home, boats, and other valued property, and prepare to file a Hurricane Irma damage claim with their insurance providers.
Steps to Take After Hurricane Irma
1. Restore power slowly: Turning on all electronics and appliances at once after safely reentering your property can overload the electrical grid and cause a power outage. Start with your refrigerator and gradually turn on or plug in other devices afterwards.
2. Photograph everything: With safety matters addressed, it is time to start documenting the damage you see. Your smartphone’s camera will be your best tool for recording the damage caused by Hurricane Irma. Turn on a timestamp feature if there is one before snapping pictures of water, wind, and debris damage all around your property. Do not forget to catalogue damage to valuable property besides your house, such as boats and automobiles.
3. Review your insurance policy: If you have a copy of your insurance policies on-hand or can find them online, take a moment to look them all over. See what your policy limits are and what they cover. Does your homeowners’ insurance include storm surge coverage? Is your boat covered if it was thrown onto dry land by a hurricane? You should know.
Challenging Bad Faith Insurance Tactics
After a natural disaster that is the size and scale of Hurricane Irma, insurance companies will be called upon by droves of people who need financial help and deserve full coverage. In an effort to try to save on costs, some insurance companies may become dishonest and resort to bad faith insurance strategies that put consumers and policy holders at unfair disadvantages.
Keep your eyes open for any of these behaviors from your property or boat insurer, which could be bad faith insurance:
- Delay: Insurance companies are supposed to send out an insurance adjuster as soon as possible to investigate reported damages and come up with an idea of how much coverage needs to be granted to the policy holder. Bad faith insurance occurs if a company needlessly waits to send out an adjuster or otherwise puts delays in the handling of a client’s claim, such as requesting additional copies of already-provided paperwork without reason.
- Denial: Following Hurricane Irma, an insurance company desperate to save its bottom line may outright deny claims without following the proper steps or giving acceptable reasons for doing so. If your Hurricane Irma damage claim for your house or boat is denied with a generic letter that cites no specific reasoning, it is probably a surefire sign of bad faith insurance.
- Devalued: Instead of denying or delaying the handling of a Hurricane Irma claim, a dishonest insurance carrier may choose to lowball coverage amounts. People unaware of the unreasonably low offer may choose to accept it and end up being shorted thousands of dollars’ worth of coverage they should have been given.
If you think bad faith insurance is interrupting your Hurricane Irma damage claim, or if you would like to avoid any issues in the first place, you can contact Darrigo, Diaz & Jimenez, Attorneys at Law. 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.