Hurricane Irma Insurance Claims
On September 10, 2017, Hurricane Irma made landfall in Southwest Florida, and wreaked havoc in our region. When all was said and done, 65% of the state of Florida lost power. Many in Southwest Florida believe Irma constituted the worst hurricane of their lifetime.
Homeowners and business owners sustained property damage, additional living expense, and/or business interruption. Weldon & Rothman, PL is a Southwest Florida law firm with significant experience in the area of insurance disputes and litigation. In preparation for making you claim under your homeowners insurance policy or business owners insurance policy, we offer you the following tips.
A. Making Your Insurance Claim
1. Photograph and/or video all damages to your property – You should as soon as possible, and as completely as possible, create photographic and/or video evidence of your damages. You will then have photographs and/or videos to show the adjuster the exact condition you found your property in following Irma. Photograph or video any and all losses sustained from the storm, including things you might not think of such as fallen trees. Do not discard any items without obtaining permission from your insurance company first. Note that even food spoilage may be recoverable, and you should photograph your spoiled food before discarding it.
2. Make temporary repairs to stop continuing water intrusion – If you are experiencing or are at risk of experiencing continuing water intrusion following Irma, you should take temporary measures to prevent further water intrusion, such as securing the area with a tarp, until such time as your permanent repairs can be made. Photograph and/or video the loss both before and after you make the temporary repairs.
3. Make your insurance claim as soon as possible – Make your insurance claim as soon as possible. Do not wait. By waiting too long you can forfeit coverage or provide the insurance company with arguments that can be used against you.
4. Keep a claim journal and record all claim activities and expenses incurred in it – Keep a journal of all interactions with your insurance company and activities related to your insurance claim. You could end up speaking with inside adjusters, outside adjusters, engineers, contractors, etc… It will help you to have a record of who said what, and when. Along these lines, you will need a record of all expenditures you’ve made in connection with Irma and your claim journal is a good place to keep notes and records on such expenditures.
B. If A Dispute Arises, Contact An Experienced Insurance Attorney
Insurance companies have an interest in minimizing the amount of money paid out on insurance claims. For this and other reasons, a dispute may arise during your claim process. There are a few standard potential disputes you should be aware of:
1. You disagree with the insurance company about the amount of the loss. It is common for insurance companies to attempt to lowball the amount of a claim in hopes that the insured will accept less than what the claim is actually worth. If you believe you are getting low balled, you may want to consult with an attorney about your claim.
2. The insurance company denies insurance coverage in whole or in part. It is also common for insurance companies to deny coverage for all or parts of an insurance claim. If you believe the insurance company in wrongfully denying insurance coverage for any part of your claim, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible to discuss your legal options.
3. The insurance company excessively delays processing, finalizing, or issuing payment on the claim. If the insurance company unreasonably delays any part of your insurance claim and you cannot resolve the issue yourself, you may have legal recourse and you should contact an attorney.
4. If the insurance company writes “final” or “full” payment on your check, and you believe you may have additional damages or require a supplemental claim, do not cash the check and contact an attorney.
C. Weldon & Rothman, PL Provides Representation For Insurance Disputes
Our law firm provides aggressive representation to policy holders for insurance matters, including wrongful claim denials, insurance coverage issues, disputes on the claim amount, and insurer bad faith. With offices in Naples, Fort Myers, and Sarasota, we represent homeowners and business owners throughout Southwest Florida. If you sustained a loss to your home or business in Hurricane Irma, and the insurance company is denying coverage, low balling you, or engaging in other bad faith conduct, contact us for a consultation to learn your legal rights and options.
We have a long commitment to protecting the rights and interests of the men and women of Southwest Florida. Following Irma, insurance companies need to be fair and make good on their commitments to our community. We’re going to help make sure it happens.