Last Update: 02/01/16
Florida has been lucky for awhile now, hurricane-wise. In fact, the Huffington Post has made note of our good fortune in a recent article that points out that the State of Florida has not been the target of a major hurricane for eight years now (since 2005). Which may mean we’re due for a big hit this year.
Now is the time to get ready for that next big hurricane, even if it does not show up this year or the next. If you wait, you may be out of luck: the insurance companies stop issuing hurricane coverage when a big storm is already headed our way.
12 Things You Should Do Now to Get Ready for the Hurricane Insurance Adjuster — Prepare In Advance for Florida Hurricane Claim(s)
Insurance adjusters aren’t your pals (as we have warned before): your best protection in the event of a Florida hurricane claim is to get prepared now to deal with the Florida hurricane insurance adjuster and the Florida insurance claim fight before you need to file a claim.
Consider doing the following NOW:
- Know the current insurance law. For example, Florida Governor Rick Scott recently signed a new law that is designed to make Citizens Insurance an insurer of last resort and provides incentives for homeowners to find coverage with private insurance companies instead of Citizens.
- Know your insurance agent. Make sure that the agent is considered reputable and in good standing. Check out the insurance company, too: does it have a reputation for dragging its feet in covering claims? (Most Florida personal injury lawyers know many horror stories of bad insurance companies as well as nefarious insurance agents who have been happy to take those policy payments but are none too thrilled at having to honor a claim.)
- Know your insurance policies. Read the coverage, ask questions. Make sure that what you think is covered really IS covered.
- Tenants need renters’ insurance. The landlord may have a policy that covers the building and land, but that policy is not going to cover the tenant’s personal property (or the costs for the tenant to relocate in case of severe damage to the structure).
- Flood insurance (with wind and hail coverage) is a different policy(ies) from hurricane coverage. If you own land in Florida, then you may need this coverage, too. Homeowners’ policies usually exclude flooding from their coverage.
- Hurricane coverage (residential or commercial) needs to cover the full replacement cost of the property; it is smart to have “additional living expenses” covered too.
- Your auto policy needs to be checked for “comprehensive coverage” to make sure that your vehicle is covered for hurricane damage.
- Your health insurance needs to cover out-of-network providers for non-emergency situations or if you need to change things to prevent being responsible for those costs.
- Check the policy limits on all these policies to make sure that the policy coverage is adequate, dollar-wise, to cover what you have and might need covered.
- Take the time to create an inventory of your property now – before any hurricane is on the horizon. Put this inventory in a safe place (it’s no good to you if it’s lost in the storm). Photos, videos — these are great ways to document your stuff. Don’t forget to document your lawn, your roof, the exterior of your home and fence, your car, boat, etc.
- Safeguard your important papers in a safe place — this includes your will, deeds to property, birth certificates, and other personal documentation as well as your insurance policies.
- Keep the names of your insurance agents handy along with insurance policy 1-800 numbers in your wallet or purse.
What Should You Do?
A good piece of advice if you have been harmed by your insurance adjuster, is to at least speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer before you file a claim to learn about some of the issues that can arise with these claims, including the type of evidence needed to prove a claim and the type and amount of damages you can recover. Most personal injury lawyers, like Alan Sackrin, will offer a free initial consultation (over the phone or in person) to answer your questions.
- Public Insurance Adjusters Can Bring Their Own Damage After Florida Already Hurt in Florida Hurricane, Tornado, or Fire: Be Wary of Fast Florida Adjusters
- Are Florida Insurance Adjusters On Your Side?: Beware of the Denied Claim, the Low Ball Claim and the Recorded Statement.
- Florida Homeowners’ Policy and Claims Bill of Rights Draft Released by Florida Consumer Advocate: Protecting Against Insurance Adjusters
Do you have questions or comments? Then please feel free to send Alan an email or call him now at (954) 458-8655.