In the late night hours on October 6th 2016, Hurricane Matthew began its landfall in Florida, causing damage to countless homes and business, and wreaking havoc throughout the State. While Floridians are not strangers to extreme weather, major hurricanes like Matthew represent a rare, catastrophic event that few communities can withstand. In this blog, we take a look at what each household can do to prepare for these storms, document any damage, and prepare themselves for a successful storm damage claim.
Have an Evacuation Plan
Many Florida towns and cities have evacuations routes in place for citizens to use in case of a major hurricane, but it is up to you to make sure you have the items you need as you evacuate. This includes medicines, personal devices (and portable charges), flashlights, radios, water, and other essential items. It’s also important that you have irreplaceable items like birth certificates, wills, deeds, and your insurance policies (many of which can now be stored digitally).
It’s also important that you and your loved ones create a system to verify each other’s safety if you are separated. With texting, apps, and social media check-in functions, this is easier to accomplish for families and business than ever before.
Protect Your Home
Nothing can “hurricane-proof” your home in the event of a severe storm system, but there are measures you can take to reduce the damage your property might sustain. If you do not have storm shutters, invest in some, as they can help avoid broken windows and interior damage to your home. Also, make sure that all doors have working hinges and they are dead bolted by the time the storm hits. Remove outdoor furniture from your yard and seal and protect any exposed outlets, ducts, and vents.
Create a Household Inventory
Before bad weather is even predicted, it’s wise to create a household inventory of the significant items in your house. In the event of massive storm damage, you will want to know what things are found, what things are salvageable, and which have been lost. In the aftermath of a major storm, it’s easy to lose track of significant items and a household inventory will help you make sure a storm damage claim is as thorough as possible. Consider videotaping the inside and outside of your home or business, so you have a clear before and after “picture” for purposes of an insurance claim. This will make inventorying your losses easier. Taking overview photos of each room will also help prove your ownership of the contents of your home or business.
After the Storm
After a storm passes and the safety of you and your loved ones is secured, it’s crucial that you assess your home and thoroughly document any damage that has occurred. Making a storm damage claim can be complex and it is possible that you will face resistance from your insurance carrier. Your insurance policy requires you comply with certain conditions in order to receive payment of insurance benefits. You may not understand the insurance claim process, and what to expect. You may not understand the terms of your insurance policy. When this happens, it is time to speak to legal counsel.
At Murray + Murray, our proven Florida property insurance law attorneys are well-acquainted with the challenges insurers face in the aftermath of a severe weather event like Hurricane Matthew. We have assisted Florida Insureds with their hurricane claims since 1992. Our firm has recovered more than $117 million in coverage for clients and businesses throughout Florida and is ready to assess your post-hurricane claim today. No claim is too small or too big.
We can help you get the insurance coverage you are owed, that you paid for, and that you deserve. Use our online form to request a free case evaluation.