RECOVERING FROM IAN
Hurricane Ian’s destructive path devastated several Florida communities, stripping citizens of the homes they’d worked so hard to build up. Filing a claim after suffering hurricane losses can be unnecessarily difficult to navigate, and your insurers might break their promises.
Don’t let the insurers win. Murray Law Group wants you to recover your home, so we’ve compiled this page of resources to help ease the pain of the claims process.
It’s crucial to file your claim as soon as possible after a hurricane to expedite the process. You can either call your insurance company to inform them of the damages or file your claim online.
Do NOT make any repairs to your property before your insurance claim is filed, as you’ll later need to provide proof of loss.
Your insurance company must respond to your communications within 14 days and decide on your claim within 90 days of filing your claim. There is a chance that the insurer might not get back to you, and there’s also a risk of a claim being denied.
If your claim is denied or the insurer fails to take action, you have two years to seek out help and get the coverage you need. Seeking help from an attorney at this point is crucial to receiving coverage.
Keep a diary or log all your conversations with your insurance company. Ensure you get names, email addresses and other contact information for each person or adjuster you speak with, and take detailed notes of all conversations you have with them.
It’s easy to want to believe in your insurer, but at the end of the day, they’re a large business that profits off of you. Sometimes your insurance company will hire independent contractors to adjust claims. The insurance adjuster works for the insurance company, not for you. It’s essential to hold these agents accountable if you aren’t adequately compensated.
FNOL, aka First Notice of Loss, is as simple as it sounds. The FNOL is the very first notice and report of the claim. In contrast, Proof of Loss reports the total loss. When submitting your claim, the FNOL is what you’ll provide initially. The proof of loss will be used to show the actual losses you’ve faced.
A Proof of Loss is the formal submission to the insurance company of the policyholder’s claimed amount, which validates the claim by explaining what’s been damaged or stolen and how much money you need for repairs and losses. Many insurance policies require submission of the Proof of Loss form within 60 days of loss. Under other insurance policies, you must only provide Proof of Loss when requested.
You’ll need to provide photos as evidence of your losses. If you need to make an emergency repair to your home before a licensed contractor is available, take photos before and after. Do not make permanent repairs to the property until you file your insurance claim. Additionally, you’ll need to take photos of any interior or exterior damage to further plead your case.
If your home is only minimally damaged, there are factors to consider when deciding whether or not to file a claim.
Consider your deductible
- If the damage costs less than your deductible, your claim will be denied.
- Avoid filing a claim for damages that cost slightly more than your deductible. Your insurance company likely won’t cover much of the repair, and your premium might raise, so it’s usually smarter to just pay out-of-pocket.
Consider your premium
- Your risk increases in the insurance providers’ eyes every time you file a claim, so it’s important to be selective about what damages you file a claim about. When your risk increases, your premium increases too.
Insurance policies require policyholders to keep and maintain claim documentation. Keeping a written activity log of claim events and actions will help protect you if your insurance company does not honor its policy obligations.
Some of the first entries on your activity log should be the date and time you discovered the damage, the names of any persons who saw the damages, the contractor’s name and contact information, as well as the name and contact information for any other service providers that inspected your insured property as a result of the loss. You should also log all communications with your insurance company and its adjusters regarding the claim.
Additionally, you should ask for and keep receipts for all work performed at your home. Avoid working with service providers that refuse (or are reluctant to) provide receipts or documentation for work performed.
FEMA primarily provides funds and assistance for what you don’t have coverage for. If you don’t cover the content within your house, they will cover that vs the house itself if you have property insurance. It makes sense to apply if there are gaps in any area coverage-wise in which damaged or missing belongings occurred.