In Alabama, all residents know the dangers of hurricanes and the havoc they reap. To cover the damages these powerful storms leave behind, many people have homeowners insurance. However, homeowners often accept settlements far too low as insurance companies tend to give the lowest amount possible in terms of compensation. At Holman Law Firm, we know you deserve more and our lawyers will negotiate on your behalf with the insurance company to get you the compensation you deserve after your property has been damaged by these vicious storms.
Types of Property Damage Claims
There is no such thing as “hurricane insurance.” While these storms are frequent, you may have to purchase a separate deductible for hurricane damage. When buying insurance for your home, it is a smart idea to buy homeowners insurance, flood insurance and windstorm insurance to ensure you are receiving enough compensation to pay for the full cost of the repairs.
- Windstorm Insurance. This type of insurance is typically offered as an additional deductible and the cost varies depending on where the insured lives. This type of coverage not only covers wind damage to the roof but also covers damage to the exterior parts of your home in a windstorm-related event.
- Flood Insurance. Damage from flooding as a result of storms is usually not covered in your standard homeowner’s insurance. At the Holman Law Firm, we strongly encourage clients to purchase this policy due to the enormous threat of flooding. In fact, one inch of water is equivalent to $25,000 of damage to your home. The damages can easily be mitigated with flood insurance. Even if the area in which you live has historically low flooding, you should still purchase this coverage as the Federal Emergency Management Agency estimates that 20% of flood claims emerge from areas considered low-risk.
Property Damage Claims Process
The first step in a property damage claim is to contact your insurance company. If you are familiar with your policy, you can contact the carrier immediately. However, if you are not familiar with your policy, take the time to review the details. Fully understanding your policy will increase your chance of receiving a fair settlement.
It is important to file a property damage claim as soon as possible. The window to file for these claims is usually much shorter than other claims such as car accidents. If the deadline passes and you have not yet filed a property damage claim, your insurance company will deny the claim.
Once you have filed a claim, your insurance company will begin an investigation. To ease this process and increase the chance of receiving a favorable outcome, the following steps are recommended:
- Make a list of the damaged property. It is important to make an itemized list of damages on your phone or a sheet of paper. This includes the damages to the structure of your home as well as damages to valuables. If you have receipts for any of the items, it is helpful for you to locate them and attach them to all documentation.
- Take pictures. Any visual evidence you can present to the insurance company will provide huge support to your claim. When taking photos of the damaged property, take photos of damaged valuables as well. To keep track of the photos, it is a smart idea to email them to yourself and keep them in a folder in your email. This provides you quick and easy access to the photos at any time.
- Review documents. Your insurance company will assign you an adjuster once you file for property damage. An insurance adjuster will help you settle the claim by acting as a mediator between you and the insurance company. Before issuing a payment, the insurance adjuster will ask you to sign a proof of loss document, which includes the scope and pricing of repairs for your property. It is advisable to have yourself as well as an attorney review this document carefully to ensure that all repairs are included.
- Carefully choose a repair company. It is not a smart idea to hire a repair company for their low rates, but you also are not required to hire the company your insurance company refers. Insurance companies tend to attempt to get you to choose their preferred vendor to minimize costs. It is best to get several repair estimates and look at reviews from each company before making your final decision.
If you are facing the insurance company on the account of hurricane damage, call the Holman Law Firm today. Our experienced attorneys know how to deal with the insurance companies to ensure you get the compensation you deserve. Contact us at (850) 789-9382 and receive a free consultation today!