Hurricane Dorian’s greatest impacts were felt in the Bahamas, where it made landfall as a category 5 storm. The storm’s impact on the Bahamas is tragic, with dozens dead, and hundreds more missing. Our thoughts are with those in the Bahamas and those who have family on the islands who are struggling with the aftermath of the storm.
While Florida braced for a category 5 storm, fortunately, hurricane Dorian weakened, resulting in minimal impact to the state. While the center of the storm remained off the coast of Florida, the state still experienced some impact from the hurricane, mostly in the form of storm surge, flooding, tropical storm force winds, and power outages. If your home was impacted by hurricane Dorian, what are your rights regarding homeowners insurance claims, and what can you do right now to protect yourself? Leader, Leader, & Zucker, PLLC are insurance claims lawyers in Fort Lauderdale, Florida who may be able to assist you with your claim if your claim has been wrongfully denied, delayed, or if you are being offered a settlement you believe is too low.
Fortunately, not all claims need to be settled with the assistance of a lawyer. In many cases, smaller claims and even larger claims can be settled by working directly with your insurance adjuster. With proper documentation and with proper understanding of your claim and insurance policy, most homeowners who have been impacted by Dorian should be able to make a claim themselves.
What are some immediate steps you can take if your home was flooded or damaged by Hurricane Dorian?
- Assess the Damage. Take a close look at your home and determine whether it has been damaged due to flooding, storm surge, or due to winds. If you notice any damage, take photos. It is important to note that standard homeowners insurance policies might not reimburse you for flood damage unless you have flood insurance. But, your first step after any storm should just be to take a close look at your house and assess whether there has been any damage. According to the New York Times, in the aftermath of a storm, insurance companies might hire contractors to assess damage to property when determining settlements. The Times notes that sometimes contractors can miss details, so it is important that you make a thorough assessment of the damage you believe your home has sustained. That way, if there is a disagreement with insurance adjusters or contractors, you can negotiate or seek the assistance of a hurricane insurance claim lawyer like Leader, Leader, & Zucker, PLLC in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
- Report Damage to Your Homeowners Insurance Company. If you notice any damage, you may want to reach out to your homeowners insurance company as soon as possible. The sooner you make a claim, the sooner you might be able to get the settlement you might be entitled to receive.
- Make Provisional Repairs. While you should generally wait to make major repairs until your insurance adjuster has had a chance to look over the damage to your home, you may be required to make provisional repairs to prevent further damage. For example, if a window is broken or if your roof is damaged, your insurance company may require that you put up a tarp or board up the window to prevent further water damage. Your insurance company may not reimburse you for any subsequent damage your home suffers because you failed to make provisional repairs after the storm. Taek photos before any repairs and save any parts or pieces until the insurance company has a chance to inspect.
- Understand Your Policy. Take some time to understand your policy. Do you know what is and isn’t covered? Do you know what your deductibles are? If the damage to your home is less than the deductible, you may be required to pay the damages out of pocket. However, if the damages are more than your deductible, then your insurance may be able to cover part of your claim. Yet, if damage to your home stems from flooding, you may need to check to see whether you have flood coverage. Most standard homeowners insurance policies won’t cover you for flood damage. Additionally, homeowners insurance won’t generally cover you if your home suffered water damage after a storm if you failed to make timely repairs, so you may want to read over your policy and understand what your immediate responsibilities are.
If your home has sustained damage after hurricane Dorian, you may be facing the stress of dealing with insurance claims adjusters and the challenge of rebuilding your home. The aftermath of a hurricane can be a stressful and challenging time for families and victims of the storm. If you or a loved one are struggling with an insurance claim after hurricane Dorian, consider speaking to Leader, Leader, & Zucker, PLLC, homeowners insurance claim lawyers in Fort Lauderdale, Florida today. Our firm fights for the rights of storm victims in Florida. Many storm claims remain open and uncompensated—from both hurricane Dorian and hurricane Michael. USAttorneys.com may be able to connect you with our hurricane insurance claims lawyers today.