Leader, Leader, & Zucker, PLLC are hurricane insurance claim lawyers who are closely monitoring the track of Hurricane Dorian. The New York Times most recently reported that the storm could hit Florida as a category 4 storm, and it was just recently upgraded to a category 3 storm. Category 4 storms are considered major hurricanes, with winds averaging 130 to 156 miles per hour. According to the National Hurricane Center, a category 4 storm can cause catastrophic damage. Even the soundest of homes can suffer major structural damage, including damage to the roof and the walls. This kind of storm can take down entire trees and even telephone poles. When trees and other city structures get damaged, other structures like windows, homes, roofs, and cars can also get damaged. In the aftermath of a category 4 storm, there can be major power outages.
With major wind damage likely if Hurricane Dorian continues its track as predicted, what are some things you and your family can be doing right now to protect yourself? As your family makes the necessary storm preparations, one aspect of storm preparation that too often gets overlooked involves taking the time to review your homeowner’s insurance policy. Do you have your insurance policy paperwork readily available? Is it being stored in a safe place during the storm? Protecting critical documents as a storm approaches South Florida is essential.
As Hurricane Dorian approaches, many families might be wondering what is covered by their homeowner’s insurance policy. When reading through your policy, take the time to check your deductible, and double check to see if you have flood insurance coverage. Not all homeowner’s insurance policies cover flooding. Here are some basic facts about homeowner’s insurance coverage:
- Most homeowner’s insurance policies will cover you for wind and storm damage to your home, up the insured amount, minus the deductible. However, there may be certain restrictions, limiting language or caps on certain coverage you need to be aware of.
- Most homeowner’s insurance policies will cover the items inside your home. However, policies can differ. Some policies will only pay you for the actual cash value of items in your home. This means that the insurance company will consider depreciation when estimating your claim. So, if a three-year-old computer is damaged in a storm, and you only have coverage that pays you for the current value of the item, you won’t receive a recovery that will permit you to buy a brand new computer. However, if you have a policy that covers the replacement cost of the items, the age of the item won’t matter; your insurance company will cut you a check to replace the item new. If you are not sure what kind of policy you have, now might be the time to contact your insurance agent and ask. Replacement cost policies are more valuable than actual cash value polices.
- Most homeowner’s insurance policies will pay for hotel, food, clothing, and other necessities should you need to relocate if your home is damaged. Your insurance company may pay for your lodging while your home is being repaired. Be mindful, there may be limits on this coverage and may not be compensable for lack of power and other related issues to the storm.
- If items are stolen by vandals and looters after a storm, your insurance policy may also cover these losses. Firearms, expensive jewelry and art generally require special coverage.
Not covered by standard homeowner’s insurance policies is coverage for flooding and mudslides, even if these are damages caused by the storm. If you have questions about what is covered, consider speaking to your insurance agent today. Finally, in the aftermath of the storm, if you are having difficulty with a claim, consider reaching out to Leader, Leader, & Zucker, PLLC, a hurricane insurance claims lawyer in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
What You Should Be Doing Now to Prepare for Hurricane Dorian
When it comes to protecting your property and being prepared to make a claim after a storm, here are several things you can do now to prepare for hurricane Dorian:
- Contact your insurance company and ask about your deductible, coverage, whether your coverage includes replacement cost of items in your home, and whether your coverage includes flood damage.
- Place your policy documents in a safe place. Some families place their policy documents in a safe deposit box at the bank, while some insurance companies can provide you with online access to your policy.
- Make a detailed inventory of items of value in your home. If you have items of value in your home, like computers, electronics, jewelry, and furniture, you’ll want photos of these items, and detailed descriptions. Should anything get damaged in the storm, your insurance company may need to look at an inventory of the items in your home. Place the photos and list in a safe place. Some families e-mail photos and lists to themselves or to out-of-state relatives.
- Put Leader, Leader, & Zucker, PLLC’s contact information in a safe place. If you encounter trouble with a hurricane Dorian insurance claim after the storm hits, our Fort Lauderdale, Florida hurricane insurance claim lawyers may be able to help you.
These are some important hurricane insurance preparations you can take now to protect yourself. Call your insurance agent today if you think you may not be adequately covered. Leader, Leader, & Zucker, PLLC are hurricane insurance lawyers in Fort Lauderdale, Florida who are closely watching the situation and who can help you if you encounter difficulty with an insurance claim after the storm.