Hurricanes are a part of life in Florida. We all know that we need to be prepared for them, and have emergency supplies and insurance. But how does one prepare for the physical and emotional toll that comes with losing one’s home in a bad storm? Our attorneys have a lot of experience with hurricane insurance claims in Florida and our founding partner (Jason Herman) wanted to share several key insights with local homeowners.

When you need to file a claim for your home, it’s important that the process goes smoothly. The sooner an insurance company knows about what happened, the better! The upcoming months are going find everyone involved in insurance and restoration services heavily inundated by property damage claims from Hurricane Ian.

A Floridian involved in a motorcycle accident fills out their injury claim form.

The Cliff Notes: Key Takeaways From This Post

  • 1
    Protect your property by boarding up broken windows, tarring the roof and hiring someone to remove water.
  • 2
    Document damaged property, receipts and interactions with the insurance company.
  • 3
    Cooperate with insurance investigation while remaining polite.
  • 4
    Follow up regularly but stay polite during contact with the adjuster.
  • 5
    Verify any interpretation of policy that reduces the amount paid by the insurance company.
  • 6
    Don’t be afraid to challenge the insurance company if something seems wrong.
  • 7
    If in doubt, reach out to Herman & Wells for help and advice.

One thing that can help reduce some of the stress is knowing what your rights are when it comes to filing a hurricane damage claim. That’s why we’re sharing Jason Herman’s 7 rules for hurricane insurance claims in Florida. Keep these rules in mind and you’ll be on your way to getting the most out of your insurance policy following a bad storm!

Rule #1) Protect Your Property

Prevent further harm if you can. Board up broken windows. Tarp the roof. Hire someone to get rid of the water. This will help make your future repairs faster and less extreme, get you back on track sooner, and is also a requirement under your policy. If your property gets worse because you didn’t protect it, the insurance company may not pay for those additional damages.

Rule #2) Document Everything

Take pictures of your damaged property—both your building and your contents. Scan your receipts from any extra expenses you have for repairs, replacing things, or extra daily expenses you’re spending because your property was damaged.

Keep notes of your interactions with the insurance company. This is true even if the adjuster seems to be documenting things—they are not always on your side and they don’t always share the photos and notes that they take.

Rule #3) Cooperate With The Insurance Investigation

Your policy has a cooperation clause, and if the insurance company thinks you aren’t providing the documents and information it asks for, then the insurance company might try to deny your claim. It can be frustrating to gather documents in the middle of a big loss, but it’s important that you don’t give the insurance company an excuse to deny your claim.

If you think that the insurance company is making unreasonable requests, run it by a lawyer before you refuse to cooperate and risk a denial.

A Floridian involved in a motorcycle accident fills out their injury claim form.

Rule #4) Be Polite But Persistent

You might need to follow up with your adjuster to get a decision on your claim. Officially, insurance companies should make a decision within 90 days, but following up regularly will get you faster results. That said, adjusters are people, too. If an adjuster likes you, you’re just more likely to get a good result than if an adjuster doesn’t like you.

So always be polite, even when the insurance company isn’t treating you right. That might mean you have to step away from an e-mail for a few hours to cool off. What you write now may also be used in court if you have to fight your claim.

Rule #5) Trust, But Verify. Not Every Adjuster Has Bad Motivations