It’s unimaginable, and yet, it happens nearly every year: between the months of June and November, hurricane season rears its ugly head in Florida. Our state is pounded with torrential rain, fierce winds, and all the damage that can often result from that deadly combination. While disaster can’t always be avoided, in the case of hurricanes, it does always pay to be prepared. That’s why The Whisler Law Firm provides entirely free and incredibly useful hurricane resources to anyone who visits our website.
Whether you’re new to Florida or you’re a seasoned veteran of life in our great state, a refresher on how best to prepare both your home and your home insurance plans for wind and rain damage is never a bad idea. Adequate knowledge and preparation could save your property and your family a lot of time, expense, and heartache after a hurricane.
Preparing Your Home for Hurricanes
Tropical systems can form quickly—sometimes without much warning. That means when the beginning of hurricane season rolls around, you should be proactive about preparing your home for it. It’s better to be prepared and not need those preparations, than to wait and get stuck being unable to make the preparations you need.
Before a hurricane arrives, thoroughly inspect your home for any weak points, damage, or other structural concerns that may increase the chances of further damage to your home. Look for things like loose roofing, loose or broken side paneling, broken doors and windows, cracks in the foundation, or leaks in utility lines. Addressing them now will be much easier than addressing them after a hurricane has made them worse. Not to mention, taking reasonable measures to stop damage from occurring to your home plays a large role in filing a successful claim for damages suffered with your insurance provider later.
After seeing that your home is more or less structurally sound, there are multiple further ways to stormproof it. Installing professional storm-grade hurricane shutters on your windows is one of your best options. But if time and budget are of the essence, sheets of sturdy plywood to reinforce your sliding glass doors and windows can also prevent broken glass, which is a common hurricane hazard.
Take a look around your back and front yards and remove any patio furniture, garbage cans, or other debris that strong gusts of wind could pick up and hurl at your home. Also remember to turn off any propane tanks until the storm passes and keep abreast of updates from the authorities should they instruct you to turn off other utilities in order to prevent damage. If your home loses power, unplug major appliances so that you reduce your risk of a dangerous power surge when electricity is restored.
These are some of the most essential preventative measures for preventing excessive damage to your home. But there are many more steps you should take to protect the belongings inside your home, as well as to prepare for the possibility of being stranded without power or water for several days. Discover those tips by downloading The Whisler Law Firm’s free Hurricane Preparedness eBook.
Preparing Your Insurance for Hurricanes
The middle of a hurricane is the worst time to realize that your homeowner’s insurance may not provide the coverage you and your family need. So don’t wait until then to make sure you have an adequate policy, and certainly don’t wait until then to obtain hurricane coverage in general.
Most importantly, remember that your homeowner’s insurance most likely does not cover flooding. You will need to purchase a separate flood insurance policy and be aware that there’s often a 30-day waiting period before such policies go into effect, so plan accordingly.
You may also want to consider purchasing a separate windstorm policy to supplement your homeowner’s insurance policy. Wind can often do just as much—if not more—damage as water during a hurricane. If you only hold water damage insurance, your adjuster may try to claim that the damage to your home was caused by wind instead of water, leaving you to pay for repairing all the damages out of your own pocket.
It’s also important to compile a thorough list of all the most important and valuable items in your home, like electronics and heirlooms, so that you have a record of what you might lose after a storm hits. It’s a great idea to supplement this list with photo or video evidence of each item’s condition, so that you can be appropriately compensated by your insurance provider. In the same vein, properly assess and record all the damage suffered to your property and belongings after the hurricane so that you can file an appropriate claim.
Dealing with Insurance Companies After a Hurricane
After the storm has passed and the dust has settled, you may discover devastating damage to your home. While it can be hard to wrap your head around this damage and know what to do next, if you’ve taken all the necessary home and insurance preparedness steps, you should have some reliable options for seeking the compensation you need to start making repairs.
It’s imperative that you don’t delay in assessing the damage and reaching out to your insurance company. These processes can take a long time, even though these companies often bring in extra staff to help with the surge in claims. The sooner you act, the sooner you can be helped. That means the faster you and your family can get back to normal life.
If you’ve gathered strong proof of your home’s preparedness before the storm, the direct damage caused by wind and water, and have the proper insurance policies in place, your adjuster should have no grounds for denying the hurricane damages you suffered. Just remain patient during this time and remember that major storms cause strain on the insurance process. But if you have reason to believe that your insurance provider is causing deliberate delays or unjustified denials of your claim, call us, your expert property insurance lawyers without delay.
The Whisler Law Firm helps Floridians get the best settlements possible to rebuild and repair their residential property damage, especially when your insurance provider is not giving you answers or results. We know how to interpret your policies, and we understand the ways insurance companies operate. That means we have the upper hand when fighting for the compensation you deserve under the agreements you have with them. Call our office at 833-529-5677 or fill out our online form to request an entirely free consultation with our team of attorneys. We’ll review your policies and fight for for you and your family.