Helpful Tips to Consider When Filing an Insurance Claim

We hope that you and your loved ones are safe after the storm with little to no damage to your property.  Our thoughts remain with those whose homes and loved ones were impacted by Hurricane Irma.  As local, state and federal officials throughout Florida respond to those who have been impacted—whether it is because of loss of power, property damage or fallen powerlines or trees—we want to make sure we do our part to help our commuIrma-1024x535nity as well.

If you have had a chance to drive around, you will notice that there are a number of trees that have fallen on homes, causing serious damage to their roofs, windows, and even their foundation. If you’ve been able to tune in to the news to see coverage of the storm’s aftermath you have seen that many areas experienced massive flooding. Due to the property damage that some Floridians are currently experiencing, we want to make sure that everyone is well-informed on the proper way to handle any insurance claims that may arise. Keep in mind that it is important that condominium, cooperative and HOA boards act quickly and cautiously when mitigating damage to their communities. If your community has experienced any damage, we encourage you to act now. By acting diligently and taking reasonable steps, you can prevent your property from suffering from further damage. Also, it’s important to keep in mind that insurance companies will be overwhelmed with the amount of claims coming their way. Make sure you’re among the first to file your claim to ensure it is handled quickly.  Below are some helpful tips community associations should consider when filing insurance claims:

For Flood Claims:

  • If contents (or business personal property) were damaged, take several photographs of each damaged item prior to discarding it. Make sure you can identify the item in the photograph (i.e. take pictures of labels). Don’t just take a photograph of a pile of stuff.
  • Make an itemized list of the damaged contents (or business personal property). Include, model numbers, serial numbers, the manufacture’s name, type of material, age, and other details on the list.
  • Be familiar with your limits. If you have a contractor cleaning up the flood damage, make sure you have a reasonable expectation of the cost. Avoid large upfront payments to contractors, even if they are reputable.

For Wind/Hurricane Claims:

  • Just because it didn’t break doesn’t mean it’s not damaged. Check the operation of your windows and doors to ensure that they were not racked or dislocated by the wind loading and pressure.
  • If you suffered damages, file a claim regardless of the deductible. Damages from a storm sometimes do not become apparent until days—or even months—after the storm. Avoid erroneous denials for late reporting. Keep an eye on your roof and openings for issues down the road. Your insurance company has an obligation to complete a thorough inspection of your property. Unfortunately, it is becoming prevalent for insurance representatives to inadequately inspect damages. Should that be the case for you, at least you can rest assured that you complied with your obligation to provide prompt notice.
  • For residential condominiums, only make repairs for life safety (i.e. remove wet materials and board up windows). For commercial properties, pay close attention to your business income coverage and make limited temporary repairs to get back to business (i.e. patch the roof and remove ceiling tile grid, don’t replace it).

Both SRHL and GlobalPro Recovery, Inc. are available for any questions and requests you may have. You can call us toll free at (800) 737-1390 or via email at sbowman@srhl-law.com at your convenience. We are here to help you restore your communities. As always, we are thinking of you and your families as you recover from Hurricane Irma in the days ahead.