How to File a Hurricane Damage Insurance Claim:
A Step-by-Step Guide
Living in an area prone to hurricanes can be stressful enough without the added worry of potential damage to your property. If your home or business has been impacted by a hurricane, filing an insurance claim can help you recover some of the costs associated with repairs or replacements. However, filing a hurricane damage insurance claim can be confusing and overwhelming. In this article, we'll break down the steps you need to take to file a successful claim and answer some common questions about the process.
Step 1: Contact Your Insurance Company
The first step in filing a hurricane damage insurance claim is to contact your insurance company immediately after the storm. Most insurance policies require reporting damage within a specific timeframe, so acting quickly is essential. When you contact your insurance company, be prepared to provide the following information:
- Your policy number
- The date and time the damage occurred
- A description of the damage
- Any relevant photos or videos of the damage
Step 2: Document the Damage
Before you begin any repairs or clean-up, it's essential to document the damage to your property. Take photos and videos of the damage from multiple angles, including wide shots and close-ups. Make notes of damaged items, including their brand names, model numbers, and purchase dates, if possible. Keep all receipts for repairs and replacements and any other expenses related to the damage.
Step 3: Mitigate Further Damage
While waiting for your insurance claim to be processed, taking steps to mitigate further damage to your property is essential. This may include covering broken windows or holes in the roof with tarps, removing wet or damaged items from the property, and turning off any utilities that may be damaged.
Step 4: File Your Claim
If coverage applies, contact your insurance company to file your claim. If you need help filing your claim, book a FREE consultation with our attorneys today.
Property damage claims can often be complex and daunting. It is important to contact a skilled property damage lawyer from the outset of your claim to ensure your rights are not jeopardized. The attorneys at the Cedrick D. Forrest Law Firm are always ready and able to assist you with your property damage claim.
Schedule your FREE policy or case review here.
Severe Wind and Hurricane Damage
Severe wind and hurricanes can cause catastrophic damage to your home or business. In recent memory, Hurricane Harvey inundated Texas cities—notably Houston—rendering roads throughout the city untravellable and many residents immobile. In its aftermath, the storm left numerous properties destroyed, inflicting some $125 billion (USD) in damage according to 2018 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration estimates.According to data from the insurance information institute, wind damage (along with hail) was the largest share of homeowner's claims in the United States from 2016-2020.
Following a windstorm or hurricane, insurance coverage will be essential for the remediation, rebuilding, and restoration process—or payment in the event of a total loss. However, insurance companies are notorious for delaying, diminishing, and ultimately denying claims for damage from hurricanes whenever possible. Don't allow your insurer to deny your hurricane damage claim wrongfully. Contact the skilled hurricane insurance lawyers at The Cedrick D. Forrest Law Firm today.
Common Types of Hurricane Damage
Damage from hurricanes can be devastating and wide sweeping. Below are some of the most common types of hurricane damage:
- Walls, flooring, furnishings.
- Electrical equipment, air conditioning systems, computer equipment, and telephone systems.
- Public Utilities;
- Telecommunications, electrical, water utilities.
What if my business closes due to storm damage?
If your business closes due to storm damage and you have a loss of business income or had to incur extra expenses to continue operations, your policy may include coverage for such losses. Let the property damage attorneys at the Cedrick D. Forrest Law Firm review your policy and represent you in your claim for damage to your business property.
At The Cedrick D. Forrest Law Firm, our property insurance lawyers know the devastation that hurricanes can cause to our homes, businesses and lives.
Do You Remember?
- In 2005, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita caused a combined $198.5B in total damages.
- In 2008, Hurricane Ike left $37.5B in damages.
- In 2017, Hurricane Harvey caused a devastating $125B in damages right here in Houston, TX.
After each of these devastating hurricanes, insurance companies got smarter and smarter at finding ways to make sure your claim is denied, delayed, or underpaid. The property insurance attorneys at The Cedrick D. Forrest Law Firm are here to make sure that you are not twice victimized. First by the hurricane and second by the greedy insurance companies.
We are here to help protect you when the next storm hits.
Is Hurricane Damage Covered by My Insurance Policy?
The answer depends on your policy language. Hurricane insurance is not a specific type of policy; therefore, coverage for hurricane damage usually consists of various insurance products (e.g. flood, windstorm). It is important to note that insurance coverage varies by company and by policy. Like any other binding contract, the language and any addendums will be critical to determining coverage in the case of hurricane damage. A careful review of your policy is necessary to understand your exact coverages.
Generally, standard homeowners policies do not cover flood damage and may require an additional endorsement for windstorm damage. Flood Insurance Texas is particularly prone to floods/windstorms. Generally, homeowners/dwelling insurance policies do not cover damage to your property resulting from a flood or windstorm. You will need separate coverages or endorsements. If you live in a designated flood zone, your mortgage lender may require you to have flood insurance. Most flood insurance policies cover damage to your home up to a specified limit; you will need additional coverage for personal belongings.
As with a homeowners/dwelling policy, most commercial property policies do not cover damage from flooding and may require separate coverage. The extent of the coverage for hurricane damage to a commercial property is governed by the specific language of your insurance policy. Generally, there are three levels of commercial property coverage. Each level protects against different causes of damage. They are:
•Basic form policies. They usually provide the least coverage. They usually cover damage caused by fire, windstorms, hail, lightning, explosions, smoke, vandalism, sprinkler leakage, aircraft and vehicle collisions, riots and civil commotion, sinkholes, and volcanoes.
•Broad form policies. Usually cover the causes of loss listed above in the basic form policies, as well as damage from leaking appliances, structural collapses, falling objects, and weight of ice, sleet, or snow.
•Special form policies. These policies provide the most coverage and usually cover damage from all causes of loss except those specifically excluded under the terms of the policy (i.e. “Exclusions”).
A careful review of your policy is necessary to understand your exact coverages. The skilled hurricane damage attorneys at the Cedrick D. Forrest Law Firm are more than capable to review your policy and identify all coverages applicable to compensate you for your hurricane damage.
Schedule your FREE policy or case review here.
Tips for a Successful Claim
- Review your policy carefully before filing a claim to ensure you understand what is covered.
- Keep detailed records of all damage and expenses related to the hurricane.
- Act quickly to report the damage and begin the claims process.
- Be patient and persistent during the claims process, but don't hesitate to seek legal assistance.
Filing a hurricane damage insurance claim can be a complex and time-consuming process, but it's an essential step in recovering from the impact of a storm. Following the steps outlined in this article and keeping careful records of all damage and expenses can increase your chances of a successful claim. Remember, your insurance company is there to help you, so don't hesitate to reach out if you have questions or concerns.
Large Loss Property Insurance Law Firm
We handle all types of commercial and residential property insurance claims throughout Texas.
Please do not hesitate to contact us with questions about your claim.
What Can I Expect from My Insurer After Having Property Damage?
In Texas, insurers are legally required to abide by the deadlines set out in Texas Insurance Code §542.001, et. seq. in the assessment and resolution of your insurance claim. Failure to comply with these deadlines in the resolution of a covered claim can result in interest penalties and attorney's fees.
The following represent the statutory deadlines that your insurer must generally comply with:
Within 15 calendar days of receiving notice of your claim, your insurer must:
(1) acknowledge receipt of the claim;
(2) commence an investigation of the claim; and
(3) request from you all items, statements, and forms the insurer reasonably believes, at the time, will be required from you.
If your insurer could not make a determination within the above timeframes, they must accept or reject your claim within 45 days after they informed you of their need for additional time. Tex. Ins. Code. § 542.056.
If your insurer notifies you that it is going to pay your claim, then it must pay you within 5 business days after the notice is given. If payment of the claim, or part of the claim, is conditioned on you performing an act (e.g. providing a signed document), the insurer is only required to pay within 5 business days after you perform the act.
There are several legal nuances involved with your insurer's legal obligations to process your claim in good faith. It is important that you have a skilled property damage attorney to help navigate through the complex deadlines and responsibilities of your insurer.
Contact the skilled property damage lawyers at The Cedrick D. Forrest Law Firm today.
How Much Will I Get Paid for Hurricane Damage to My Property?
Generally, your insurance company will only be liable for damage to your property up to the specified limits of liability under each available coverage of your insurance policy. These figures can most easily be identified on the declarations page of your policy. After inspections and supported inventories, estimates of the damage to your property will give a precise calculation of your losses. However, the method by which your insurance company settles your loss depends on the language of your policy and the extent of the damage. Your insurance company may pay you on an actual cash value or replacement cost basis up to your policy limits. Again, the language of your policy is key. If you have a replacement cost policy, your insurance company may pay your claim in two stages. First, they will pay you the actual cash value of your property. Actual cash value equals the replacement cost of your covered loss minus depreciation. This sum is often less than what is necessary to get repairs completed. However, most replacement cost policies require that you repair or replace your damaged property before your insurance company issues the rest of your claim money. Usually, repairs must be completed within a specified period of time. If your insurance policy does not provide for settlement on a replacement cost basis, then you will probably only recover the actual cash value of your damaged property (replacement cost of your covered loss minus depreciation). This amount may be inadequate to replace your damaged property.
The attorneys at the Cedrick D. Forrest Law firm are experienced, willing, and ready to advocate on your behalf. We will fight to make sure that your rights are not jeopardized and that you are fully compensated for your fire damage.
Schedule your FREE policy or case review here.
The Cedrick D. Forrest Law Firm and Hurricane Insurance Claims
When greedy insurance companies fail to treat you fairly, the property insurance lawyers at The Cedrick D. Forrest Law Firm are here to step in and call out instances of bad faith.
Your home is your castle and our property insurance lawyers are here to protect your investment and give your case the attention it needs to bring about the settlement you are justly entitled to.
No Recovery. No Fee.
Our firm works on a 100% contingency fee basis for your insurance claim.
That means that when a case is taken on, we use our own money and resources to fight for clients. We will investigate, go to court, hire experts, and do whatever is necessary to win your case. We will never ask for any money upfront for contingency matters. No money is owed by the client to us if no monetary recovery is made. That is our promise.
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Having your insurance claim denied by the insurance company and navigating the dispute process can be stressful and confusing. Insurance companies count on you not understanding your rights and not seeking legal help. That's why we have made it as easy as possible to get your questions answered. Click the contact button to speak with an available attorney. It's fast, simple, and the first step to getting maximum compensation. We also offer no-contact video consultations.
Frequently Asked Questions About Hurricane Damage
Will my insurance policy cover all hurricane damage?
It depends on your specific policy. Some policies may exclude certain types of damage, such as flooding or wind damage, so review your policy carefully is essential.
How long does the claims process take?
The length of time it takes to process a claim can vary depending on the extent of the damage and complexity. Be prepared for the process to take several weeks or even months.
What should I do if my claim is denied?
If your claim is denied, don't give up. You have the right to appeal the decision and should work with your insurance company to understand why the claim was denied and what steps you can take to appeal the decision.