Tropical Storm Nicole hit Florida near the end of hurricane season. It was a rough week for South Florida – tracking, experiencing and recovering from Nicole from November 7th to November 12th, and many citizens are left wondering how they will fix their homes. The confusion is evident for homeowners because Nicole was a Category One, but touched down as a tropical storm in some areas.
Many homeowners thought they were safe and could start putting away their shutters, but Nicole had different plans. The wind gusts and storm surge caused losses and damages across the state, and if you need help with repairs, you must contact a Fort Lauderdale hurricane property damage attorney.
Will Nicole be covered by my insurance?
Fort Lauderdale residents know their homeowner’s insurance policy will cover damages after a hurricane but may be unsure what is in their policy. Recently Nicole made the insurance process more complex because it hit parts of Florida as a hurricane and others as a tropical storm, leaving many to question if tropical storm damage is covered under their insurance policies. Review your policy independently or with your insurance company to see what coverage is available to you.
Most homeowner insurance policies cover structural damage and personal property loss after you pay a deductible. You must discuss any exclusions in your policy and what is covered. Tropical storms can wreak havoc and cause damage, but the insurance company will determine if they can exclude these losses. Any insurance policies will have minimums or limits regarding wind speeds, and tropical storms are notorious for their wind damage. Review your policy before hurricane season and ensure you have proper coverage. Additionally, other rules can apply since the governor declared a state of emergency after Nicole. Review with your insurance company or contact a property damage lawyer in South Florida.
What should I do if I suffered losses because of a storm or hurricane?
Repairing your storm damage is a seven-step process, which should be simple but often is not. The insurance company makes money by denying claims and may try to deny yours. Do not fret, because when you have a Fort Lauderdale property damage attorney helping you, the insurance company cannot get away with improper denials. Ensure you follow all the steps and complete all the paperwork correctly to avoid delays. The steps include:
- Assess your storm damage
- Speak to contractors
- Contact your insurance company
- Request an adjuster
- Contact an attorney if you get a denial
- Watch for your payments
- Prepare for repairs
Even if you believe the damage is minor, you can still file a claim and have it repaired. Minor damage can quickly turn into significant damage if left unattended. After the insurance company approves your claim, they will send you two payments. The first payment covers materials and is a deposit for the contractor. After the repairs are complete, the insurance company will issue the second check contingent on city inspection approval.
What losses can I claim after a hurricane?
Hurricane season runs from June to November every year, and your insurance policy is vital to recovering after the storm. Knowing what you can recover is essential because the insurance company may not be forthcoming with payment or advising you of what coverage you have. Review these areas of your policies with your attorney to prepare for hurricane season. Your policy should cover for the following losses:
- Dwelling coverage, including your roof, home structure, and built-in appliances
- Personal property (contents), including clothing, appliances, plants, furniture, and other personal belongings
- Loss of use, including temporary housing and food costs while your home is under repair or being rebuilt because it is uninhabitable
These coverage limits range by policy, and you must ensure high enough limits to cover your losses. Take inventory of your valuables when deciding on the limit that works best for you.
Does my insurance cover other damage caused by storms?
Homeowners’ insurance covers wind damage from hurricanes and storms, but they do not cover water damage from floods or storm surge. To get repairs for your water damage, you must file a claim through your flood insurance policy if you have one. Sometimes insurance companies can charge a policy deductible for hurricane wind damage if you are in an area highly susceptible to hurricanes.
South Florida and the Keys are always the targets of hurricanes, and insurance companies can use that to their advantage when issuing a policy. Review your policy before hurricane season because the insurance company places moratoriums on policies once there is a storm system with a tropical storm designation. You cannot make any changes once the moratorium is in place.
Protect yourself before the next storm hits South Florida
It seems Tropical Storm Nicole is the last storm system Floridians will face this hurricane season as 2022 draws to a close. What worsens the damage from Nicole is that South Florida is still recovering from Hurricane Ian, which was active from September 23rd to October 2nd. The aftermath of a storm is the most challenging time because many residents have lost their homes, property, and more.
Before a storm hits, assess your property and take pictures; they will come in handy later. After the storm passes and everyone is safe, you must evaluate your property damage. Take as many photos and/or videos of the damage as you can if it’s safe to do so. Fort Lauderdale homeowners must tackle cleanup efforts around the property and look for broken glass, fallen trees, leaks, and roof damage. Homeowners will quickly flood the system with claims from across the state, and you must start yours immediately. Insurance claims can take time; the sooner you start a claim, the better.
Filing an insurance claim is also challenging because home insurance companies are inundated with claims. After a storm, contact the Fort Lauderdale property loss attorneys from Yeboah Law Group. We have offices in Miami, Key West, Boca Raton, and Fort Lauderdale, serving clients throughout Miami-Dade and South Florida. Call our offices or submit our contact form to schedule a consultation today.