As we’ve seen from major storms in the past few years, and most recently, the catastrophic damage of Hurricane Florence, protecting your home from storm damage continues after the wind and rains die down. Seeing your home damaged from a storm can make you feel helpless—but you don’t need to.
Filing an insurance claim after a hurricane is a big step towards regaining your life before the storm. Our agents find that many need clarification on how to take that first step, while others wonder how to keep the process moving ahead. Questions like “who do I contact?” and “what information do I need?” are something agents hear often. To make the process easier for those ready to file a homeowner’s insurance claim after a storm, or those who are in an area prone to storms, we’ve compiled a list of the most asked questions with clear answers to guide you through your claim process.
Q. If your property undergoes damage from a hurricane, what must you do to file a claim? What is your first step?
A. You must first contact your carrier to file an insurance claim after a hurricane and allow the carrier 24 to 48 hours to assign the claim to a desk adjuster. If you cannot locate the contact details or policy number for your hazard policy, contact your insurance agent. It’s a good idea to have this information ready as part of your hurricane kit. Keep copies of important documents like this in a water-proof container with other hurricane supplies.
Q. Once you turn your claim over to an adjuster, what is their job in the process?
A. The adjuster’s job is to inspect the damage and send a report back to the claims office for coverage determination. Most claims are handled quickly and with a satisfactory payment made to the insured, so your agent is minimally involved. If your adjuster has not responded to you for a few days or you feel the determination was unfair you should contact your agent to escalate the situation within the company.
Q. At what point should you contact your insurance company again?
A. Once the field adjuster inspects the property, allow them 5-7 business days to complete their report and estimate for the repairs. If your desk adjuster does not reach out to you within a week after the field adjuster completed the inspection, call your assigned adjuster—they are the best person to answer any coverage questions or updates on the claim. Make sure you establish a clear line of communication as they start their inspection.
Q. How is this process different for property managers?
A. The process would be the same for the property managers. They will first contact the carrier to file an insurance claim after a hurricane by phone or online and an adjuster will be assigned within 24 hours. Some carriers will require that the property management company be listed as an additional interest on the policy so they can correspond with the adjuster and receive the claim check to make the necessary repairs. Adding the property manager as an additional interest does not give them any authority to make any changes to the policy, they will only receive copies of any correspondence issued by the carrier. The property owner may need to grant authorization for the insurance carrier to speak directly to the manager. Keep in mind that all claims money will be paid directly to the property owner so you may need to plan ahead to coordinate fast payment to the contractors.
Q. How is this process different for renters?
A. The process would be the same for renters with a current renter’s policy. Agents recommend that you have a copy of the lease handy and take photos so you can prove damage to personal property and document what personal property you have. If as a renter your possessions are damaged, follow the same steps as a homeowner. The only caveat is if the property itself is damaged, renters need to notify their property manager as soon as possible.
Ideally, you will never have to file an insurance claim after a hurricane, but if you do we hope you are insured through Fudge Insurance. We have helped guide our clients with their claims after many hurricanes here in Florida and we can help you too. Don’t wait until it’s too late to insure your home. Have questions? We are here to help. Contact us today.