Hurricanes are massive, unpredictable forces of nature that should always be taken seriously, and proper preparation should be taken before the arrival of any storm.
John Tolley of JT Law Firm in Florida, New York, and New Jersey was recently interviewed by News Channel 6 of Orlando, FL, and had the following tips to share with anyone at risk of being struck by a hurricane.
TIP #1 Review your insurance policy
It’s easy to believe you have coverage for many types of damage. Still, before a storm strikes, it’s important to make sure you properly review your insurance policy to confirm what’s covered and what is not. In Florida, we typically see a lot of wind and hail damage so being protected for these is always a great idea. If you need to make changes to your policy, the best time to do so is before a storm strikes.
TIP #2 Take pictures of your property.
Evidence is one of the best collaborating pieces of documentation you can have when filing a claim. Whether your roof was damaged, windows were broken, or your home sustained any type of damage, it’s always helpful to show your insurance company pictures or videos to strengthen your claim.
TIP #3 Protect your documents
Make sure to gather and properly protect important documents like birth certificates, marriage licenses, passports, and all essential documentation. If you recently moved into your home, it’s also important to protect your pre-inspection report and keep it in a safe place. If your home suffers any sort of damage during a storm, the pre-inspection report can significantly strengthen your claim by reminding the insurance company they had previously deemed your property to be in good condition.
TIP #4 Properly document and secure your valuables
If you have valuables like art, sculptures, or anything you deem an asset, make sure you properly document their condition and value and take reasonable steps to secure them. Next, make sure they are covered under your insurance policy.
TIP #5 Make sure your home and family are ready.
It’s always a great idea to follow standard safety procedures and suggestions issued by the National Hurricane Center, American Red Cross, and local authorities. When it comes to food and water, the American Red Cross recommends making a Go-Kit with three days of supplies and a Stay-at-home kit with two weeks of supplies per person.
Additionally, ensure your home is safe and all safety procedures like putting up your hurricane shutters have been completed. If your home has prior damage before the storm, it may be a good idea to seek shelter elsewhere. This link can help you find the nearest hurricane shelter in your area.
New laws were passed that may lead to your claim getting delayed or denied.
Last year new laws concerning homeowners’ insurance policies were passed that go into effect this year. These new laws seem to empower the insurance company to delay or deny your claim with little cause. Attorney John Tolley strongly believes this is “the issue we’re going to have this year” when fighting against insurance companies to get homeowners compensated.
Navigating residential home damage after a hurricane or storm is getting increasingly difficult as insurance companies continue to lobby for favorable laws to be passed for them.
One such law was passed last year, and the senator backing it owns an insurance company making him personally motivated to assist in getting the law passed. The legal environment is shifting to favor insurance companies and not homeowners – when in fact, both sides should be equally protected under the law. Insurance companies like to say lawyers are to blame for delays in claims, the truth is insurance companies will always do what is in their best interest and that usually means denying as many claims as possible while making it seem like they’re the good guys.
Takeaway – Review your policy, take pictures or videos of your home and valuables before a storm arrives, ensure you follow all safety procedures.
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You deserve the best representation, speak with a JT Law Firm legal team member today and tell us about your case during a free consultation.
Our property damage lawyers are experienced in cases like yours and are ready to see your case from beginning to end. JT Law Firm has a reputation for delivering maximum compensation for our clients. Schedule your free legal consultation today. There is no cost or fee unless we win.