Are You Hurricane Ready? Time to Check Your Insurance Policy
When was the last time you combed through your homeowner’s insurance policy? While not the kind of thing one looks forward to doing, checking your policy can be beneficial—especially if you’ve never really read it. (Be honest, did you read every clause or just take your agent’s word that you were covered?) Hurricane season is a great time to review your coverage, gather your important documents, and make sure you have an inventory of your valuables.
According to the Insurance Information Institute, from 1995 to 2014, hurricanes and tropical storms caused $161.2 billion in “insured losses.” Imagine how much damage those storms did to uninsured or underinsured properties and homes without flood insurance.
Are You Covered Against Storm Damage?
Don’t get caught asking yourself this question as a tropical storm or hurricane approaches your home. It is better to prepare for the possibility well ahead of time by checking over your policy.
Things to look out for include:
- Provisions that require any special type of protections (storm shutters, for example),
- Information regarding inventory of valuables (do you need photographs, receipts?),
- The amount of your deductible (if you have one),
- Information about making a claim (is there a deadline?), and
- What your coverage includes (are you covered against flooding as well as storm and wind damage?).
If you’re missing anything, such as flood insurance, call your agent as soon as possible. While most policy changes will be effective immediately, some (like flood insurance) have a waiting period before they go into effect. Hurricane season is already underway, don’t get caught without the right kind of coverage.
What To Do When The Worst Happens
It’s a good idea to have your important documents in a fire and waterproof safe. Consider protecting these documents to help keep yourself protected:
- Birth Certificates
- Social Security Cards
- Leases or Deeds
- Insurance Policies
- Any necessary paperwork such as an inventory needed to make a claim
By having this information safely stored away, it should be free from damage no matter what happens to your home. Plus, if you need to evacuate, all your important documents are in one place. Just open up the safe and take everything with you. If, after a rough storm or hurricane, you discover damage to your property, then all the information you will need to file a claim is at hand. Follow the instructions detailed in your policy and be sure to write down any information your claims adjuster provides.
Checking over FEMA’s hurricane preparedness website can provide you with information about what to do before a storm hits, as well as what a good emergency plan looks like and what should be in your emergency kit. Don’t let a storm take you and your family by surprise. I few extra hours of planning ahead of time can save you time and money later on.
Insurer Not Paying? Contact a Tampa Insurance Dispute Lawyer
If your insurer is refusing to pay your claim, is taking too long to pay, or keeps creating new hurdles before making a finding, consulting with a Tampa insurance dispute lawyer may help.
A hurricane or storm can damage your roof, flood your home, and ruin your possessions. If you aren’t properly covered by insurance, you may lose thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars repairing and replacing items. If you are properly covered and have followed the criteria outlined in your insurance policy, your insurer should pay for your repairs and replacements items up to your policy limit.
Don’t allow an insurer to lowball you or refuse to pay a valid claim. Seek help from a Tampa insurance dispute lawyer to learn more about your options. A natural disaster shouldn’t obliterate your wallet—especially if you’re insured. Let a skilled Tampa insurance dispute lawyer fill you in on your legal options.