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Facing Your First Hurricane-Related Damage Claim? What Should You Expect?

Unlike tornadoes, earthquakes or flash floods, hurricanes tend to provide some warning prior to unleashing their potentially catastrophic fury. However, the aftermath can still be tough to deal with as a homeowner.
If you've never weathered a hurricane before and are now facing significant damage, you may be worrying about whether your homeowners' insurance coverage will be enough to cover the costs and wondering where to begin.
Hurricane claims can differ from other types of claims against your homeowners' insurance policy. It's important to begin working on a hurricane-related claim as quickly as possible to protect your rights and ensure all covered damage is compensated. Read on to learn more about what to expect from this process. 

Which Provision Covers Your Claim?

Before you begin panicking that your hurricane coverage was inadequate, you may want to spend a bit of time analyzing which policy is likely to cover the damage your property has sustained. Most homeowners' policies in hurricane country have several separate coverage provisions that may come into play. 

Policies that include hurricane coverage often specify that this provision is designed to cover damage specific to hurricanes. This can often include damage from high winds and flying rain, as well as damage inflicted by debris or objects hurled into the side of your home.

Often, much of the damage caused by a hurricane isn't due to high winds or rain, but the flooding that can occur later. Unfortunately, flood-related damage isn't always hurricane-specific enough to be included under wind or hurricane coverage. If you don't have a separate flood insurance policy, you'll want to speak with your insurance agent to determine which types of damage will be covered.

If your vehicle is damaged by the hurricane, whether by flooding, falling trees or flying debris, you may be able to submit this claim under your auto insurance policy rather than bundling it in with the rest of your homeowners' insurance claim. 

Hurricane Deductible
Many insurance companies implement a separate hurricane deductible for any hurricane-related wind, auto or flood claims. This deductible is often based on a percentage of your home's value rather than the flat dollar rate you selected for your other deductibles, so it's important to determine what (if any) deductible you'll be required to pay before you authorize repair work.
If your damage isn't all covered, you may still be in luck if your area is declared a federal disaster relief area. This can render you eligible for grants, loans and other forms of aid to help you finance any necessary repairs without going deeply into debt.

Where Should You Begin?

Once you've returned safely to your home, you'll want to take a few steps to quickly get the claims adjustment process started.
First, you'll want to identify and list as many items of damaged property as you can. Having a list (with prices, if possible) can help your claims adjuster hit the ground running, identify the dollar amount of your loss and submit your claim quickly.
Taking pictures of the damaged property can also help, especially if you're planning to begin cleaning or making minor repairs soon that may mask some of the damage your home has sustained.
Next, you'll want to contact your insurance agent. Although he or she may be busy in the aftermath of a hurricane, waiting around to submit your claim or just get the process started can leave you last in line for repairs, and if your neighbors are also struggling with hurricane-related damage, you could find your claim dragging on far longer than expected.
Being proactive and getting in touch with a claims adjuster immediately will help you fast-track your claim and get your home and life back to normal as quickly as possible.
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Contact Us Today for a Free Claim Analysis