How To File An Insurance Claim For Hurricane Irma

Hurricane Harvey recently made history as one of the most damaging hurricanes to reach American shores in years. Tens of thousands of Texas homes have suffered catastrophic flood damage, and rescue crews are still hard at work with the cleanup and search and rescue efforts. Now, citizens of Florida are bracing for Hurricane Irma, the largest Atlantic hurricane ever recorded. Irma is on course to hit the entire state of Florida and affect other Southern states in a matter of days.

Recovery Options for Those Affected

One of the unfortunate realities to arise out of the Hurricane Harvey situation is the revelation that most people who lost their homes and personal property to flood damage will have to shoulder their recovery costs on their own. Insurers in the area report that only a small fraction of affected Texans have flood insurance coverage. Many people will have to take on debt or dig deep into personal savings to recover their losses. Some will need to move out of the area entirely.

Evacuations in Florida are already underway, but the people fleeing their homes need to have some idea of what to expect when the time comes to file insurance claims. The first step is notifying insurers. Most insurance companies handle claims on a first-come, first-served basis. Anyone who expects losses from Hurricane Irma should take the time to notify their insurers. Once the storm subsides, insurance claims adjusters will enter the area to investigate damage, so it’s a good idea to let them know where to look ahead of time.

Policy Wording

Though many people do not carry flood insurance, others may have useful coverage without realizing it. For example, a policy may specifically exclude damage from flooding, but cover wind and water damage. If a tree breaks a window of a home and allows water to enter, the policy holder can claim coverage for that water damage, but not flooding. It’s crucial for anyone feeling uncertain about their coverage options to carefully examine their insurance policies.

Depending on the extent of the damage, those affected may draw on homeowners insurance, auto insurance, and other supplementary coverage to cover their losses. After Hurricane Andrew struck 25 years ago, the property insurance market in Florida imploded, and Irma could potentially cause even greater devastation.

Handling Your Claim

If you find yourself in need of help handling your insurance claims, connect with a reliable attorney who has experience handling insurance concerns. The aftermath of a storm of this magnitude means that insurers are going to be incredibly busy for months to come, and getting a head start with your claim is crucial for timely results. It’s also important to remember that after a disaster this size, insurance companies will likely try to convince claimants to settle for lowball payouts on their policies. If an insurer acts in bad faith, an attorney can help resolve the situation and hold the insurer accountable.

Ideally, insurance claims adjusters will work in good faith to help those affected by Irma recover. Insurance industry analysts report that insurers have a $700 billion surplus with which to pay claims, so affected Floridians and other Southerners can hopefully expect reliable coverage for their losses. Anyone with cause for concern, or questions about an insurance policy after Hurricane Irma strikes, should reach out to an experienced property insurance claim lawyer for assistance.