Looking ahead, looking back, roof damage likely always in view

Hurricane season is always something for homeowners in Florida to be worried about. As we observed in a post last month, with this year’s season on the horizon, the time for preparation is now. However, nature really knows no season. Severe weather can strike at any time. And, let’s not forget that many of us are still dealing with the aftermath of previous hurricanes.

Matthew and Hermine may be gone. They are not forgotten. Residual issues including water damage, roof damage and more remain in many parts of Florida. Many landowners face ongoing battles with insurers over denied claims as they wrangle with contractors and get their homes or businesses back on track. It’s not just about getting set for the next onslaught, but getting things livable now.

Insurance policies that bought and paid for would be enough to cover such things in an ideal world. We don’t live in an ideal world, however. Standing up for yourself is called for, but that requires you clearly understand your options and your rights. Consulting an attorney in this regard can help put you on a more equal footing with insurers when trying to recover the compensation you feel you are due.

It is in that vein that there is some good news from the government. The state’s Office of Insurance Regulation announced early last month that consumers holding policies under the National Flood Insurance Program will have an additional 60 days to compile and file the documentation necessary to prove their losses associated with Hurricane Matthew.

Normally the Federal Emergency Management Agency expects such information to be in within 60 days of the initial loss. With this latest extension, that timeframe has been tripled to 180 days.

That doesn’t mean certain claim approval and resolution. It just means storm victims have more time to seek recovery help.