Types of Property Damage CoveredHomeowner's insurance policies cover a wide variety of "all other perils" (AOP) after a devastating storm. For example, types of hurricane and storm damage covered under the typical policy include:
- Water damage (not flooding).
- High winds and debris.
- Fallen trees and powerlines.
- Moisture-related damage.
- Certain automobile-related accidents.
- Damage to belongings within or near the home (appliances, furniture, recreational vehicles, home accessories, electronics, jewelry, etc.).
- Damage to a home's features like garage doors, gutters, windows, siding, etc.
Flood InsuranceFlood insurance is one of the trickiest forms of property insurance out there. Most insurance policies do not cover flood insurance, requiring a property owner to purchase additional coverage. As stated above, most insurance policies cover AOPs. However, flooding is usually not included. Thus, property owners should review their current policies and talk with an experienced hurricane and storm damage attorney to assess whether purchasing flood insurance is suitable for their needs.
Addressing Property Insurance Claims IssuesAfter years of addressing property damage claims, our experienced hurricane and storm damage attorneys know the many tactics insurance companies employ to prevent paying for damage through a policy. Below are simple tips we always tell our clients to use before initiating the claims process:
- When necessary, update a homeowners insurance policy: whether it is a new addition to a home, a recently built garage, or new storm shutters, any notable changes to a home should be considered when purchasing a new policy or reviewing a current policy.
- Prepare for damage: many insurance companies will instruct homeowners to prepare for damage caused by storms and hurricanes, including boarding up doors and windows, securing fixtures like gutters, laying tarps over holes and other damaged areas, and moving valuables to safe locations. A homeowner that tries to protect their home and provides evidence of their attempt to prevent significant property damage can usually save thousands in costs and experience a smoother claims process.
- Maintain good recordkeeping: all property owners should keep an itemized list of valuables (appliances, furniture, electronics, etc.) and keep receipts when submitting damage claims. Homeowners should also keep their legal and financial documents, including their policy, in a secure location.
- Take lots of pictures: homeowners should have their smartphones ready to take photos of any significant damage to their property and valuables, dangerous conditions on the property (fallen trees and downed power lines), and efforts to safely address damage (laying tarps, moving objects, etc.).