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How to file an insurance claim for hurricane damage

Even a well-built home may receive damage during a hurricane. Depending on the severity of the storm, property damage can be significant, and some homes could be destroyed. With a category 4 or 5 hurricane, winds can be 137 mph or greater. A storm this severe can leave the damaged area uninhabitable for months afterward.

Some insurance companies may try to deny or underpay property insurance claims from hurricane damage. However, there are steps you can take to help ensure you receive the proper payment for hurricane property damage.

Secure the damage

Even if your property is uninhabitable, you should still try to prevent any further damage. Cover up roof damage or broken windows with tarps or boards. Keep track of any money you spend on temporary repairs.

Inventory the damage

Go through your home and create a list of anything that is missing or damaged beyond repair. This includes all personal effects like photo albums, furniture, clothing, etc. If you can, include an estimate of what the items are worth. Unless it is unsafe, try not to throw any of these damaged goods away. The insurance adjustor will likely want to see these things. If you do have to throw an item away, you can also take a picture of it before you do so.

Track your expenses

If you are unable to stay in your home, the insurance company may reimburse you for hotel costs. You could also have to make immediate repairs to your home. Keep track of all your expenses, so you can submit these to your insurance company.

Review your insurance policy

Before you meet with the insurance adjuster, make sure you review your policy. You should be able to access this online, if your documents were damaged in the storm. You need to know what your policy covers, so you know what to expect when the adjustor arrives. This can also help you understand if you claim is being underpaid or unjustly denied.

Living through the hurricane should be the hardest part of the experience. If you think your insurance company is treating you unfairly, you may consider contacting an attorney that specializes in property insurance claims.

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