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Hurricane Claims with A&H

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Hurricanes represent some of the most dangerous and unpredictable natural threats property owners face. The attack of winds, torrential rains, rising tides, and subsequent flooding can severely impact homes and businesses.

 

Navigating through hurricane damage claims is often intricate, as they can involve the coordination of different insurance policies, such as standard homeowners and flood coverage. This often leads to insurers trying to transfer accountability to one another.

 

At A&H Public Adjusters, we recognize the challenges and stress this can cause. If your hurricane claim has been unjustly postponed, denied, or inadequately compensated, we are here to advocate for you. Our role as public adjusters is to ensure you receive the rightful claim amount, guiding you through the recovery journey. 

 

Hurricane Damage in Florida

With over two decades of experience handling claims in Florida, Maria E. Shalack is your reliable source for practical advice on Hurricane Damage. Having successfully managed claims during Hurricanes Charlie, Frances, Jeanne, Katrina, Wilma, Ivan, Irma, Michael, and Ian, among others, she brings a wealth of knowledge gained from the varied cases stemming from these storms. Her unique perspective also offers a firsthand look at the evolving insurance practices and their insurance product transformations over time.

As homeowners in Florida face the complex realm of hurricane claims, many clients inquire about what is covered under hurricane insurance and effective strategies to file a hurricane claim.

 

Get in Touch to schedule a no-obligation 15-minute consultation

to find out if A&H can help with your Hurricane Claim or ask for a copy of our hurricane insurance claim tips guide.

 

 

Expertise in Filing Hurricane Claims 

Navigating the complexities of hurricane claims is more than just understanding the basics of an insurance policy; it's about embracing the intricacies that can significantly impact the outcome of a claim. Many believe an "all-risk" policy covers them fully, but hurricane damage might not address the damages caused by the accompanying flood waters. 

 

While fire-related damages may have a set deductible, hurricane-induced damages could require a percentage-based deductible, drastically altering the compensation. Also, there's a distinction between 'replacement value' and 'actual cash value' coverage (depreciation of the claim) which can differ in the reimbursement for lost items. 

 

If your residence or business becomes unusable due to a hurricane, coverage might only kick in after a specified period, forcing you to cover the initial expenses.  Engaging a Florida public adjuster for your hurricane claim ensures you are well-informed about your policy's nuances, enabling you to make informed decisions and secure the best possible compensation for your damages.

 

For a comprehensive understanding of the coverage required for a potential hurricane claim, it's crucial to document your property. Keep images of your property’s structure and contents, both externally and internally. Store these photos and your insurance policies in a safe location or cloud storage service. This aids in determining the right insurance coverage and becomes essential if you ever need to file a hurricane claim.

 

Advanced Preparation Plan

It's important to prepare in case a hurricane strikes in your area by having a preparation plan, with evacuation or sheltering and a communication strategy in place. Also, keep all your professional contacts and establish a relationship with a public adjuster in your area so they can serve you immediately if your property becomes affected.

 

If your property becomes damaged and regarding a hurricane claim, you must assess property damage with photographic evidence. Contact the insurance company before making any major repairs, and ensure you document all interactions and discussions with insurance representatives and adjusters. Better yet, hire a Public Adjuster like Maria E Shalack to handle the claim from the beginning. 

 

If you filed the claim independently, once you get the insurance adjuster’s assessment, contact a licensed and trusted public adjuster to guide you in Florida's property claim process and ensure fair compensation from insurance companies. 

 

Public Adjuster Fees for Hurricane Claims

A public adjuster is bonded and licensed by the Department of Financial Services in the State to represent the policyholder. It is well-known that public adjusters in Florida typically get higher payments on the claim because of their know-how in policy language, construction materials, and estimating damages.

 

The public adjuster is a figure designed by the State to protect consumers. They work on a contingency basis, protecting policyholders and their claims.  The policyholder's relationship with the public adjuster bears no risk for them. The adjuster’s fee structure is transparent, and they can only collect their fees once the insurance company issues the payment.

 

A professional public adjuster is essential in handling hurricane claims and providing services to help policyholders recover their entitled compensation. They are bonded and licensed by The Florida Department of Financial Services (DFS), and their fees are regulated. 

 

Hurricane claims, and other catastrophes are classified under the 'State of Emergency' category. A specific provision dictates that public adjusters can charge a fee of up to 10% of the recovery amount only for the first year following the event date. After this initial year, the fee increases to 20% of the recovered amount.

 

Learn more about the benefits of hiring a public adjuster.

 

Hurricane Coverage in Florida

In the context of insurance within Florida Statutes 627.4025, a "hurricane" is a storm system officially designated as such by the National Hurricane Center. It encompasses a potent combination of powerful winds and other elements capable of directly damaging properties.

 

This definition remains in effect from issuing a hurricane warning for any part of Florida until 72 hours after the conclusion of the last hurricane watch or warning. The term "hurricane" holds significant importance in policies offering residential coverage. Within these policies, "hurricane coverage" specifically addresses losses or damages caused by windstorms during these impactful events. 

 

Moreover, this coverage extends its scope to encompass any ensuing damage occurring within buildings due to elements like rain, snow, sleet, hail, sand, or dust. This extension applies only when the initial force of the windstorm creates an opening, permitting these elements to enter and cause harm, and does not cover flooding.

 

Florida Hurricane Deductible

A hurricane deductible is an additional deductible specifically applied to your homeowner's insurance policy when you face damage caused by a hurricane. These deductibles became widely accepted after Hurricane Katrina in 2005  to limit insurance companies' payouts for hurricane-related damages.

 

Unlike standard homeowners insurance deductibles, hurricane deductibles are often a percentage of your covered home value rather than a fixed amount. 

 

Florida Hurricane Deductible Statute

The 'Florida Hurricane Deductible Statute' refers to the initial amount you, as the policyholder, are responsible for before the insurance company makes any payment. Usually, this amount is deducted from the estimate of the damages. These deductibles equate to $500 and a percentage deductible of 2%, 5%, or 10% of your dwelling coverage at the time of the loss.

 

Hurricane deductibles are set by law and apply to private policies and Florida’s Citizens Property Insurance Corporation (CPIC)-- a state-run program that insures homeowners who cannot find coverage in the market.

 

A unique feature of Florida's hurricane deductible is that you only need to pay it once within a calendar year, provided you're insured with the same company or group for the duration of that year.

 

This deductible occurs when a hurricane watch or warning is issued for any part of Florida and lasts 72 hours after the final hurricane watch or warning has been lifted. It is pertinent to remember that a separate roof deductible does not apply when the hurricane deductible is in effect.

 

The hurricane deductible applies to all windstorm claims during a hurricane on a calendar-year basis, provided your insurance stays with the same company or group. In the event of a second hurricane within the year, your deductible will be the remaining balance from your first hurricane deductible if it hasn't been fully met or the standard 'all peril' deductible as stated on the policy.

 

Prompt reporting of damages is critical, and all claims should be filed even if the repair cost is lower than the hurricane deductible. This allows the insurer to record credits that could be applied towards a deductible for future claims within the same year. Additionally, hidden damages may be uncovered during repairs, and having filed the original claim will make it easier to add a supplemental claim.

 

In determining whether a hurricane deductible should apply and for how long, you must ascertain whether a hurricane caused the loss and if the named storm system reached hurricane strength. You also need to know the timeline of hurricane watches and warnings for Florida and when they were lifted. It is always necessary to check the policy to verify the deductible amount and how the specific insurance carrier determines it.

 

To confirm if the insurer is applying the correct amount for the hurricane deductible, you must know your policy's effective date, the amount of Coverage A (Dwelling Coverage) listed on your policy's Declaration Page, and the hurricane deductible percentage indicated.

 

Understanding the potential impact of the Inflation Guard Endorsement on your Hurricane Deductible is also vital.

 

In the event of multiple claims within a hurricane season, the “Inflation Guard’’ can affect both the coverage amount and the deductible amount on the claims. Therefore, it's advisable to thoroughly understand these factors when dealing with insurance policies in Florida.

Hurricane Water Damage

Home insurance policies typically do not cover damages caused by flooding, regardless of your location. Flood damage is defined as water-related damage originating from an external source. For instance, while a standard homeowners policy covers water damage caused by a burst pipe inside your home, it will not provide coverage if a storm surge causes a nearby body of water to overflow and flood your property.

 

If you live in a hurricane high-risk area, consider adding flood insurance to your residential insurance coverage. Flood insurance is not included in a standard home insurance policy and must be purchased separately as an add-on coverage.

 

Flood insurance is primarily offered through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), overseen by FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency). Private insurance companies also sell it. Flood insurance covers damages caused by water entering your home from outside sources, such as floods or storm surges.

 

Flood insurance policies have separate deductibles and premiums distinct from those of your standard homeowner's insurance and often have limits on the maximum amount of coverage you can claim for damages caused by floods.

Wind Insurance: Navigating Coverage and Exclusions

As a policyholder, understanding your coverage options is essential to maximize a hurricane claim. It's vital to comprehend your coverage choices, particularly when it comes to including wind coverage. These choices hold direct relevance to potential damages inflicted by hurricanes. As a significant component of hurricanes, windstorms often unleash powerful winds and destructive forces that can result in extensive property damage.

 

Windstorm-related damages are frequently associated with hurricane claims. Some requirements and options linked to windstorm coverage and exclusions within residential property insurance policies help consumers make informed decisions tailored to their needs and circumstances. Read more about residential windstorm coverage availability under Florida Statues 627.712

 

Insurance providers issuing residential property insurance policies are mandated to incorporate wind coverage. Exceptions apply in cases where risks qualify for wind-only coverage from Citizens Property Insurance Corporation or do not meet the corporation's coverage criteria under specific circumstances.

 

Property insurers must offer policyholders the choice to exclude windstorm coverage. This option enables policyholders to opt out of insurance coverage for windstorm-induced damages. 

 

Exclusions can be executed by submitting a statement to the insurer declaring the decision to exclude windstorm coverage, accompanied by signatures and dates. If the insured property holds a mortgage or lien, approval from the respective mortgage or lienholder is necessary before electing to exclude windstorm coverage.


Residential property insurance policies, excluding condominium unit owner policies or tenant policies, grant policyholders the option to exclude coverage for property contents.

Hurricane Insurance Public Adjuster

A&H – A Public Adjuster in Florida

If you are considering hiring a public adjuster in Florida, particularly for hurricane claims, A&H Public Adjuster Corp. is ready to assist. Under the guidance of Maria E Shalack, a licensed adjuster with a track record specialized in hurricane-related claims since 2002, offering comprehensive assistance to Florida property owners with complex claims.

 

Contact us today to gain deeper insights into how we can help you navigate hurricane claims. Visit us at any of our offices in Doral, Port Charlotte, and Port St. Lucie Florida.



 

References:

Florida's Hurricane Deductible

Florida's Hurricane Deductible Guide

Background on: Hurricane and windstorm deductibles

Florida's Hurricane Deductible Consumer Protection Page

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