- Filing a storm damage claim can be a complicated and stressful process, but there are a few measures to take to go more smoothly.
- The most important part is to document the damage as soon as possible. Record evidence with the help of photos or videos of the damage and date them.
- It’s also important to keep track of any repair or replacement costs to provide these details to your insurance company.
- J & E Restoration Pros offers construction and restoration services to customers in Gainesville, FL, and the surrounding areas.
A severe storm can extensively damage your home. If you are not prepared, the aftermath can be costly and time-consuming. Hurricanes, tornadoes, and flash flooding can devastate entire communities in minutes. If you’re affected by a natural disaster, knowing what to do is essential to ensure you get the help you need.
J & E Restoration Pros will discuss some critical mistakes that can cost you your storm damage claim. By avoiding these mistakes, you can expedite the process and get back to your life faster!
Critical Mistakes That Can Cost You a Storm Damage Claim
1. Not Filing a Claim within the Statute of Limitations
One of the most crucial mistakes that can cost you your storm damage claim is not filing the claim within the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations is the timeframe in which you file a claim. If you file your claim within this timeframe, you will likely be allowed to do so.
2. Not Documenting the Damage
Another critical mistake is not documenting the damage to your property correctly. It is essential to take pictures or videos of the damage as soon as possible after the storm so that you have evidence of the damage. Without this evidence, it will be difficult to prove that the storm caused the damage.
3. Not Keeping Track of Expenses Related to the Damage
Another mistake that can cost you your storm damage claim is not keeping track of expenses related to the damage. It includes receipts for repairs, hotel stays, and other out-of-pocket costs you have incurred due to the damage. These records are necessary to prove that these expenses were incurred because of the storm damage.
4. Making Permanent Repairs Before Filing a Claim
Resist the temptation to make permanent repairs before filing your insurance claim. Your insurance adjuster will need to inspect the damage before repairs are made, and making repairs beforehand could impact the amount of money you receive from your claim. If you must make repairs to prevent further damage, save all receipts and documentation to be reimbursed later.
5. Not Speaking with an Attorney
If you have suffered storm damage, you must speak with an experienced attorney to help you with the claims process and avoid making critical mistakes that could cost you your claim.
6. Not Knowing Your Policy Limits
Another common mistake is not knowing your policy limits. Your policy limit is the maximum value your insurance company will pay for storm damage.
7. Accepting an Initial Settlement Offer
Many homeowners mistakenly accept an initial settlement offer from their insurance company without negotiating for more money. If you are unsatisfied with the initial offer, negotiate with your adjuster for a higher amount.
8. Failing to Get Multiple Estimates
Homeowners should also get multiple estimates for repairs before accepting any settlement offer from their insurance company. It will ensure that you are getting a fair amount for the repairs that need to be made. It is also essential to get estimates from licensed and reputable restoration contractors to avoid being taken advantage of.
9. Not Hiring a Public Adjuster
A public adjuster represents homeowners during the claims process. Many homeowners mistakenly believe they can handle the claims process independently, but this often leads to their insurance companies taking advantage of them. A public adjuster will get you the maximum settlement possible for your claim.
10. Not Using a Licensed Restoration Contractor
Another mistake that homeowners often make is not using a licensed restoration contractor for the repairs. A licensed contractor will ensure the repairs are done correctly and promptly.
Related: The worst home insurance claim mistakes made by homeowners.
Tips to Avoid Common Mistakes in Filing Storm Damage Claim
1. Don’t Wait Too Long to Claim Damages
It’s important to remember that most insurance policies have a time limit for filing claims, so it’s essential to act quickly. If you wait too long, your claim may get denied.
2. Don’t Underestimate the Damage
It’s essential to be as accurate as possible when estimating the cost of repairs. If you underestimate it, you may find that your insurance company will only cover part of the cost of repairs.
3. Don’t Forget About Secondary Damage
When filing a storm damage insurance claim, it’s important to remember that there may be secondary damage that needs to be addressed. For example, if your roof was damaged in a storm, there may be water damage to your ceilings or walls. Be sure to include all damages in your estimate so that you can get the total amount of coverage you deserve.
Also, read our blog on avoiding a disaster to prevent mold after water damage.
4. Don’t Overlook Your Deductible
When filing a claim, be sure to factor in your deductible. It is the amount of money that you will be responsible for paying out-of-pocket before your insurance company starts covering the costs. Include this in your estimate, so you only owe what was expected.
5. Don’t Forget About Additional Living Costs
If the storm damage makes your home uninhabitable, you may be able to receive coverage for additional living expenses. These expenses include hotel bills, meals, and transportation costs. Keep all receipts and documentation to submit to your insurance company for reimbursement.
6. Don’t Try to Do It All Yourself
Trying to handle everything on your own can be a mistake when filing a storm damage insurance claim. The process can be complex and confusing, so it’s essential to have someone on your side who knows what they’re doing. An experienced public adjuster can help you navigate the claims process and ensure that you get the maximum amount of compensation you deserve.
7. Don’t Accept the First Offer from the Insurance Company
Once you’ve filed your claim, the insurance company will send an adjuster to assess the damages. After doing so, they will offer you an initial settlement offer. It’s important not to accept this offer without consulting with a public adjuster or attorney who can help you negotiate a fair settlement.
Need a Restoration Contractor in Gainesville, FL?
J & E Restoration Pros is a locally owned and operated disaster and damage restoration company that has been around for over 30 years. Our team of experts is well-trained to handle any emergency, from storms and floods to plumbing emergencies. If you need help filing an insurance claim in Gainesville, FL, our team can help! We will help you file insurance claims and handle all the paperwork to get the maximum reimbursement.