Hurricane Insurance Lawyers – Panama City, Florida
In 2018, the Panhandle saw one of the worst storms ever to hit the region that wiped out almost entire cities. Thankfully, Panama City didn’t see very much damage like its neighbor Mexico Beach, Florida. Storm Michael left millions of dollars in damages for businesses and residents to recover from, and even today, much of the area is still a catastrophic mess. Most of Mexico Beach is still gone which displaced residents who went to neighboring places like Panama City, Destin, and Tallahassee.
Insurance claims for this storm are past the 38,000 mark, and estimates come in around $5.7-million in damages. The question now is, are you ready for the next hurricane season and do you have the right insurance coverage?
At David Graham Insurance Lawyers, P.A., we work with hurricane victims who have had a hard time recovering compensation from their insurance companies. With so many claims after a hurricane, you might imagine how long the process can get.
How Can You Be Prepared for a Hurricane?As most Florida residents already understand, hurricane coverage doesn’t really “exist.” At least, not in the comprehensive way the rest of the country looks at home insurance. Depending on where you live, you may be required to have a particular type of coverage to ensure you can recover in the awful case you are hit with a severe weather event.
Now is the time to review your policy, before you’re staring down the Weather Channel’s potential hurricane models. When that moment hits, it will be too late to do anything different with your policy or to get gap coverage for your home. Review your policy and understand exactly what it covers and what it misses the mark on.
Here are some questions to ask yourself about your particular coverage:
Q: What is your deductible?
Florida hurricane insurance policies tend to work in percentage points rather than dollar figures. So while you might have a $1500 medical deductible with your healthcare, you might have a 2% deductible with your home insurance policy. Two percent doesn’t seem like a significant number, but if your home is worth $450,000, this could mean that you will be responsible for $9,000 in repairs before you can start asking for compensation.
While you won’t be able to “change” that necessarily, it might help you financially prepare, so you are not left in total shock in the wake of a storm that has already devastated your home.
Q: What does your flood insurance look like?
Your first thought might be, “I have flood insurance, I’m good to go.” But, do you know what kind of flooding your policy covers? This is one of the worst surprises after a massive storm since flooding tends to do so much damage, and leaves a tragic hole in your pocket to boot. Most flood damage only covers seeping groundwater. Meaning rising water from under your home. You might be shocked to learn that your flood coverage doesn’t include the dune lake spilling over into your neighborhood or the storm surge that wiped out your particular street.
Understanding the extent of your flood policy will help you add coverage or purchase additional riders to help you survive various flood events. A side note, you’ll also want to look at your policy on wind damage as it may not cover certain wind events.
Q: What does your policy say about “triggers?”
This information is usually found on the declarations pages of your policy and refers to how your coverage is “triggered.” Meaning, a certain event has to take place for your coverage to kick in. This might be an alert by the National Weather Service that issues a wind warning or reports on how fast the winds are. There may be some hidden “thresholds” in your policy that might not cover something like a tropical storm with only 55-mile an hour winds, that somehow took the corner of your roof off.
These are just some of the questions you’ll want to use to get to know your policy better. They can help get your mind thinking about how your coverage does or doesn’t work for you. All too often, as hurricane insurance attorneys in Panama City, we see homeowners left with forking out thousands of dollars from their own pockets because they weren’t familiar with how their policy worked.
Let’s talk for a moment about what to do after a storm hits. This is when we tend to be hired and see all kinds of mishaps, mistakes, and misfortune in hurricane insurance law.
The Aftermath of a Storm
This is one of the most devastating moments, wondering what exactly you are going to go home to. With plenty of luck, you will never have to deal with this, but if you do experience significant hurricane damage, we are here to help. The trouble with hurricane insurance claims is that you are not alone in filing a claim. You and everyone else in your street, neighborhood, and city are also likely filing claims. This can result in long waits and insurance companies not acting in your interests.
We can help you through this process by representing you while you move through the claims process. We will help you gather evidence, go through your policy, file a claim and communicate on your behalf which might be welcome as you are trying to clean up.
Hurricane recovery is devastating, to say the least, and we hope you’ll never need us for this sort of insurance claim. However, if you would like us to take over any part of your claim process, please don’t hesitate to call. If you are doing your due diligence and merely trying to prepare, add us to your contact list. If you are now in the middle of a tragic hurricane situation, we welcome your call and will do everything we can to help you through it. Contact us today and let’s start a conversation.