Getting Help with Homeowner Insurance Claims After Hurricane Matthew
Many homes in North Carolina were damaged or destroyed when Hurricane Matthew swept through last month. If you have hurricane damage to your home or need help with a home damage insurance claim, you may be relieved to discover that you could be entitled to money for property damage in a home damage insurance claim.
State officials estimate that $1.5 billion in damage was done to around 100,000 homes and buildings. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has also approved more than $26 million in funds to go to affected residents in North Carolina.
What Do I Do If My Home Was Damaged by Hurricane Matthew?
Homeowner’s insurance does not cover flood damage. Flood damage must be purchased separately from hurricane insurance for your property. Homeowner’s coverage generally pays for damage done by high-speed winds. The specifics on what kinds of things are covered really depend on your own insurance policy, so find out specifically what yours covers.
Some homeowner’s insurance policies require an additional hurricane or windstorm deductible. These deductibles usually are around 1-5% of the home’s insured value. The cost of your policy may also vary depending on your proximity to the coast.
Many hurricane-related claims are for roof damage from high winds and damage to other structures like garages and sheds.
The Consumer Federation of America offers tips on what to do if you have a claim.
The tips include:
- File your claim promptly, since the faster you file, the sooner you are likely to be compensated.
- Document the damage with photos and/or video.
- Keep receipts for any expenses you paid in order to secure your home, or expenses you may have had if you could not immediately return to your home during the hurricane. Those expenses may be reimbursable.
- If an insurance company offers to send a preferred contractor, do not feel obligated to use them. In fact, you may find cheaper and/or better contractors on your own.
- Keep records of all your contact with the insurance company, including date, time and a brief summary.
- If you did not have an inventory of your possession prior to the hurricane, start to make a list of your possessions. If you have photos of inside your home from before the storm, they may provide some helpful reminders of what you own.
- Obtain a repair estimate from a trusted local contractor for a reference when talking with the adjuster.
- If you and the insurer do not agree on how much your loss is worth, don’t hesitate to file a claim
Many times, insurance companies are not as helpful as they should be, or they do not fully pay for claim damages to the satisfaction of the homeowner. However, the attorneys at our law firm have a record of success with home damage claims, even when the owners have no insurance at all. If your home was damaged during Hurricane Matthew in North Carolina and you need assistance getting full compensation from your insurance company, give us a call and we’ll be happy to help.
Your home is important, and the sooner you are able to repair and move forward, the better.