Hurricane Florence caused the worst flood in the East Coast’s history. Florence made landfall in the Carolina’s on September 14 and brought with it destructive flooding at levels never seen before. Early estimates show that the hurricane dumped about 33 inches of rain on the region in a short period. Additionally, Hurricane Florence brought with it winds as strong as 105 MPH. These factors, along with the storm stalling over the region, was a recipe for disaster.
By all accounts, Hurricane Florence was a devastating storm that caused billions of dollars worth of damage. Now that most of the flooding caused by the storm has receded, people in the region have started the long, but needed, rebuilding process. One thing that can, and should, help tremendously in these times is insurance for these types of storms. Those affected by Hurricane Florence’s winds should check their homeowner’s policies as most of these policies include coverage for hurricanes. Furthermore, people should check to see if they had flood insurance to cover against the damages caused by Florence’s flooding. Insurance can be a powerful tool to help people rebuild after such a powerful storm. However, the process of dealing with one’s insurance company can be complex. Below are some steps people can take to have their insurance law claim processed efficiently:
- Take plenty of pictures of the damages that have occurred. If possible, take pictures immediately after the storm, while you clean up from the storm, and if you make any repairs to the structure. You can never take enough pictures!
- Take inventory of any personal items that were lost or damaged.
- File a claim with your insurance company as soon as possible and make sure you receive a claim number. This number is very important.
- Keep any correspondence between you and your insurance company.
- Comply with all reasonable instructions from your insurance company.
- Send weekly emails to your insurance company and their adjuster asking for updates on your claim.
- Have an independent contractor give a bid to gauge how much it will cost to repair or replace the damaged structures.
By following the steps above, a person is putting themselves in the best position to have their claim resolved fairly. Unfortunately, if the insurance company is not wanting to cooperate or if they are only wanting to pay an amount that will not be enough to cover the damaged structures, a person will have to take additional steps. An insurance policy is a form of contract. Therefore, an insured person has rights and remedies they are entitled to if someone breaches the contract. An insured complies with their duties of the contract by tendering their monthly payments. An insurance company complies with their duties when their tender payment for covered damages to a structure when the insured makes a claim. If a person feels that they are not being treated fairly by an insurance company, an option would be to consult with an attorney. If a person is interested in engaging an attorney, it is important they do so as soon as possible as there are deadlines that may bar any potential claim a person may have.
Note: Everyone affected by Hurricane Florence should also work with FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency). FEMA was designed by the Federal Government to provide assistance to areas that were affected by natural disasters such as Hurricane Florence. FEMA can be a good source for financial assistance. Depending on the person’s situation, FEMA may issue a grant or offer the person a loan. A grant is ideal because it provides financial assistance to a person affected by the storm without the person having to pay back the amount. A loan can be helpful as well but it needs to be paid back eventually according to FEMA’s terms.