Hurricane season is in full swing. Just weeks ago, Hurricane Elsa grazed past the Florida’s west coast on its track up the Eastern Seaboard. Fortunately, the damage to homeowners was minimal as Florida residents prepped for the State’s first major storm of the season. However, now is not the time to sit back and relax. Hurricane season is only just beginning, with peak activity occurring between August and October. If you haven’t already, now is the time to get prepared.
For tips on general preparedness, follow guidance from the CDC, FEMA and your local public health authorities for the most up-to-date information. In this article, we will look at hurricane preparation through the legal lens. Here are five legal tips that will protect you and your family’s interests this hurricane season.
Prepare Your House
You must take all the necessary steps to fortify your home before a hurricane. Make sure to clear your property of any loose objects that could propel into your home. This includes trees or branches that are unlikely to withstand the winds. Take care of any home repairs needed, especially to windows, doors and the roof. Lastly, make sure windows and doors are covered. Hurricane shutters and plywood should provide the best protection.
Personal safety aside, adequately preparing your home could save you significant time, stress and money. Even with homeowner’s insurance, it is never fully guaranteed that an insurance company will accept your claim. Early steps that prevent such damage from ever occurring should be your priority.
Listen to public safety authorities
As the storm approaches, guidance will constantly change as the latest forecasts and reports come in. Thus, it is important that you are constantly inundated with the most up-to-date information. Smartphone Apps from FEMA and Red Cross provide you with regular updates on the storm’s path and the latest public safety information being released. If your county’s zone is evacuated, do not ignore the evacuation orders. Not only are some evacuations mandatory in Florida, but they are designed to protect residents and emergency personnel from dangerous conditions. Failing to abide by these mandates can expose you to legal liability and endanger the lives of others.
Review Your Insurance Policy
How long has it’s been since you’ve taken a good look at your insurance policy? Regardless of your answer, every homeowner should review his/her policy before hurricane season.
First, make sure your insurance policy accurately covers the true value of your home. If it does not, contact your insurance agent to update your policy. Second, review the coverage terms like your hurricane deductibles and policy limits.
Most homeowner’s insurance policies don’t cover damages resulting from floods and other forms of water damage. Consider purchasing supplemental insurance like flood and windstorm insurance when you’re policy is lacking.
Gather Important Information, Pictures and Documents
Hurricane’s pose a tremendous risk to valuable information and documents kept in the home. If this information is destroyed, you face a greater likelihood that your insurance compensation is reduced or outright denied.
Prior to a hurricane, organize and gather documents like insurance and financial records and move them to a safe, waterproof location. Additionally, take pictures of the interior and exterior of your home to record the condition before the storm. For good measure, consider taking home inventory of your personal items and valuables. This is the best way to ensure you are properly compensated in the case of hurricane damage.
Follow COVID-19 Guidelines
Amidst hurricane season, COVID-19 remains a leading public health risk to Florida residents. You should continue to follow social distancing, masking and quarantining guidelines in accordance with local and national health direction.
In some areas, COVID-19 may directly affect hurricane guidance. For instance, local shelters may adopt occupancy limits or other social distancing protocols to combat the spread of the virus. Additionally, certain resources may be harder to obtain in light of labor and supply shortages. Florida residents should remain vigilant to remain safe and protect their peers.
However, even when all necessary precautions are taken, disaster can strike.
If you or your loved one’s homeowner’s insurance claims have been rejected by your insurance provider, Miller Trial Law can get you the recovery that you deserve. Please call us today at (305)-697-8312. We look forward to serving you!