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Damage Claim Filing Tips

Your Legal Options for Hurricane Maria Damage Claims
December 26, 2017
Insurance Companies Facing Government Lawsuits in Puerto Rico
September 21, 2018

When a hurricane strikes, the experience can be extremely stressful. Enduring and surviving the storm is just the first step. You must then assess the damage and cope with any loss of utilities and infrastructure that impact your well-being. A lack of food and supplies has been an ongoing issue in Puerto Rico as well. Receiving just compensation for insurance damage claims is another hurdle many islanders are facing.

Before beginning the claims process, know that our Puerto Rico insurance attorneys can help. We can review your policies to determine coverages, help you gather and prepare proof of loss documentation, and fight unfairly denied, delayed, or underpaid damage claims. We also make sure you are not taken advantage of during the claims process and that you receive full and just compensation for your damages and losses.

If you have flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), you may be eligible for advanced payments under the enhanced claims process. Under this program, eligible policyholders can receive up to $20,000 for storm damage even before an adjuster inspects your property. To qualify, you will need to submit proof of flood damage through images, written contractor estimates.

Contact your insurance provider as soon as possible to file a damage claim. The insurance representative will be able to explain the process for filing a claim as well as the deadlines for filing claims and documentation. Special service centers for Hurricane Maria claims processing, and may even have established special filing procedures.

If you have incurred evacuation expenses, or paid out of pocket for temporary living arrangements, clean up, or temporary property repairs, keep those receipts to submit to your insurance provider as you may be entitled to compensation of those funds.

Before you begin any temporary repairs, document your property damage thoroughly. Take photos and videos of the damage, being sure to label the images and explain what is being filmed in the videos. Combine these with a written list of damage being sure to include any damage to detached buildings, fencing, vehicles, landscaping, outdoor furniture, and equipment. If you have copies of purchase receipts for damaged items, include those also.

If you have copies, review each insurance policy you have that may cover the damage caused by the storm. If you don’t have copies of your policies, your insurance provider should be able to provide them to you. Review your coverages and what’s excluded, the deductibles you will be expected to pay, the terms of the policy and how you will be required to handle disputes.

While you are waiting for the insurance adjuster to arrive for inspection, make temporary repairs that will prevent further damage. This may include removing wet and damaged materials to prevent mold, tarping the roof and boarding up windows and doors to increase security and prevent further wind and rain damage. Before starting, take photographs of the damage, then more pictures as the repairs are being made, and finally pictures of the finished work. Don’t let any materials and items that are removed from your home or business be hauled away until after the insurance adjuster sees them.

After inspection, your insurance provider will send you a settlement offer. If you disagree with the amount of money your insurance company is offering to settle your claim, you don’t have to accept it. Our lawyers can help you file an appeal or pursue another option to receive a fair and full settlement of your claim. Call now for a free consultation to learn more about how we can help you.


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