Tips for Filing Wind Damage Claims in Puerto Rico
Before you begin cleaning up from the storm, you need to document the damage your property sustained and the items that were lost. Take pictures of your property, and make a list of the personal possessions of everyone in your home along with the cost of each item. When listing your appliances, televisions, computers and other large items, take a picture of the tag that has the make and model of the item. Be descriptive when listing jewelry and other smaller items that may not have model tags. After power, internet and cell service is restored, you can use this list to research the details and costs of items for which you no longer have receipts. You can use this information when completing the Proof of Loss documentation that will be required for your claim.
After taking pictures of your property, you can begin cleanup, taking care to remove wet items, furniture, carpet, flooring and drywall that can create mold issues. Do not allow these items to be hauled away until after the insurance adjuster comes to inspect your property.
Make temporary repairs that may be needed to keep you and your family safe and to prevent further damage. These types of repairs may include tarping a damage roof and boarding up walls and broken windows. Keep receipts for any materials you purchase, and any labor costs incurred while making these repairs.
When the insurance adjuster comes to inspect your damage, walk around with them to make sure they record all of the damage you sustained. If you have a trusted contractor, have them with you so they can discuss any technical aspects regarding your repairs. The adjuster’s inspection report will be submitted to the insurance company for approval or denial.
If your claim is denied or you don’t receive enough to make the needed repairs, you have a right to dispute the claim or appeal the insurance provider’s decision. The process for dispute resolution will be detailed in your policy. Your dispute may involve the terms stated in the policy, the inspection of your property, or an insurance provider acting in bad faith. In addition to the processes outlined in your insurance policy, you have the right to dispute the insurance provider’s decision in a court of law.
Before making a decision to dispute or appeal a decision, speak to an experienced insurance law attorney. Our insurance attorneys fight for the rights of disaster victims when an insurance provider acts in bad faith by unfairly denying, unnecessarily delaying, or underpaying hurricane damage claims, and we stand ready to do the same for you.
A Few Additional Tips
There are certain aspects of wind damage that insurance companies are not going to cover. The cost of removing fallen trees from your property is just one example. The same applies to taking out debris from the damaged house or apartment.
If you need to get started with the repair process, be cautious about signing any agreements with contractors before talking to your insurance agency. On occasions, contractors have been known to make their clients sign the so-called Assignment of Benefits. This is a document that transfers your right to seek payment and compensation to the contractor. Depending on the specifics of the document, it could also give contractors the authority to file lawsuits on your behalf.