In the cleanup after a major hurricane, it’s natural to wonder how much your insurance company might compensate you for the losses you suffered—no matter what kind of property you own. Ultimately, you depend on that coverage to help you repair and replace structures, vehicles, and other property damaged in the storm. However, a lot may seem uncertain as you work through the claims process and wait to hear back from the insurance company.
While it’s impossible to tell you how much your hurricane insurance settlement might be worth without a detailed review of your situation, attorney Bill Voss would like to share a little bit more information about what generally goes into calculating the worth of a hurricane claim settlement, as well as how you can get help if you don’t believe you’re being compensated fairly for your losses.
What Determines How Much My Hurricane Insurance Claim Is Worth?
Homes, businesses, churches, municipalities, and large-scale commercial properties can all be deeply affected by a hurricane. While the individual policies for these properties obviously vary quite a bit, the total worth of a claim is still determined by taking the following kinds of similar factors into account:
- The types of coverage you carry. If you want to get a better idea of what your insurance company might cover, the first step is to carefully review the specific coverage you currently carry. Some policies will cover the full cost of rebuilding structures or replacing the items lost in a hurricane, but other policies will deduct value for depreciation. There can also be a lot of difference in the worth of a hurricane insurance claim depending on how you have inventoried items, what your insurance company considers “similar” to a lost item, or if you have made improvements to your property since last reviewing your insurance policy. Keep in mind that flood coverage is generally covered under a separate policy, and there may be exclusions in your policy for certain other types of damage, like wind or hail damage.
- Deductibles. After a costly recovery from Hurricane Andrew, insurers began issuing policies with hurricane deductibles to policyholders along the East Coast and the Gulf of Mexico. For homeowners, these deductibles are generally set between one percent and five percent of the insured property value, but it may be possible to choose a higher or lower hurricane deductible in some areas. A standard deductible may also apply to damage that isn’t related to a hurricane. If you are unsure if your policy comes with a deductible, make sure you check. Don’t forget to check what conditions trigger the deductible, as sometimes deductibles don’t kick in unless the damage is caused by a named storm or certain wind speeds are reached.
- The extent of your losses. Obviously, the value of all the property that was damaged is going to be a factor in the settlement you are offered. However, there can be differences in the costs to replace or repair the property, and there may also be major differences in value between similar items of different brands or models. Keep in mind that there can also be extra costs associated with access for repair contractors or changes to get up to current building codes. If your damage was very severe and costly, there may also be insurance policy limits that apply.
If you need help deciding whether to accept a settlement from your hurricane insurance company, or if you have a complex property that has been severely damaged, reach out to the experienced attorneys with the Voss Law Firm today at 1-888-614-7730. We have many years of experience helping policyholders around the globe assert their rights, settle claims fairly, and hold “bad faith” insurance companies responsible for violating policyholder’s rights. In fact, we are one of just a handful of firms that handle these types of claims. For more information about what to expect, you can also download a free copy of our book, Tricks of the Trade, which explains more about how insurance companies sometimes take advantage of policyholders and what you can do if your rights have been violated.