When a hurricane strikes Florida, the effects can be dire. Sometimes thousands of people must evacuate, and some lose their homes entirely. Those who have homeowner’s insurance should be protected from complete ruin and able to rebuild, but unfortunately, that is not always the case. Since some insurance companies fail to honor their commitment, it is important for home owners to know the potential pitfalls they could face when filing a claim.

According to the National Storm Damage Center, one of the first steps after a claim is made is having an adjuster inspect the damaged property. This person’s job is to assess the extent of the damage and determine the amount of money necessary to rebuild. However, since the adjuster is often employed by the insurance company, it may be wise to have a contractor present as well. The contractor may then keep the adjuster accountable, helping to ensure that the property is assessed thoroughly and accurately.

The New York Times warns of some issues that hurricane victims may face with their insurance companies. Since policies often include caveats and exclusions, it is important to know the terms. For instance, if a policy covers wind damage but not flooding, a home destroyed by a hurricane may not be covered by insurance, if the company argues that it was destroyed exclusively by water rather than wind. Residents of older homes may face resistance from insurance companies regarding payment for additional repairs that are necessary in order to bring the home up to code. The homeowner should know his or her rights based on the policy, and insist that the insurance company comply with them.