Once you have gotten to the other side of a Florida hurricane, you can breathe a sigh of relief and take inventory of your property and home. Unfortunately, coming across damage can bring the tension right back as you prepare for the next storm: dealing with a hurricane insurance claim.

Your first instinct may be to begin cleaning up the mess around your home. However, according to the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation, it is important to document immediately. Take plenty of photographs and videos to show the extent of the damage. This includes damage to the structure, to equipment or furnishings and any water damage. If you must make an emergency repair, first take photos and record the damage that was done. Keep all receipts relating to the project and snap additional photographs after you make the repair. Keep any damaged materials, if it is at all possible, for the adjuster.

Review your policy and take note of all deadlines that you will need to meet. Missing a deadline can result in an automatic denied claim. Send your insurance carrier written notice that you may be making a claim as a result of hurricane damage. Request a confirmation that your message has been read and add this to your file of documentation.

Ask for an adjuster to come to your property to assess and record the damage as soon after filing as possible. Document the date of the request and any delays. Be sure you also keep a record of time you have missed from your work during this period and any wages you have lost.

Have a public adjuster or independent professional come to your property to assess the damage to be certain it is fairly evaluated. Do not agree to any settlement from your insurance provider until you are satisfied it is a fair amount and covers all the damages and monetary losses that your policy provides.

This post is meant as an educational resource only and should not be considered legal counsel.