How to Successfully File a Residential Insurance Claim in Florida

Half the battle in filing any residential insurance claim is knowing how to do it properly. Whether it’s storm damage, a leak, fire, theft, or any other covered event, you need to protect your home by filing a claim for any incidents or damage that occur. And you can’t just call the insurance company and call it a day.

You have to go through the entire claims process from start to finish and track everything to ensure maximum compensation. 

Here are some tips and steps to help you file a residential insurance claim in Florida and get the outcome that you deserve. 

File a Claim Immediately 

For starters, you will need to contact your insurance company immediately (if you haven’t already). This doesn’t have to be a formal discussion. You’re just letting them know that an incident or event occurred and that you will be looking to file a claim for the damages. They will take whatever information you have available at the time and provide you with a reference number for future needs. 

If there’s an event that requires police or first responders (such as a fire or break-in), you should call them immediately, as well. If the home is not safe to stay in because of the damage, vacate right away. If you’re involved in a major Florida storm and are filing a claim, being quick ensures that yours doesn’t get lost among the backlog. 

Document All Damages 

Once you’ve contacted everyone to let them know what’s going on, you will want to start documenting the damage that has taken place. This could include taking photos and videos. You’ll also want to keep extensive notes on the incident, as well as the claims process that you are going through. Keep track of the names and titles of people that you talk to, make notes about each step of the claim, and make sure that you have detailed documentation to submit to the insurance company. 

Make Temporary Repairs 

Are there any temporary repairs that need to happen before actual repairs take place? For example, if a hurricane caused a hole in your roof, you’ll want to get someone up there to put a tarp on the hole until it can be properly repaired. This prevents further damage and reduces the risk that the insurance company will balk at paying your claim. 

When you’re doing this, keep all damaged materials as long as you can. The insurance company might want to reference the damages later and if you’ve thrown out materials or items, you can’t prove the damage. Take photos of before and after temporary repairs, too, so you have that for future proof if need be. 

Understand Your Coverage in Florida

The biggest, and yet simplest, way to succeed with a residential insurance claim in Flordia is to understand your policy and the coverage that it includes. No two home insurance policies are the same. You should have coverage for all manner of potential events and incidents, including things like storm damage, water and sewer backup, break-ins and theft, and even routine failures and malfunctions. 

Your residential insurance policy includes some very important details:

  • Deductible: This is how much you have to pay out-of-pocket before your insurance company will start paying the claim. Make sure yours isn’t too high. A good deductible for home insurance is $1,000 or less, but you may pay higher premiums for a lower deductible if you want. 
  • Loss of Use Coverage: In addition to repairing damages, your home insurance should provide coverage for when you have to leave your home. This can pay for things like temporary housing and hotels, meals, clothing, transportation, and more. 
  • Exclusions and Limitations: These are specifically spelled out in your insurance policy and events or situations that are not covered. For example, in Florida, you may require separate flood and hurricane insurance if you want coverage for those events because they aren’t covered by typical home insurance policies. 
  • Covered Events: This refers to all the possible events that are covered by your insurance. Without an exhaustive list, it usually includes everything from storm damage to system failures to routine wear and tear. Make sure that your claim is a covered event to expedite the process. 

Read your insurance policy and check out the declarations page. This tells you exactly what coverage you have and the amount for each item. If you have questions, you can ask your insurance company. Or better yet, hire a public insurance adjuster to help you through the process and answer all your questions along the way. 

Prepare for the Adjuster’s Visit 

When you file a residential insurance claim in Florida, your insurer will send out an adjuster to review the claim and related damages. You should be prepared for this visit with all of your own documentation about what happened. Meet them at the property and give them permission to do their walkthrough. If the adjuster has questions, answer them, but make sure that you don’t say anything that puts a question on fault. 

It’s easy for insurance companies to talk people into taking a lower settlement for their insurance claim as it is. They’re looking for any opportunity to avoid paying the claim. If you mention some kind of fault, this could impact their decision. This is another place where it’s good to have a public insurance adjuster on your side. They know what this process is like and how to ensure that you get the best outcome. 

Public adjusters also know how to deal with insurance adjusters and companies, as well as how to maximize your home insurance claim to get fair compensation. 

Ask Questions

You should be willing to ask as many questions as you need to understand the claims process and what’s expected of you. In addition to your insurance company and a public adjuster, you can also check out the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation for more information about homeowner’s insurance claims in Florida. What kind of questions should you be asking, though? 

  • What does the claims process entail?
  • What kind of documentation of damages do you need?
  • Can I throw away damaged materials yet?
  • Is my claim covered by my policy?
  • How long will the process take?

That last one is a bit tricky, but it’s a fair question. It’s also one that many homeowners have. Naturally, you want to get through the claims process quickly and without hiccups, but it will take some time. The more information that you have, the less stressful the process will be. 

The adjusters at On Target Claims have years of experience in handling residential insurance claims in Florida. We can help you get through the claims process, work with your insurance company on your behalf, and make sure that the process goes smoothly from start to finish. Plus, we’ll be here to answer questions and address your concerns every step of the way. 

Wrap-Up: Residential Insurance Claim Review 

When filing your residential insurance claim, remember:

  • Report crimes or emergencies to the proper authorities. 
  • Call the insurance company to report the claim right away. 
  • Fill out all claim forms in full and return them promptly. 
  • Meet the adjuster and let them perform their inspection. 
  • Make temporary repairs but don’t throw things away until you’re told to. 
  • Prepare an inventory of damaged items or repairs needed. 
  • Keep receipts from travel, relocation, and temporary repairs. 
  • Ask questions. 
  • Work with a public insurance adjuster for the best outcome. 

No matter what type of home insurance claim you’re dealing with, these tips will ensure that the process goes smoothly. You’ll enjoy a much less stressful claims experience and with a public insurance adjuster on your side, you’ll know that you’re getting the outcome you deserve. 

Contact On Target Claims to discuss your needs for home insurance claims in Florida. We can help you from the beginning of the process or jump in where you need us, depending on your situation. Our experienced adjusters have been doing this for years and they know what it takes to make insurance work in your favor and keep the insurers accountable for paying claims. 

Reach out today to learn more or discuss your Florida residential insurance claim. 

Residential Insurance FAQs

What do I do if I can’t stay in my home?

If you are dealing with a situation where you can’t stay in the home for safety reasons or loss of use, you need to let the insurance company know right away. They will usually set you up with temporary housing and other needs, or advise you to go ahead and do it for yourself and include it with your claim. Loss of use coverage is designed to help with this, so make sure you have it. 

Who do I hire for repairs?

Once your claim has been approved and you have the money to start making repairs, you’ll want to find a licensed, reputable contractor that has expertise in home insurance claims and restoration. Contractors that commonly work with insurance claims are going to be able to help you through the process of getting your home back. 

What if my residential insurance claim is denied?

There are some instances where an insurance company will deny a claim for one reason or another. If this is the case, you should reach out to a public insurance adjuster right away. Not only can they help you understand the decision, but they can fight back against the insurance company to get the coverage you are owed.

Related Content: Top 10 Hidden Exclusions in Your Florida Insurance Policy That Could Affect Your Property Damage Claim

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