Hurricane Ian Insurance Claim Lawyer

Hurricane Ian was a large and highly destructive storm that made landfall in Southwest Florida on September 28th, 2022. According to the latest information from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), 110 deaths have now been attributed to the storm—making it the deadliest hurricane to hit Florida since the 1930s. The property damage has been massive.

At Bernheim Kelley Battista, LLC, we have extensive experience representing homeowners in first-party insurance claims, including hurricane damage claims. Below, our home damage lawyer provides a comprehensive overview of the most important things policyholders need to know about Hurricane Ian damage claims in Florida.

An Overview of Damage Caused by Hurricane Ian

Hurricane Ian was responsible for an enormous amount of property damage, especially in Florida. The preliminary reports suggest that the hurricane may be the single most costly storm ever to hit the state. According to a recent report cited by Axios, Hurricane Ian caused $53 billion to $74 billion of property damage in the United States, with $67 billion being the best estimate. Florida was the epicenter of Hurricane Ian’s damage. Southwest Florida was hit hard by the storm. As reported by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, many homeowners and businesses lost power in the region—with Lee County, Collier County, Charlotte County, and Sarasota County seeing an extreme impact. Forbes reports that the cities of Sanibel, Cape Coral, and Fort Myers saw the worst damage. The property damage associated with Hurricane Ian was by no means limited to Southwest Florida. There was considerable damage in communities across the region. Notably, Central Florida also saw extreme damage from the storm. There, it was flooding that was the primary culprit. WUSF Public Media reports that there are neighborhoods in the area that have been inaccessible for weeks.


What to Know About Homeowners Insurance Claims for Hurricane Ian Damage

Did your property sustain damage due to Hurricane Ian? In Florida, most homeowners’ insurance policies provide coverage for tropical storm damage and hurricane damage. You have the right to submit a claim for repairs and restoration through your property insurer. If you have any specific questions or concerns about your legal rights or options for filing an insurance claim for Ian-related damage, please do not hesitate to contact an experienced hurricane damage lawyer for guidance and support.

What is the Insurance Claim Process After Hurricane Ian?

Here is a basic step-by-step overview of how the first-party property insurance process works:

  • Take Photographs and Videos of the Hurricane Damage: As a starting point, you should take extensive photos and videos of your property damage. Make sure you record as much of the damage as possible.
  • Document Your Losses (Start Making Lists): You should also document your losses by making lists. Write down a comprehensive account of the things that were damaged and their value.
  • Notify Your Homeowners’ Insurance Company: Be sure to promptly notify your homeowners’ insurance company. Not only will doing so get the ball rolling on the claims process more quickly, but your policy likely requires you to provide notice.
  • Comply With Your Insurer’s Instructions for Mitigating Damage: In most cases, your homeowners’ insurance policy will require mitigation of damages. This could mean something like putting a tarp on a damaged roof. Be sure to mitigate.
  • Wait for an Insurance Adjuster to Arrive, Explain the Damage: An insurance adjuster will be assigned to come to your property to assess the Hurricane Ian damage. You should be present to accompany the adjuster and explain the damage.
  • File a Claim and Wait for a Check for Repairs: You need to file a Hurricane Ian damage claim with your property insurer. When a claim is approved, you should receive a check for the repairs.
  • Challenge an Unfair Denial or Underpayment: A homeowners’ insurer does not get to make the final determination on any claim. You have the right to challenge (appeal) an unfair denial or an unfair underpayment. An attorney can help.

Know the Best Practices for Filing an Insurance Claim for Hurricane Ian Damage 

If your home was damaged by Hurricane Ian, it is normal to feel stressed out and overwhelmed with everything that is on your plate. Cleaning up and making repairs after a major storm is never easy. A homeowners’ insurance claim is a key part of the process. Here is an overview of some of the best practices for filing a Hurricane Ian-related property damage claim in Florida:

  • DO—Be Proactive: The sooner you initiate the Hurricane Ian damage claims process, the better position you will be in to get paid.
  • DO—Document Everything: Documentation is crucial. If you fail to properly document your home’s damage, you may struggle to get full benefits.
  • DO—Work With Skilled Professionals: Professionals can help through the entire process—from an attorney who can assist with your claim to a reliable repair company.
  • DON’T—Assume Damage is “Too Small” to Count: Your home does not need to be destroyed to file a claim. If you sustained damage due to Hurricane Ian, you should file for your benefits.
  • DON’T—Make False Statements to Your Insurer: Always be honest about property damage. False statements could lead to denial, delay, or even bigger problems.
  • DON’T—Pay a Contractor in Full Before Repairs are Complete: As a general rule, you should not pay a contractor in full for hurricane damage repairs until the work is complete.

What are the Most Common Problems Homeowners Will Face in the Claim Process?

Homeowners can run into several different problems in the property insurance claim process. You must be prepared to overcome these challenges. Some of the most common problems that homeowners face when filing a property damage claim after a hurricane include the following:

  • Delaying in filing for benefits;
  • Issues with documenting the full extent of the damages;
  • Struggles to find a reliable contractor to perform repairs;
  • Alleged failure to protect property from further damage; and
  • Improper or unfair denial of a property damage claim by the insurance company.

Understanding Some of the Main Challenges for the Insurance Companies 

Hurricanes can cause some serious challenges for insurance companies. By their very nature, hurricanes tend to cause substantial damage over a wide area. As a consequence, many people are filing for benefits at the same time. Delays can become a big problem as insurance companies struggle to process all of the claims submitted by homeowners. As explained in a report from the Tampa Bay Times, homeowners can best protect their interests by filing correctly for benefits.

To learn more, schedule a free consultation with us today.

What is the Insurance Fraud Narrative?

There is no doubt that property insurance premiums have been on the rise in Florida in recent years. A narrative has emerged that insurance fraud is a major factor driving the increase. Indeed, in May of 2022, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a legislation to reform Florida’s homeowners’ insurance market, including “fighting insurance fraud and bolstering our investigative services to further support our efforts to protect consumers.” To the extent that property insurance fraud is occurring after a major storm in Florida, much of it is linked to unscrupulous contractors defrauding homeowners. Be sure to hire reputable parties for repairs and restoration.

Why Should a Person Hire BK Law for an Insurance Claim After Hurricane Ian?

Hurricane damage claims are complicated. For most homeowners, this type of storm damage is covered by a standard policy. However, navigating the insurance claims process is not easy. You must be prepared to proactively build a strong, well-supported claim. At Bernheim Kelley Battista, LLC, our firm is committed to protecting the rights and interests of homeowners adversely affected by Hurricane Ian. We have experience going up against large property insurance companies. Among other things, our Florida first-party insurance claims attorneys are prepared to:

  • Listen to your story and explain your options;
  • Investigate the property damage and your homeowners’ policy;
  • Help you gather the documents, records, and information to make a claim;
  • Advocate for you in any settlement discussions with your insurer; and
  • Take your claim as far as needed to maximize your homeowners’ insurance benefits.
The Bernheim Kelley Battista, LLC, Florida Hurricane Ian insurance claim attorneys are skilled, experienced advocates for policyholders. If your home was damaged during Hurricane Ian and you need help with the legal claims process, we are here as a legal resource. Give us a call now or contact us online to set up your free, fully confidential initial consultation. We represent homeowners in Hurricane Ian property damages claims throughout all of Florida.