What to Do After a Catastrophe Strikes in Florida

Published December 5th, 2023 by Claim Help Lawyers

Catastrophic weather events include hurricanes and tornadoes, among others, and can cause disastrous damages such as the destruction of well-built framed houses, total roof failure, wall collapse and fallen trees. 

If your home happens to be affected by catastrophic weather, then you may find yourself struggling to recover afterward. Luckily, there are plenty of resources that can cover the cost of repairs and provide housing in the meantime. And if necessary, attorney help is also available. 

Here's your guide to Florida disaster help and recovery after a hurricane. 

Assess Storm Damage and Contact Your Insurance Company

It’s a good idea to have a disaster preparedness plan in place in advance of a catastrophic weather event so you know what to do when the worst happens to your home.  When and if the worst happens, follow your plan.  Make sure an evacuation plan is part of your overall preparedness plan, which includes things like a place to stay during the storm and items you'll need to bring. 

The first thing you should do after a catastrophic storm event is assess your home for damage. If you have evacuated in advance of the storm, make sure it is safe to return to your home before you return. If your property has suffered damage (assuming the damage is covered by your policy) you'll need to promptly contact your insurance company to report your loss and make a claim. This is recommended even if you aren't sure about your coverage. You can call your agent or the insurance company directly to start the claim process, and they'll send an adjuster to inspect the damage. Please note that most homeowners insurance policies do not include coverage for damage caused by flood, so if you have a separate flood insurance policy and you suffered a damage from flood, you will need to contact your flood insurance carrier as well.

Document the damage to your home and any items that have suffered loss and damage that may be covered under your insurance.  Florida policyholders must also file insurance claims within one year of the incident as of 2023. Previously, it was two years. 

You can also contact FEMA for extra Florida disaster help if needed. FEMA provides disaster recovery assistance for affected individuals and communities if an area is a designated federal disaster area. 

Determine if Your Home Is Safe to Return to and Take Necessary Steps to Protect it From Further Damage

When you are able to return to your home safely, determine if it is still suitable to reside in or if you need to secure alternative housing until such a time that is fit to live in.  Most insurance policies will reimburse you for the cost of your additional living expenses while your home is not fit to live in after a loss.  Look around for any potential hazards such as stray nails or loose wiring. Avoid standing water, as it may act as a conduit for electricity or cause an infection if you have open wounds. Try to clean and disinfect what you can. Dry wet areas and remove soaked items as part of your flood recovery.  If necessary, have your property dried out by a water mitigation company and tested for mold.  Also make sure that you take the necessary steps to prevent further damage to your property such as having a tarp put on your roof to prevent roof leaks and/or having temporary repairs made.

If your property is not currently habitable then you'll need to stick to your evacuation plan. Stay at a hotel or a family member's house while the contractors work on your home to make the necessary repairs. By wary of persons and companies who come to your neighborhood after a catastrophic weather event happens to solicit work. Make sure any contractors you hire to make repairs are state-licensed and insured so you know they'll provide professional assistance. It’s also a good idea, if possible, to get least three written estimates before you hire a contractor so you have more options. 

Don't try to do repairs yourself unless you’re qualified to do so.  Be patient and stay safe. 

Seek Help if Needed

You don’t have to go through the insurance claim process on your own.  Help is available.  If your insurance company takes too long to process your claim, denies your claim, or does not pay you enough to repair the damage caused by the loss your property sustained - you may need the assistance of an attorney to get your insurance company to fully and properly pay your claim. 

Knoerr Law Group provides hands-on counsel for your insurance claim across the State of Florida. If your home or business has suffered damage in a storm or accident, we can help. Contact us at either our Coral Springs or West Coast location to tell us more about your claim.

‹ Back

Contact Our Firm Today

A Passionate Team You Can Trust
Contact Us

Max upload limit 10MB
File format supported - .docx, .doc, .pdf, .jpg, .png

Supporter of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS)

Thank you for helping us fight blood cancer which has personally affected my family and so many others.