5 steps to take on your insurance claim after a hurricane or tropical storm

Owners of homes and businesses got their first taste of hurricane season this past weekend. Several counties in Florida, including Miami-Dade, Broward, Monroe and Lee, received more than 10 inches of rain and quite a bit of wind from what is now Tropical Storm Alex. Owners of properties damaged by hurricanes and tropical storms may not know how to prepare an insurance claim against their insurer. They may not know the steps they must take after a hurricane or tropical storm to protect their interest and preserve their rights. The following tips are five important actions a property owner should take after suffering damage from a hurricane or tropical storm.

Take photographs of the damages to your property

The first step is to take photographs of the damages to your property. You should take photographs of the damage to your property before and after the hurricane or tropical storm hits, as well as from different angles. It is also important that you can photograph large pieces of debris that may have entered your home or business, such as fallen trees and branches. Make sure that all photos are taken in good lighting conditions so they can be used later if needed for your insurance insurance claim.

Identify location and date of each photograph taken. Be sure to keep a copy of these documents in case they become necessary for any future legal proceedings concerning your insurance claim, which could occur weeks or months after a hurricane has passed through an area.

Report your insurance claim immediately

The second thing you should do after a hurricane or tropical storm hits is report the claim to your insurance company. It’s important to get in touch with your insurer as soon as possible because it may take some time for an adjuster to come out and inspect the damage in person. Additionally, most insurance policies require that you report the loss promptly and the failure to timely report the loss could resort in your claim being denied. You’ll also want to let the insurance company know how much money you’ve spent on repairs or cleanup efforts so that they can reimburse you for those costs.

To help make sure that everything goes smoothly with your claim, keep these tips in mind:

  • Make sure that you have all of the information needed to file a claim before contacting an insurance company representative. This includes your insurance policy, policy number, photos of any damage caused by the storm (like downed trees), along with bills showing what work has been done so far on repairing or cleaning up from it (for example, if there are trees down on top of your house). Also write down exactly what happened during each major stage—for example: “there was heavy rain at this time” or “a tornado struck here at this time.” Finally, gather all receipts related to repairs done so far; if possible include estimates too!

Prepare an inventory of the damages to your personal property

The third step you should take is to prepare an inventory of damage to your personal property. The damage to your home or property is important and we understand that you want to know what’s going on with your claim. However, it’s equally important to make sure you have the information needed to complete an inventory of damages to your personal property.

Your insurance company will use this list when evaluating your claim for reimbursement. Unlike damages to your home, damages to personal property like clothes or furniture needs to be documented as best as possible with a detailed list of the damaged item, price, and receipts if possible. If the insurance company doesn’t receive this inventory, they may deny payments for losses that are not documented or fail to provide a claim payment because they believe there was no loss at all.

An easy way to keep track of items damaged by hurricane-related events is by taking photos or videos before and after disasters occur so that you can compare them later if necessary.

Provide documents to your insurance company

The fourth step to take after a hurricane or tropical storm is to provide documents that the insurance company requests. Each insurance company will require a different set of documents, but the following types are common:

  • Copies of all bills related to repairs. If a contractor has been hired to do repairs, they may provide you with an invoice or receipt. You should also keep copies of any other expenses incurred because of the damage.
  • A sworn proof of loss. This is a legal document that most policies require. The failure to provide this document can be fatal to your claim.
  • Photographs and/or videos.
  • Invoices for any costs of having to evacuate the property. Most policies provide some coverage for the cost to evacuate a property under certain circumstances.

Contact an attorney to represent you in your claim against the insurance company

The fifth and final step is to contact a knowledgeable attorney to assist you in your claim. An attorney can help you navigate the legal process and resolve your case. An attorney can explain how insurance companies are legally required to pay claims, and they can help you understand your rights in terms of what is covered under your policy. An attorney also has access to legal terminology that may be unfamiliar to you, so he or she can translate complicated terms into language that makes sense for you as a lay person who likely hasn’t studied law on any level. The attorneys at Alvarez Law Group have years of experience handling insurance claims.


It is important for property owners to take the necessary steps to present their insurance claim in a timely and complete manner. Otherwise, you may lose your opportunity to make a claim or risk having your claim denied.

If you have had damage to your home or business because of Tropical Storm Alex, contact the attorneys at Alvarez Law Group to help with your insurance claim.

The following two tabs change content below.

Alvarez Law Group

At Alvarez Law Group, we are proud of our reputation for being a trusted advocate during insurance claims litigation and real estate transactions.

Latest posts by Alvarez Law Group (see all)