What if the Insurance Company Delays or Doesn’t Pay?

If an insurance company delays or fails to pay out on your claim, you may be entitled to additional compensation. Such follow-up action usually requires the assistance of a lawyer. A typical state code for hurricane claims might involve the following requirements and consequences for insurance companies in their adjustment of home damage claims:

  • Insurance companies have 30 days to address your damages following a catastrophic hurricane

  • They then have 30 days to pay once they determine you are due money for your damages

  • If they don’t pay within this deadline, they can be liable for up to 50% of the amount of your damages, as well as standard attorney fees

  • If the insurance company fails to pay within 60 days, they may be liable for up to two times the amount of your damages, plus attorney fees

What Should I Do if I’ve Suffered Damage in a Hurricane?

There are several steps you can take to help increase your chances of recovery after a hurricane. Follow these steps, especially if you don’t have flood insurance:

  • Document, document, document: Make sure all your property damage is thoroughly documented. Do NOT throw any physical property away unless you have documented it with several photos. You can never have enough pictures or videos. Be sure to document down to the inch, to avoid losing compensation for the true value of the damage.

  • Make a claim: If you have only windstorm coverage and no flood insurance, but have incurred flood damage, you should still file a claim. By law, the insurance company is obligated to send an adjuster out when a claim is filed; the adjuster may be able to assess the damage and make determinations you might not be trained to recognize.  

  • Get a second opinion: If you have a friend or know someone who is an engineer or an expert on water-damaged houses, have them take a look at your damaged property. Insurance companies are also obligated to factor in their opinions when making an assessment, and it will typically go in your favor.

  • Seek legal assistance: If the insurance company denied your claim, or if the outcome wasn’t what you needed, seek the assistance of a hurricane property damage lawyer. An attorney can help review your claim as well as possible alternatives, so you get the recovery you need. It may also be highly beneficial to work with a hurricane lawyer at the outset of your claim, so they can guide you through the process and help with negotiations.

For additional details on what to do after a hurricane, see our Hurricane Insurance Claim Checklist (below).