If your home or business has been damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Nicole, United Policyholders’ Roadmap to Recovery® program will help guide you in valuing and documenting your loss, understanding insurance rules, settling your insurance claims fairly, and finding qualified professional, charitable, and government help. United Policyholders is non-profit and has 31 years of experience helping individuals and communities hit by disasters. We’re rooting for you and here to help. No strings attached.
Check if Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has made an individual assistance declaration in your area. If so, disaster assistance may be able to fill insurance gaps or provide help if you’ve been waiting more than 30 days on a homeowner’s claim. You can register here: www.disasterassistance.gov.
The Red Cross is providing financial assistance to people whose homes were confirmed to have been destroyed or sustained major structural damage from Hurricane Ian in September 2022. To learn more about eligibility and fill out an application, click here.
If your rental, home or business was insured for flood damage, there are some differences in how a flood versus a home insurance claim gets adjusted and settled, but many similarities. Wind damage will be covered under your homeowner’s policy, while flood damage caused by storm surge should be covered under your flood policy.
- Take photos of the damage BEFORE clean-up, disposal or repairs. Photo document all damage. Start a list so you can get realistic estimates of costs to repair or replace your property.
- Keep a daily journal where you jot down contact info and notes on conversations with insurance, repair, government, and other professionals.
- Focus on drying/cleaning out, avoiding further damage, while getting all damage inspected, measured, and estimated by qualified, reputable, and independent experts.
- Flood insurance policies have different rules than home insurance policies.
- Start working on a detailed and itemized “proof of loss” form but don’t rush and leave things out.
- Give your home and/or flood insurer a chance to do the right thing, but advocate for yourself and be prepared to get help if you’re not being treated fairly.
- Free government help is available through the Division of Consumers Services, FEMA and the National Flood Insurance Program. Florida also has an Office of Insurance Regulation, but consumer requests for assistance are handled by DFS. NOTE: DFS and the NFIP are under-staffed and overwhelmed, so get educated “speak UP” and do your best to resolve problems directly with your insurer before you contact them for help.
- Professional help with your individual claim is available through experienced, licensed public adjusters and attorneys and estimators that support and volunteer with United Policyholders.
- You may have damage that’s covered by both your homeowners and flood policies. Please visit our State-by-State library and select your state to find additional resources.
- If a home or flood insurance adjuster says damage isn’t covered, but you feel it should be, get an independent professional opinion before giving up on getting some or all of your claim paid.
- Speak “UP” (politely push for fair treatment) If you’re getting the runaround, TELL YOUR STORY!
Check your home and wind policies for special deductibles or coverages related to Hurricane damage. You’ll find lots of information in our library, tips, videos and tools. Every type of insurance policy contains a deadline for submitting your proof of your loss and claim. NFIP flood policies usually require a complete proof of loss to be submitted within 60 days of the storm.
If your home is damaged or destroyed, our guidance on insurance, clean up and professional claim, construction and legal services will help you get started on the road to recovery and make good decisions or repairing or rebuilding or replacing your home.
Taking it in and Getting Started
If you are evacuated and need assistance finding shelter, the American Red Cross may be able to help.
United Policyholders encourages all impacted households to click here and register with FEMA to get information and aid. Remember to register with FEMA, disaster survivors can apply for federal aid even if insured. Disaster assistance may be able to fill insurance gaps or provide help if you’ve been waiting more than 30 days on a homeowner’s claim.
If you have Flood insurance through the NFIP, you can ask for an advance of $20,000 when filing your flood insurance claim.
WATCH our orientation for Hurricane Ian-impacted Florida property owners on home and flood insurance and hurricane damage. UP staff and Florida-based experts cover the basics of home vs. flood insurance policies and the claim process, consumer rights and tips for avoiding and solving problems on the road to repairing, rebuilding and recovering after a catastrophic loss.Resources General
- Top 10 Insurance Claim Tips
- Avoiding Frauds and Scams After a Disaster
- Sample Letter Requesting Complete Copy of Homeowners Policy
- Speak UP: How to communicate with your insurance company
- Before and After a Flood
- Flood Recovery and Insurance- Getting Started
- Simplified Guide to Your Homeowners Policy
- Arranging Temporary Housing
Getting Organized, Informed and Empowered
- After a Hurricane - Property Damage FAQs
- Insurance Consumer Rights in Florida (2023)
- Flood Insurance Claim Basics
- Renters Insurance Claim Tips
- Mobile/Manufactured Home Insurance Claim Tips
- Mold Contamination Insurance Coverage 101: The Basics
- Speak UP: How to communicate with your insurance company
- Organizing Carrier-Specific Disaster Survivor Groups
- Insurance Accounting Spreadsheet
- Survivors Speak: Forced Choice Matrix for Decision-making
- Collecting insurance benefits for a hurricane-damaged car
- Belly UP: Navigating a claim when your insurer becomes “insolvent”
Getting Debris Removed
Being Proactive in Documenting and Valuing Your Losses
- Insurance Recovery Tips for the Dwelling Part of Your Claim
- Reimbursement for Claim Preparation Expenses
- The Scoop on “Scope” (of loss)
- Guidelines For Reviewing Adjusters’ And Contractors’ Estimates
- Survivors Speak: Estimating Your Loss
- Xactimate Demystified
- Building Code, Ordinance or Law Compliance
- Sample Letters and Claim Documents
- Sample Letter Requesting Re-inspection and Re-testing of a Partially-Damaged Home
- Homeowner's and Renter's Guide to Mold Cleanup After Disasters
- Creating Your Home Inventory and Navigating Your Contents Claim
- Making Housing and Financial Decisions
- Choosing a Contractor
Working with Your Mortgage Company
Your mortgage company cannot require you pay off your loan with your insurance proceeds, but they will typically be listed on the insurance payments along with you. Fannie Mae’s Disaster Response Network™ can help eligible homeowners navigate the broader financial impacts of disaster and the challenging recovery process with a team of HUD-approved housing counselors offering:
- A needs assessment and personalized recovery plan
- Help requesting financial relief from FEMA, insurance, mortgage servicers, and other sources
- Web resources and ongoing guidance from experienced disaster relief advisors
Homeowners can call 877-833-1746 to access the Disaster Response Network or other available resources.
Visit Fannie Mae’s KnowYourOptions.com consumer website for housing resources, including details on disaster relief. Homeowners can visit www.knowyouroptions.com/relief to learn more and find out if they have a Fannie Mae-owned mortgage and access to the full benefits of their Disaster Response Network.Resources General
- Getting help if/when you need it
Taking Care of Yourself Along the Way
Government Bulletins & Announcements
Updates can be found at the Florida Division of Emergency Management.Resources General