Wednesday, January 16, 2019
Legally Speaking

Homeowner Preparedness During Storm Season

Every year on June 1, we enter a new storm season here in South Florida. This means that if you haven’t already, you should actively prepare your family and home for the worst, as a hurricane can make landfall here at any time. As a homeowner living in the area, you are probably well versed in the issues that arise with homeowners insurance in the case of an incident such as a bad storm or flooding. With rising sea levels and flash flooding a possibility at any time, it’s vitally important to the preservation of your home to be prepared for a storm of any kind, but to also understand how your homeowners insurance policy may or may not protect you and your belongings.

Preparing Your Family for the Storm

It’s always a good plan to have all of your personal supplies ready to go as hurricane season begins. Even with all the modern technology we have, Mother Nature can be unpredictable and a hurricane can change course at any time. Make sure that you and your family are ready for storm season by having enough fresh water, batteries, canned food, and flashlights for a few days following a storm. Also make sure that as a storm approaches, you have enough gas in your car and that all of your necessary electronics are fully charged.  Review your emergency plan with friends and family so that everyone is comfortable with their role if communication is difficult after a storm. The safety of your family is the most important thing to consider during storm season.

Homeowners Insurance Preparation

In addition to preparing your family for a storm, you also need to make sure that your home is protected in the event of not only a hurricane, but also for severe storms that may cause flooding and other damage. One of the ways that you can prepare your home is by ensuring that your homeowners insurance is up-to-date.

Don’t wait until a storm threatens your home to think about your insurance coverage. Act now. Once a threatening storm forms in the Atlantic, insurance carriers can stop selling or updated policies at any time. Here are some steps you can take to make sure you are getting the most from your homeowners insurance policy.

  • Review your policy regularly and make sure you know what’s covered.
  • Be sure to understand required reporting and response times and other requirements after the damage has occurred.
  • Take photos and video of your property before the storm and after any damage.
  • Make an inventory of your personal belonging, preferably with photographs, for documentation in the event of a loss.
  • Save photos, video, personal belonging inventory, and important documents in the cloud if you have access to online file storage.
  • Secure important documents as well as the photos and videos in waterproof containers.
  • In the event of property damage or a loss, speak with an attorney before speaking with your insurance company.

Our property damage claim attorneys represent residential and commercial property owners in all types of insurance claims, including those from storm damage. It is important to know that you can trust your insurance carrier to provide you the coverage you have been paying for. Unfortunately, most insurance companies will not simply pay fair value on a claim, especially if it is a significant, high-dollar property damage claim. In many cases, property owners need to take legal action to recover their losses and ensure that their insurance carriers comply with the terms of the insurance contract.

Storm preparation is not something to take lightly. As we enter another hurricane season, please take a moment to ensure that both your family and your home are protected in the event of a storm. Review your supplies and your homeowners insurance policy to make sure that you are fully prepared and protected.

Mitchell J. Panter is Board Certified as a Civil Trial Lawyer by the Florida Bar and National Board of Trial Advocacy, primarily practicing in the areas of Personal Injury, Wrongful Death, Product Liability, Sexual Assault, Food Contamination and Premises Liability Cases. You can reach Mitchell at or 305 662-6178. You can also visit the office at 6950 N Kendall Dr., Miami, FL 33156.

Mitchell Panter
the authorMitchell Panter