Florida residents affected by Hurricane Wilma have until October 24 to file claims related to the storm. Hurricane Wilma was the fourth Category 5 hurricane of the 2005 season. What Katrina started that year, Wilma finished off. In Florida, more than 1 million insurance claims resulted in insurance payouts of over $9 billion. Total damage from Wilma was estimated at $29.1 billion.
October 24 marks the fifth anniversary of the end of the storm. By statute, insurance claims from wind storms must be filed within five years of the end of the storm. (Insurance companies sponsored a bill this year to lower the statute of limitation to three years. Though it passed both houses of hte legislature, the governor vetoed it.)
If you have an insurance claim related to the hurricane, please keep the following in mind:
- File new claims by October 24. Some homeowners have reported that adjusters and insurance companies told them in error that their claims didn’t meet their deductibles. It is not too late to file the claim. Be prepared, though: Because policyholders usually have a contractual obligation to report claims in a timely manner, insurers may look more closely at claims filed so long after the fact.
- Appeal denied claims within five years of the date the claim was denied.
- Re-open claims within five years of the initial decision when the original payout did not cover the cost of repairs.
Some insurance companies have shut their doors since 2005. Policyholders who filed a claim with a company that is no longer in business have two years from the day the company closed to act. They may either settle a claim with the defunct company or file suit with the Florida Insurance Guaranty Association (FIGA). FIGA has told policyholders that the deadline is October 24.
Policyholders should keep in mind that processing claims for damage that occurred five years ago will likely take some time. Most industry experts recommend consulting an attorney with questions about coverage, filing, appeals and dealing with FIGA.
Resource: Sun Sentinel “Deadline for Hurricane Wilma Claims Is Oct. 24” 9/30/10Share