The recent hurricane caused billions of dollars in damage and left countless without homes. Following events like this, insurance claims become incredibly important, and mitigating damages can be crucial to each claim.
Those with applicable insurance may feel more at ease knowing they are covered. However, insurers require more than just policy payments from their insured. Within your insurance policy, your insurer requires you to mitigate damages in events, such as the recent hurricane.
Getting Ready to File a Hurricane Harvey Insurance Claim?
Call (877) 892-2797, Text (281) 612-8024 or Email Our Firm
for Your FREE Consultation
During your FREE case evaluation, we will provide you with essential answers and advice regarding your claim and how to proceed. Free virtual and mobile consultations are available for anyone who cannot visit our offices.
What Does ‘Mitigating Damages’ Mean?
Mitigating damages is a general term that can apply across a broad range of circumstances. In the event of a hurricane, mitigating damages means taking action to avoid or reduce damages caused by the event.
By law, a person is required to take advantage of any reasonable opportunity they may have under the circumstances to reduce or minimize the loss or damage sustained. In fact, many insurance policies include language stating that:
- The policyholder understands and accepts an obligation to mitigate or prevent harm to their property when threatened by a covered loss. Such losses may include flooding, depending on the policy.
- The insurer will (or will not) reimburse temporary repairs or mitigation efforts to items covered by the policy, such as the home. Even if the policy is silent on this issue, many courts have found that insureds are still entitled to reimbursement because the intent was to lessen the amount that must be paid from the policy.
Ultimately, mitigating damages may significantly impact insurance claims while potentially making the recovery process easier.
How Can I Mitigate Damages?
The ways to mitigate damages will depend entirely upon the circumstances. In the aftermath of a hurricane, some options for mitigating damages can include (and are not limited to):
- Using tarps or plastic sheeting to cover windows and stop other water leaks
- Moving furniture above the floor level to prevent water or flood damage
- Removing items that are completely ruined in order to prevent the spread of mold
- Making repairs that are absolutely necessary to preventing additional damage.
These and other actions can be effectively ways for homeowners to prevent further damage that the insurer may have otherwise been required to cover.
Mitigating Damages: How to Document Your Efforts
Documenting your efforts is central to being able to show your insurer that you took reasonable action to avoid as much damage as possible. Your documentation and evidence related to mitigating damages can be determinative of the amount your insurer will pay under the policy.
Typically, the more information you have regarding your efforts to mitigate your damages, the easier it will be to work with your insurer in the beginning of the rebuilding process.
Some helpful ways to document your efforts include:
- Maintaining copies of receipts for any items you purchased in order to help mitigate damages – This can include receipts for tarps, new windows or other items necessary to preventing further damage to the home and/or its contents.
- Taking pictures of the damage and the action(s) taken to prevent further damage – This can include pictures of removed items, alterations made to prevent further wind or water damage, etc.
- Keeping samples of any items that have been discarded – For instance, if you removed and threw out water-damaged carpet or furniture to prevent the spread of mold, keep a sample of these items to show insurers. These samples can verify that you took the proper steps to mitigate additional damage.
As many start to pick up the pieces in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, the rebuilding process is sure to take years – and billions of dollars. Although mitigating expenses can be a daunting task in the midst of such a terrible event, it is essential to your claim and recovery.
Get Important Help with Your Hurricane Harvey Claim: Contact an Insurance Lawyer at the Amaro Law Firm
An insurance lawyer at the Amaro Law Firm is ready to help you recover from the devastation of Hurricane Harvey.
Call (877) 892-2797, text (281) 612-8024 or email our firm for your FREE Consultation.
With previous experience in insurance defense, we know how the insurance business works – and what insurers may do to delay, reduce or deny valid claims. We also know how to effectively combat these tactics to help our clients successfully navigate the claims process and secure the full recovery they deserve.
The Amaro Law Firm’s record of exceptional representation and success in storm and hurricane damage claims has earned us glowing testimonials from former clients, as well as 5-star ratings on Google and Facebook.