Hurricane Damage

Claim Type


One of nature's most destructive forces, a hurricane that reaches the shore can cause enormous damage to life and property, precipitating mudslides, flash floods, storm surges, and wind and fire damage.


Here's how a hurricane works: A tropical storm begins to brew over the ocean. As it makes contact with warm ocean waters — if the temperature of the water is above 26.5 degrees Celcius (80 Fahrenheit) — the storm's heat and energy intensify. Winds rotate counterclockwise around a calm center (the "eye"). When the sustained speed of the winds reaches 74 mi (119 km) per hour, the storm is officially classified as a hurricane. (The term applies to storms which occur over the N Atlantic Ocean, the NE Pacific Ocean east of the dateline, or the S Pacific Ocean. The same storm occurring over the NW Pacific Ocean west of the dateline is called a typhoon; one occurring over Australia and the Indian Ocean is a tropical cyclone, but the winds rotate clockwise.)

The weather bureaus declare a hurricane watch when a tropical storm intensifies, and it becomes likely that a hurricane will develop within 24-36 hours. A hurricane warning is issued when hurricane conditions are expected in 24 hours or less. The severity of a hurricane in terms of its intensity is measured by the Saffir-Simpson Scale, on a scale of 1-5, with 5 being the most severe. The hurricane is ranked by its wind speed. The scale helps to estimate the amount and type of damage expected from the storm.

  • Category 1. Minimal, 74-95 mph (119-153 km/hr): Some damage is expected, with most of it limited to shrubbery, unanchored houses and items. Some minor flooding will cause pier damage.
  • Category 2. Moderate, 96-110 mph (154-177 km/hr): Considerable damage can be expected to shrubbery and some trees may be blown down; there will be damage to mobile homes, signs, roofs, windows and doors. Small craft may be torn from moorings and marinas will probably flood. Some low-lying areas and shoreline residences should be evacuated.
  • Category 3. Extensive, 111-130 mph (178-209 km/hr): Large trees and most signs may be blown down; there may be structural damage to small buildings; mobile homes will be destroyed. Serious flooding will occur at the coast, with severe damage to shoreline structures and flooding up to eight miles (13 km) inland at elevations of five feet (1.5 m) or less.
  • Category 4. Extreme, 131-155 mph (210-250 km/hr): Expect trees, signs and traffic lights to be blown down, and extensive damage done to roofs, windows and doors. Mobile homes will be completely destroyed. Beaches will be eroded and there will be flooding as far as 6 miles (9.5 km) inland for anything under 10 feet (3 m) above sea level. Anyone staying within 500 yards (457 m) of shore will be evacuated, as will all single-story residences within 2 miles (4 km) of shore.
  • Category 5. Catastrophic, 156+ mph (251+ km/hr): Trees, signs, traffic lights will be blown down. There will be extensive damage to buildings and major damage to lower floors of structures less than 15 feet (4.5 m) above sea level within 500 yards (457 m) of shore. Massive evacuation of residential areas 5-10 miles (8-16 km) from shore will be required.

If you live in a hurricane-prone area, there are some things you can do to protect your property. Work with professionals to secure your home's roof, shutters, doors and garage doors. It is recommended to fasten metal straps or clips to connect the roof to the walls of the building. If your roof has trusses, make sure they are tied to the wall by either anchoring them to the top plate and then the top plate to the wall stud, or strapping the trusses directly to the wall stud.

It is wise to purchase flood insurance. There is a National Flood Insurance Program in which some 20,000 US communities participate. They adopt and execute floodplain management laws to reduce future flood damage in exchange for federally-backed flood insurance.

Prepare a family evacuation plan and a disaster supply kit. A room should be chosen as the "safe room" in your home. There may also be a safe place elsewhere in the neighborhood or community if your home doesn't have a room that you feel is safe enough. Post emergency phone numbers and an address where everyone knows to go — including an out-of-state location — in case of emergency.

The disaster supply kit should have:
  • water and nonperishable food for 3-7 days
  • blankets and pillows
  • clothing (including rain gear and shoes)
  • first aid kit with prescription drugs and medicines
  • toiletries and wipes
  • flashlights and batteries
  • a battery-operated radio and batteries and a NOAA weather radio
  • a water-tight container with copies of important documents, including social security cards, insurance forms, medical and bank account records, and credit cards and cash
  • keys
  • tools
  • books, games and toys
  • items for babies and the elderly
  • pet care supplies

Once a hurricane warning has been issued, secure your home or boat and consider evacuating the area. Of course, if evacuation orders are issued, obey them!

The US Army Air Corp and Navy meteorologists started to give women's names to storms over the Pacific during WWII; in 1953, the US Weather Bureau adopted the idea. It was only in 1979 that men's names were also included in the list. took a leading role in the never ending battle of "deficient" scope and pricing practices by many property-casualty insurance companies during these windstorm, hurricane and tornado events.

When hurricanes make landfall, the insurance companies take a beating on natural disasters that occurred one after another in the Florida Peninsula and Gulf Coastal areas.  Tornados take their toll in mid-country.  To meet the needs of their policy holders and to settle claims fast, these companies had to engage the services of out-of-town contract adjusters, even if they had very little, and in some cases, no experience adjusting losses.

These adjusters, for the most part, bill on a per file basis.  The more losses they see, the more they get paid.  So, the object is to get in and get out as fast as possible.

What happens? We have discovered that 90% of the losses are evaluated at less than their fair value.  Of these, 50% come in at 22% less; 25% come in at 35% less; and 15% are in excess of 50% less than their fair value.

The company's adjuster will supply the insured with a detailed computerized breakdown of their loss.  The report appears to be very detailed and complete.  But this report, although comprehensive, if analyzed closely, can reveal many inconsistencies, mistakes, and missing items.

It can also reveal that the pricing is incorrect.  Not only by the adjuster but by whomever supplied them with cost data for their computer system.

If you don't know how to interpret the details of the report given to you by the adjuster, you may be settling your claim for an amount somewhat less than it's true value.

So, What Do We Look for?
Room Sizes
  • Are they correct?   You will be surprised by the amount of times an adjuster can measure a room that is off by as much as a foot or more in any one direction.  Many of the quantities of materials used in the estimate are automatically calculated based on the room's size.  If the size is off, those quantities are incorrect, and it filters through the entire estimate, which affects the bottom line cost figure.  The impact on the settlement could be significant if several rooms are incorrectly measured.
Incomplete Scope
  • Many times when the insurance company adjuster's crushing caseload is overwhelming, they want to get in and out as soon as possible.  The speed at which they do an estimate usually causes them to unintentionally miss many items.  The miss rate could be as high as 60% of the damage.
Hidden Damage
  • This could cause you problems, even after you settle the loss.  An adjuster usually misses this more than 75% of the time.
Incorrect Materials
  • The company adjuster and some times their experts make incorrect assumptions as to the type of materials and their prices used in situations where there is some unique types of construction.
Any combination of the above deficiencies could have a significant impact on your property loss settlement.
So fill out the claim form on this site for a free analysis of your claim or call us at the number below.  There is no obligation on your part to get a professional opinion.

Call for a consultation to explore all your options in dealing with your hurricane damage claim. 1-800-303-2591