AccuWeather has published its 2020 forecast, which predicts that the 2020 season will produce 14 to 18 tropical storms, seven to nine hurricanes, and two to four major hurricanes. The prediction suggests that 2020 will be an above-normal hurricane season, as a normal year produces six hurricanes and roughly three major hurricanes.
The Atlantic hurricane season typically lasts from June 1 to November 30. Just last year produced devastating storms like Hurricane Dorian, which destroyed parts of the Bahamas, and Tropical Storm Imelda, which caused flooding damage in Houston. 18 storms caused more than $11 billion in damage, making 2019 the fourth most active hurricane season on record, tied with 1969.
Hurricane experts are now urging residents in affected areas to begin making their plans. Water temperatures in the Caribbean have already hit 80 degrees Fahrenheit as of late March, and warm water typically drives hurricane seasons.
What Are the Hurricane Categories?
The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale is used to give a rating between 1 and 5 to hurricanes based on their sustained wind speeds. This scale is typically used to estimate potential property damage. Hurricanes need to reach a category of 3 or higher to be classified as “major.”
Category 1: These hurricanes produce dangerous winds that can cause damage to roofs and shingles, and power outages are possible if power lines and poles are damaged.
Category 2: These winds can cause major roof and siding damage, and many trees will be snapped or uprooted, posing dangers for pedestrians and roadways. Power loss is to be expected.
Category 3 (major): Devastating property damage will occur, including roof and structure damage, and many trees will snap or be uprooted. Electricity and water may be unavailable for days and sometimes weeks.
Category 4 (major): These winds can reach up to 156 mph and cause catastrophic damage to homes and buildings, and power outages will last weeks to months.
Category 5 (major): Winds in Category 5 hurricanes can reach higher than 157 mph and will destroy a high percentage of framed homes through roof failure and wall collapse. Most of the affected areas will be uninhabitable for weeks and sometimes months. Hurricane Katrina, which reached wind speeds up to 175 mph and caused 80% of New Orleans to sink underwater, was a Category 5 hurricane.
What to Do If Your Home is Damaged or Destroyed
Even the most prepared people can’t control the amount of damage that a hurricane can inflict on their homes. If your home or business is damaged in a hurricane, there are necessary steps you must take to make sure your insurance claim can be handled quickly and efficiently.
- Preserve your damaged property: Insurance companies will search for opportunities to hold you partly responsible for damages to avoid paying you. They could claim that your property became more damaged after the hurricane to blame you – it’s best practice to cover your damaged property to avoid it becoming further damaged.
- Document all damage: You need all the evidence you can get to back up your claim. Take photos that include your entire home or business in each shot, and make sure to take photos of your yard. In addition to the photos, you may also want to keep an inventory of your damaged property, which you can use when filing a claim.
- File your claim promptly: Some insurance companies require individuals to file claims quickly after a storm. By having your photos and written documents on hand, you’ll be able to file your claim quickly.
Why You Need an Insurance Attorney
While you’d think you’d be able to fully trust your insurance company to honor your policy agreement after an accident or disaster, the reality is that many companies abandon their clients to avoid having to pay them. When this happens, you need the experience and trained eye of an insurance attorney who can hold insurance companies responsible. Filing a claim on your own can be complicated and overwhelming, especially because of all the paperwork filled with legal jargon and the various deadlines you need to be aware of. An attorney can do the heavy lifting for you and educate you on your options so you don’t make mistakes that can impact what you’re able to recover.
Have a dispute with your insurance company? Our insurance attorney can take over the complex legal paperwork and deadlines so you don’t have to. Call Diamond Law, P.A. today at (888) 591-0233, or contact us online if you need to recover the compensation that is rightfully yours.