It is hard to believe that we are soon approaching the two-year mark for Hurricane Irma which made landfall on September 10, 2017.
Florida Statute 627.70132, governs notice of hurricane and windstorm claims. It limits the length of time a policyholder has to file a windstorm claim or hurricane claim, and states:
Notice of windstorm or hurricane claim.—A claim, supplemental claim, or reopened claim under an insurance policy that provides property insurance, as defined in s. 624.604, for loss or damage caused by the peril of windstorm or hurricane is barred unless notice of the claim, supplemental claim, or reopened claim was given to the insurer in accordance with the terms of the policy within 3 years after the hurricane first made landfall or the windstorm caused the covered damage. For purposes of this section, the term “supplemental claim” or “reopened claim” means any additional claim for recovery from the insurer for losses from the same hurricane or windstorm which the insurer has previously adjusted pursuant to the initial claim. This section does not affect any applicable limitation on civil actions provided in s. 95.11 for claims, supplemental claims, or reopened claims timely filed under this section.
Under this statute, notice of the claim, supplemental claim, or reopened claim must be given to the insurance company in accordance with the terms of the policy within three years after the hurricane first made landfall or the windstorm caused the covered damage. For Hurricane Irma, this means Florida policyholders must provide notice of their Hurricane Irma claim by September 10, 2020.
This means that as of this September 10, 2019, policyholders will only have one more year to report their Hurricane Irma claim, supplemental claim, or re-opened claim.
A policyholder must be mindful of what his or her particular policy states with regard to notice of the loss. Some policies require “prompt” or “reasonable” notice but some may require that the notice be “immediate.”
If your property sustained damages from Hurricane Irma or any hurricane or windstorm, it is best to provide notice as soon as possible.
Please note that the above statute is not to be confused with the Statute of Limitations. In Florida, the statute of limitations for breach of a property insurance contract is five years from the date of loss. See Fla. Stat. 95.11(2)(e).