Florida insurers offer guidance for Hurricane Irma recovery

Tallahassee, Fla. – As Hurricane Irma makes its way out of Florida leaving devastation in its path, the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI) offers recovery advice to Floridians in assessing the damage to their properties and contacting their insurers. PCI also encourages caution when hiring contractors for repair work.

“As the effects of Hurricane Irma continue to plague Florida, PCI encourages Floridians to safely and thoroughly assess their home, business and auto damage,” said Logan McFaddin, PCI Florida regional manager.  “Once you’ve had a moment to assess your property damage, immediately reach out to your insurer to file a claim.”

PCI’s Storm Recovery Tips:

  • Secure property from further damage or theft.
  • Contact your insurance agent or company representative as soon as possible to report damage.
  • Inventory losses and photograph damage to provide to your insurance adjuster. Save receipts for any temporary repairs you make.
  • If you are a business owner, keep detailed records of business activity that is negatively affected due to the tornado or storm, and keep a list of extra expenses during the interruption. Prepare records to show the income from the business before and after the loss.
  • Many standard homeowners and renters policies provide reimbursement of additional living expenses when the property is determined to be uninhabitable due to damage. This provision helps with paying for increases to necessary living expenses such as temporary housing and restaurant meals. In addition, extra expenses, such as overnight parking and laundry services may also be covered. Additional living expense coverage does not pay for all living expenses, so contact your insurance company or agent for a list of what your policy will cover.
  • Be careful about unscrupulous contractors following a natural disaster. Contact your insurer, agent or local business bureau for references on potential contractors and ask for certificates of liability and workers compensation before signing contracts.

“Beware of any contractors who may come by your home or business, or even leave notes on your automobile, saying they can provide assistance without first having approval from your insurance company,” said McFaddin. “It’s unfortunate, but there have been several reports of people taking advantage of others during storm recovery. To avoid this fraud and abuse, Floridians should contact their insurer and file a claim before any work is performed.”

“In terms of flood damage, PCI warns Floridans that the standard homeowners policy does not cover flood damage,” said McFaddin. “Please check with your insurer to see if you have flood insurance.”

PCI Flooding Tips Precautions:

  • Review your property insurance policy, especially the “declarations” page, and check whether your policy pays replacement costs, or actual cash value for a covered loss.
  • Inventory your household items, and photograph or videotape them for further documentation. Keep this information and your insurance policies in a safe place.
  • Keep the name, address, and claims-reporting telephone number of your insurer and agent in a safe and easily accessible place.
  • Protect your property by covering all windows with plywood or shutters, moving vehicles into the garage when possible and placing grills and patio furniture indoors.
  • Keep all receipts for any repairs, so your insurance company can reimburse you.
  • Check with your insurance adjuster for referrals to professional restoration, cleaning and salvage companies if additional assistance is needed.
  • Make sure watercraft are stored in a secure area, like a garage or covered boat dock. A typical homeowner’s policy will cover property damage in limited instances for small watercraft, and separate boat policies will provide broader, more extensive property and liability protection for larger, faster boat, yachts, jet skis and wave runners.

For information on storm recovery, please refer to: Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis has set up a toll-free Insurance Consumer Helpline (1-877-693-5236), where business and consumer-oriented insurance-related questions can be answered. CFO Patronis has also launched a Hurricane Irma Insurance Resources webpage (www.myfloridacfo.com) to provide comprehensive insurance information.

The Office of Insurance Regulation also has additional storm-related materials online (www.floir.com/Office/HurricaneSeason/hurricaneresourcepage.aspx).

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