As Hurricane Irma continues to strengthen, Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis is urging Floridians to prepare now for possible Florida impact. Residents should take steps immediately to ensure their family is prepared to possibly weather this major category 5 storm, the most intense on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.
CFO Patronis said, “Hurricane Irma is a major and dangerous storm, and Floridians must take steps now to make sure their families are prepared. There’s no reason to wait, and families have everything to gain by taking a proactive approach. Consumers should stock up on necessary supplies, and families should discuss their disaster and evacuation plans well ahead of the storm’s landfall.”
CFO Patronis also reminds Floridians that hurricane preparedness extends beyond bottled water and batteries, and is strongly encouraging all consumers to include copies of their insurance policies and cards, insurance company contact information and financial account(s) records inside their family disaster kit.
Homeowners should take these specific steps to protect their homes and property:
- Inventory your high-dollar household items, including receipts, purchase dates, and serial numbers. Photograph or videotape your possessions. Keep copies of this information with your insurance policies and cards in a safe place. Store the originals in a safe deposit box, if possible.
- Print insurance policies and take note of hurricane deductibles. Most policies have a hurricane deductible equivalent to 2 to 5 percent of a home’s insured value. If your property is damaged, you will be responsible for a portion of the repair costs.
- Write down the name, address, and claims-reporting telephone number of your insurance company, which may differ from your agent’s contact information. Keep this information in a safe place and make sure you have access to it if you must evacuate.
- Shore up your structure. Buy materials that can secure your property and minimize your losses. Cover your windows with shutters, siding, or plywood. Move vehicles into a garage or carport. Grills and patio furniture should be taken inside.
To keep all insurance and banking information in one, easily-accessible place, consumers can download a copy of the Department’s free Emergency Financial Preparedness Toolkit. The Toolkit serves as a one-stop shop for all finance, emergency and insurance contact information. Download and complete the toolkit today.
Following the storm, if consumers sustain damage to their home or property, the Department’s toll-free Insurance Consumer Helpline staff can walk Floridians through the post-storm insurance claims filing process. The Helpline number is 1-877-693-5236.