As Hurricane Irma continues to impact Florida, residents affected by the storm will soon begin the process of surveying damages to their property and belongings. Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis and Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier have the following tips to help consumers as they begin the process of filing insurance claims on damaged property and belongings:
Tip 1: Locate all applicable insurance policies. This may include a homeowners’ policy, flood policy (flood coverage is not covered under a typical homeowners’ policy and is separate coverage) and an automobile policy (may cover damage to your car from flooding).
Tip 2: Document all damaged property and belongings. Take photos or shoot video footage before attempting any temporary repairs. When you file an insurance claim, you may be asked for visual documentation of damages. A photographic home inventory is a handy resource for this situation. A free smartphone app developed by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners called “MyHome Scr.APP.book” can help you take and store a room-by-room log of photos.
Tip 3: Contact your insurance company or insurance agent as soon as possible to report damages. Insurance policies require prompt reporting of claims, so it is important to act as soon as possible. If you need help finding your property insurance company’s website and contact information, click here. For a list of licensed insurance agents in Florida, click here.
Tip 4: Cover damaged areas that may be exposed to the elements in order to prevent further damage. Your insurance company may reimburse the expense of these temporary repairs, so keep all receipts. Remove water-logged and otherwise damaged items from your house to prevent the spread of mold, but document them and do not dispose of any damaged property until your insurance company adjuster has had an opportunity to survey it.
CFO Patronis’ toll-free Insurance Consumer Helpline (1-877-693-5236) can answer business and consumer-oriented insurance-related questions. CFO Patronis has launched a Hurricane Irma Insurance Resources webpage to provide comprehensive insurance information. Access the webpage by clicking on the “Hurricane Irma” button on www.myfloridacfo.com
The Office of Insurance Regulation also has additional storm-related materials online. To visit their website, click here.