“The 2017 Hurricane Season impacted virtually every county in Florida, with Hurricane Irma resulting in more than $8.6 billion in insured losses,” said CFO Jimmy Patronis. “From property damage ranging from wind to flood, my office fielded more than 9,300 calls and received about 2,500 complaints stemming from the nearly 1 million insurance claims filed from Hurricane Irma alone. We recovered millions for Floridians, but found the majority of the complaints stemmed from a few common misunderstandings.”
MYTH 1: I already have homeowner’s insurance, so everything on my property is covered and I’m financially prepared for the storm season.
FACT: All homeowner’s insurance policies contain limitations and exclusions. Also, you may need a separate policy for windstorm or flood if these coverages are not included in your homeowner’s policy. It is important to review your policy to understand your coverages and exclusions.
MYTH 2: When an insurance company denies a claim, or provides an inadequate claim payment, I must pay out-of-pocket to cover any additional expenses from damages that occurred to my property.
FACT: You should always get a second opinion to verify the cause of loss and/or the cost to repair or replace the damage.
MYTH 3: When contractors offer to waive my insurance deductible to provide repairs at a discounted rate, this is simply a kind gesture.
FACT: Waiving the deductible or providing a discounted rate directly to you is a form of insurance fraud.
MYTH 4: An Assignment of Benefits (AOB) agreement is the only way to get immediate assistance for Floridians who have damage to their property.
FACT: You do not need to sign an Assignment of Benefits to get your residence repaired, even for emergency repairs. You should make first contact with your insurance company by immediately reporting the claim.
MYTH 5: Insurance companies can take as long as they want to respond to an insurance claim filed by Floridians.
FACT: Typically, insurance companies must acknowledge your insurance claim within 14 days from the date the claim was reported and they must pay undisputed amounts of your claim within 90 days from the date of damage.
MYTH 6: If my neighbor’s property is blown into my yard and damages my own property, my neighbor’s insurance will cover the cost of damage.
FACT: The damage to your property is covered by your own homeowner’s insurance policy, unless, you can prove your neighbor was negligent then the damage would be covered under their homeowner’s policy.
MYTH 7: My insurance agent is the only person I need to contact when filing an insurance claim.
FACT: While you may call your agent, you should immediately report the claim to your insurance company. Most insurance companies have a toll-free claim number to report your claim.
Consumers who have questions about their insurance coverage and how to financially prepare for the upcoming hurricane season are encouraged to call CFO Patronis’ Helpline at 1-877-693-5236 or visit myfloridacfo.com/Division/Consumers. The Helpline also provides consumers with a place to obtain contact information for their insurance company, verify the license of an insurance agent or adjuster and much more.