In advance of Hurricane Irma’s impact to Florida, CFO Jimmy Patronis and Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier are advising the state’s more than 20 million residents to take actions now and get prepared.
“I know that Floridians have worked hard for their homes, but nothing is more important than protecting your life, so I ask all Floridians to please heed evacuation orders in their area and head to safer ground today,” said CFO Patronis. “We will help homeowners navigate through their insurance issues after Hurricane Irma has passed, and we will do everything possible to protect Florida’s policyholders.”
“Hurricane Irma is a dangerous storm and everyone in Florida should be taking it seriously. This includes monitoring weather advisories and making preparations to protect their families and homes for its pending landfall in our state,” stated Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier.
Numerous hurricane preparedness resources are available on both the Department of Financial Service’s (DFS) “Hurricane Irma” webpage and on the Office of Insurance Regulation’s (Office) “Hurricane Season Resources” webpage.
These include tips such as:
- Know the phone number and contact information for your insurance agent and insurance company. Make sure to have easy access to this information and your insurance policy if you must evacuate your home.
- Review your insurance policy and make sure you understand what may or may not be covered under your policy. Typically, flood insurance is not covered under a homeowners policy. In addition, some policies may cover expenses related to a mandatory evacuation, so it will be important to save all receipts.
- Strengthen your home’s defenses against a storm through simple mitigation techniques, such as covering windows and outside doors with storm shutters or plywood, replacing worn weather stripping under doors, and removing tree limbs that may fall on your home or become flying projectiles.
- Inventory your valuables and possessions using a home inventory checklist, which is available as a form you can download and print here. If you prefer to use a smartphone, there is a link to a free app created by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, which allows you to take pictures and add descriptions of your belongings.
- Most importantly, have a plan for you and your family if evacuation becomes necessary and know where the designated evacuation routes are in your community. Do not wait to evacuate if it becomes necessary.
- Following the storm, document all damaged property and belongings (take photos or shoot video of any damage before attempting temporary repairs), contact your insurance company or agent as soon as possible to report damages, and be wary of signing any documents for repairs that will give away your rights as an insured to a third-party vendor without understanding who will be responsible for paying the vendor, you as the consumer, or the insurance company. For more information about how an assignment of benefits (AOB) for repairs works, visit the DFS “AOB” or Office “AOB Resources” webpages.
Consumers who have questions about their insurance coverage are encouraged to call CFO Patronis’ Insurance Consumer Helpline at 1-877-693-5236. This helpline can also help consumers to gain contact information for their insurance company, and can also help to verify the license of an insurance agent or adjuster.