Insurers are offering recovery advice to Floridians in the wake of Hurricane Irma, now a tropical storm continuing to batter north Florida and southern Georgia with wind and rain.
“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, Florida regional manager of Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI). “Once you’ve had a moment to assess your property damage, immediately reach out to your insurer to file a claim.”
The association offers this list of 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,” McFaddin said.
“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 “the standard homeowners policy does not cover flood damage … Please check with your insurer to see if you have flood insurance.”