Life and politics from the Sunshine State's best city

Jeff Atwater offers insurance advice as hurricane season opens

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Hurricane season begins Thursday. Are you covered? Are you sure?

Better take a look at your policy, Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater advised Tuesday.

“For a better chance of a complication-free claims process, Floridians should carefully review all insurance policies to ensure that proper coverage is in place for their home, car, and belongings,” Atwater’s office said in a press release.

“Common reasons for complications include a lack of adequate insurance coverage and insufficient documentation or proof of damage,” the release says.

Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier seconded the motion.

“Florida’s unique risk to tropical weather, especially during the hurricane season, means all Floridians need a disaster plan,” Altmaier said. “The time to evaluate your insurance coverage, fortify your home and prepare for how to protect yourself and your family is now.”

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts a livelier-than-usual season through Nov. 30, with as many as 17 named tropical storms or hurricanes in the Atlantic basin.

Atwater suggested Floridians write down the state’s toll-free insurance helpline number — 1-877-693-5236. It’ll put them in touch with experts who can help file insurance claims and solve problems during the claims-filing process.

“Getting back on your feet following a storm can be a stressful state of affairs, but I hope that having free and ready access to insurance expertise can help the recovery process run more efficiently for Florida families,” Atwater said.

“All Floridians should keep the helpline phone number on their emergency contact list and inside their family’s hurricane kit.”

Helpline experts helped policyholders recover $8 million during the first quarter of this year, including insurance claim payments that’d been denied or underpaid, and premium refunds. They answered 70,634 calls and opened nearly 5,000 assistance requests during those three months.

Atwater’s Department of Financial Services operates a webpage containing disaster guides and preparedness toolkits, here.

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