MEDIA ADVISORY: Insurers Ready to Help Floridians as Hurricane Irma Looms in Tropics
Tallahassee, Fla. – As Hurricane Irma looms in the tropics, the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI) urges Floridians to prepare now for severe weather.
“With Hurricane Irma looming in the tropics, PCI urges Floridians to get prepared now,” said Logan McFaddin, PCI’s regional manager in Florida. “Irma has the potential to bring flooding and property damage not only to our coastal areas, but inland. Sadly, Hurricane Harvey shows us the scope of devastation that flood waters can bring.”
“PCI encourages Floridians to take proper precautionary measures, including having your agent or insurance company’s information readily available,” continued McFaddin. “We also highly recommend taking an inventory of your home or business, documenting items with a smart phone. In the event that your home, business, or vehicle is damaged, call your insurer immediately to report a claim.”
“Equally as important as being prepared, Floridians should beware of contractors that may come by a home or business looking to provide immediate services before you’ve even notified your insurer,” said McFaddin. “While it may seem like these contractors are trying to be helpful during a trying time, we’ve seen time and time again that there are unscrupulous third-parties looking to prey on those in need.”
“In fact, Florida recently has been plagued by assignment of benefit (AOB) abuse,” continued McFaddin. “Some roofing contractors and attorneys team up to get policyholders to sign an AOB after damage occurs. This allows the vendor to take control of the policyholder's rights, file a claim, and potentially sue the insurer. Often the homeowner is unaware of what is transpiring. The unnecessary lawsuit can result in a homeowner’s insurance rates increasing—or loosing coverage all together.”
“And, it’s not just homeowners who are being targeted—there are some bad players in auto glass repair, too,” said McFaddin. “These vendors already are infiltrating communities. Many Florida neighborhoods are barraged with marketing fliers at doors, repair trucks down the street, and billboards at busy intersections. Unfortunately, there will be many more should Irma bring extensive damage to Florida.
PCI Hurricane Precautions:
- Review your property insurance policy, especially the “declarations” page, and check whether your policy pays replacement costs, or actual cash value for a covered loss.
- Flood damage is not covered by a standard homeowners policy, and there is a 30-day waiting period before flood coverage goes into effect.
- Inventory your household items, and photograph or videotape them for further documentation. Keep this information and your insurance policies in a safe place.
- Keep the name, address and claims-reporting telephone number of your insurer and agent in a safe and easily accessible place.
- Protect your property by covering all windows with plywood or shutters, moving vehicles into the garage when possible and placing grills and patio furniture indoors.
- Keep all receipts for any repairs so your insurance company can reimburse you.
- Check with your insurance adjuster for referrals to professional restoration, cleaning and salvage companies if additional assistance is needed.
- Make sure watercraft are stored in a secure area, like a garage or covered boat dock. A typical homeowners policy will cover property damage in limited instances for small watercraft, and separate boat policies will provide broader, more extensive property and liability protection for larger, faster boats, yachts, jet skis and wave runners.
For information on storm readiness, please refer to: