Insurance Checklist for Individuals in the Event of Hurricane Losses in Florida
1. Identify and review your insurance policies: Depending on your situation, you may have insurance coverage provided through a homeowners policy or renters insurance. Coverage may also be available under an auto policy, from your mortgage lender, or even through credit card agreements. If you don’t have copies of all potentially relevant policies, request them from your insurance agent.
2. Report your loss promptly: Call your insurance company as soon as possible to report the loss. Inform them of any immediate actions that must be taken, and remember that some carriers may require damages to be assessed before permanent repairs are made.
3. Make temporary repairs: It is your responsibility to take action to prevent further damage, once it is safe to do so. After photographing and documenting structural damage to your property, work to dry out your home by opening doors and windows, and cover holes in the roof or broken windows. Be sure to keep receipts, including both those for preventative measures before the hurricane and those for post-hurricane repairs.
4. Document the damage to your property: Make a list of items that are either missing, destroyed or damaged, and photograph as much as you can. Include as much information (such as receipts, bills and photographs) as possible to establish the age of everything that needs to be replaced or repaired. Don’t throw out damaged furniture or other expensive items. Be sure to get a detailed estimate for all permanent repairs. Err on the side of inclusion.
5. Keep thorough and detailed records: Keep all receipts for all hurricane-related expenses, hold on to all documentation from your carrier, and keep a log of all correspondence with your insurer.
6. Proceed cautiously in dealings with your insurers: Review carefully any offers made by your insurance companies. Be sure to understand what is being included in your claim and how it is being valued. If you are not sure an offer is fair, or if you feel you have been unfairly denied coverage, do not agree to or sign anything with your insurer at this time. Exercise judgment and research all of your options to be sure you are covered as fully as possible. When in doubt, seek legal assistance.
7. Be aware of agencies and services that can help: Refer to the following lists of telephone numbers and websites for information on public and private organizations that may be able to assist with hurricane-related issues.
Standard Homeowners or Renters Insurance Coverage
Types of Perils Likely Covered:
- Wind-driven water
- Loss of Utilities
Types of Losses Likely Covered:
- Cost of preventative actions taken (e.g. boarding up windows)
- Cost of temporary or emergency repairs
- Cost of approved temporary lodging
- Value of various personal property (subject to some limitations)
- Value of refrigerator contents
- Cost of authorized permanent repairs
- Cost of damaged tree removal
Perils and Losses Likely Not Covered or Only Limited Coverage Available:
- Damage due to flood water
- Unauthorized permanent repairs
- Travel costs
- Ordinary living expenses
Sources of Additional Information:
The American Red Cross: 1.800.RED.CROSS or www.redcross.org
Federal Emergency Management Agency (“FEMA”): 1.800.621.FEMA or www.fema.gov/hurricane-irma
FILING AN INSURANCE CLAIM:
- ACE: 1.800.433.0385
- AIG: 1.800.244.0304
- Allstate: 1.800.255.7828
- AMICA: 1.800.242.6422
- Chubb: 1.800.252.4670
- Continental (“CAN”): 1.877.CNA.ASAP
- Farmers: 1.800.435.7764
- Geico: 1.800.841.3000
- Hartford: 1.800.843.7006
- Liberty Mutual: 1.800.2.CLAIMS
- Safeco Insurance: 1.800.332.3226
- State Farm: 1.800.SF.CLAIM (1.800.732.5246)
- Travelers: 1.800.CLAIM33
- USAA: 1.800.531.8222
Florida Office of Insurance has a “Hurricane Season Resources” web page:
QUESTIONS AND COMPLAINTS:
Florida Department of Financial Services (“DFS”), Division of Consumer Services handles all consumer-related questions and problems concerning insurance: www.myfloridacfo.com
Florida contact information*: 1.877.MY.FL.CFO (1.877.693.5236)
*This is a toll-free helpline number and only available to consumers calling from a Florida number
Out of state contact information: 850.413.3089
Office of the Florida Attorney General: www.myfloridalegal.com
Price Gouging Hotline: 1.866.966.7226
National Flood Insurance Program Call Center: Specialists are available to assist with the servicing of a claim, provide general information regarding policies, and technical assistance to aid in recovery:
©2017 Blank Rome LLP. All rights reserved. Please contact Blank Rome for permission to reprint. Notice: The purpose of this update is to identify select developments that may be of interest to readers. The information contained herein is abridged and summarized from various sources, the accuracy and completeness of which cannot be assured. This update should not be construed as legal advice or opinion, and is not a substitute for the advice of counsel.