Many Floridians have begun assessing their homes and property for damage following Hurricane Irma.
That's great. It's also important to take images of any damage and THEN to make temporary repairs to prevent additional damage before filing insurance claims.
Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis and Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier are encouraging Floridians to be prompt in notifying their insurance companies and cautious of repair deals that sound too good to be true.
“If an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is and could be fraud,” said CFO Patronis. “Scammers may attempt to defraud... and I encourage all Floridians to be vigilant in guarding against fraud. Floridians should report suspicious activity ASAP by calling 1-877-693-5236.”
Here are the top tips for consumers currently navigating the insurance claims process:
- Notify your insurance company first
- Many companies have reporting deadlines
- Take steps to make temporary repairs that prevent further damage, but remain in contact with your insurance company regarding any outside vendors that are brought in to make repairs
- If you need help locating contact information for your insurance company, click here
- While making temporary repairs, obtain the licensing or training credentials of all third-party vendors before signing any work agreements
- Beware of fly-by-night repair companies and hire only licensed and reputable vendors
- Use the Department of Business and Professional Regulation’s Contractor License lookup to make sure all contractors are properly licensed and bonded
- Access DBPR’s licensee search here
- Fully review all documentation you are asked to sign and ask questions to make sure you understand the agreements you are signing
- If considering the assistance of a public insurance adjuster, ask for identification to verify that the adjuster is licensed
- Visit CFO Patronis’ Hurricane Irma Insurance Resources website to verify the license of any Florida insurance agent or adjuster
- Understand how much a public insurance adjuster charges and what services are include
- If you suspect fraud or suspicious activity, report it immediately by calling 1-877-693-5236 You concerns will be promptly referred to insurance fraud investigators.
The Helpline is availavle from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. to answer all insurance-related questions for Floridians and businesses.