Tallahassee, Fla. — In the aftermath of Hurricane Hermine, the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI) is encouraging those impacted by the storm to contact their insurance company or the National Flood Insurance Program as soon as possible to begin the recovery process.
“Insurers are available to answer any flooding and other insurance questions that Floridians may have as they start putting their lives back together,” said Logan McFaddin, PCI’s Florida regional manager. “Claims adjusters are prepared to work with residents as soon as emergency officials provide access to impacted areas. While the sun might be shining now there are still several areas with down power lines and trees so it’s important to listen to emergency officials before leaving your home.”
Flood damage is typically covered through the National Flood Insurance Program rather than homeowners insurance. However, cars, trucks and other vehicles damaged by flood water are typically covered under an auto policy’s comprehensive coverage.
“Contact your insurance company or agent to discuss what is covered by your policy,” said McFaddin.
“As insurance claims are filed, there are a number of things residents can do to help expedite the recovery process such as photograph the damage and make an inventory of what was lost or damaged.”
PCI Hurricane Hermine Recovery Tips:
Stay away from downed power lines, even if they do not appear to be “live.” Call the power company to report any outages.
Generally damage to refrigerated food caused by a power failure that originates off the residence premises would not be a covered loss.
Damage to trees, shrubs and other plants during a storm is not covered under the standard homeowners policy unless caused by lightning. However, insurance may pay to remove the debris from a fallen tree if it caused damage to a structure covered by insurance.
If your tree damages a neighbor’s property, he or she should file a claim with his or her own insurer.
If the tree falls on your own house, damage to the house is covered, and the policy covers the cost to remove the tree from the house.
However if the tree or branch falls and does no damage to a covered structure, generally there is no coverage for the tree or to remove the tree from the premises.
If your property does sustain damage, take the following action:
Report all damage to your insurance company or agent as soon as you can in order to settle your claim more quickly and accurately.
If it is safe to do so, take steps to protect your property from further damage and theft by making emergency repairs. Use plywood, tarps and other materials to cover openings in roofs, walls and windows.
Keep receipts for anything you buy so you can submit them to your insurance company later.
Inventory all damaged property, take pictures of the damage and check with your insurance company before throwing away any damaged property. Identify the structural damage to your home and make a list of everything you would like to show the adjuster.
To settle your claim more quickly and accurately, prepare as much information as possible about your damaged possessions when your insurance adjuster comes to look at your property.
PCI Flooding Tips 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.
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 homeowner’s 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 boat, yachts, jet skis and wave runners.