For Immediate Release: Wednesday, May 9, 2018
Contact: 850.413.2842, Communications@MyFloridaCFO.com
Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis Debunks Top Hurricane Insurance Myths
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – During National Hurricane Preparedness Week’s “Get an Insurance Check Up” day, Florida Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis reminds Floridians that now, more than ever, is the time to prepare for the 2018 Atlantic Hurricane Season. In his continued efforts to ensure Floridians are well-prepared, CFO Patronis has debunked the top myths and most common insurance-related misunderstandings when preparing and recovering from a tropical weather event.
“The 2017 Hurricane Season impacted virtually every county in Florida, with Hurricane Irma resulting in more than $8.6 billion in insured losses,” said CFO Jimmy Patronis. “From property damage ranging from wind to flood, my office fielded more than 9,300 calls and received about 2,500 complaints stemming from the nearly 1 million insurance claims filed from Hurricane Irma alone. We recovered millions for Floridians, but found the majority of the complaints stemmed from a few common misunderstandings.”
MYTH 1: I already have homeowner’s insurance, so everything on my property is covered and I’m financially prepared for the storm season.
FACT: All homeowner’s insurance policies contain limitations and exclusions. Also, you may need a separate policy for windstorm or flood if these coverages are not included in your homeowner’s policy. It is important to review your policy to understand your coverages and exclusions.
MYTH 2: When an insurance company denies a claim, or provides an inadequate claim payment, I must pay out-of-pocket to cover any additional expenses from damages that occurred to my property.
FACT: You should always get a second opinion to verify the cause of loss and/or the cost to repair or replace the damage.
MYTH 3: When contractors offer to waive my insurance deductible to provide repairs at a discounted rate, this is simply a kind gesture.
FACT: Waiving the deductible or providing a discounted rate directly to you is a form of insurance fraud.
MYTH 4: An Assignment of Benefits (AOB) agreement is the only way to get immediate assistance for Floridians who have damage to their property.
FACT: You do not need to sign an Assignment of Benefits to get your residence repaired, even for emergency repairs. You should make first contact with your insurance company by immediately reporting the claim.
MYTH 5: Insurance companies can take as long as they want to respond to an insurance claim filed by Floridians.
FACT: Typically, insurance companies must acknowledge your insurance claim within 14 days from the date the claim was reported and they must pay undisputed amounts of your claim within 90 days from the date of damage.
MYTH 6: If my neighbor’s property is blown into my yard and damages my own property, my neighbor’s insurance will cover the cost of damage.
FACT: The damage to your property is covered by your own homeowner’s insurance policy, unless, you can prove your neighbor was negligent then the damage would be covered under their homeowner’s policy.
MYTH 7: My insurance agent is the only person I need to contact when filing an insurance claim.
FACT: While you may call your agent, you should immediately report the claim to your insurance company. Most insurance companies have a toll-free claim number to report your claim.
CFO Patronis oversees Florida’s Insurance Consumer Helpline (Helpline) which assists consumers with any insurance-related questions, concerns, or complaints they may have. Since taking office in July 1, 2017, CFO Patronis’ Helpline has recovered more than $37.9 million for Floridians with $10.7 million stemming directly from inquiries related to Hurricane Irma. These are funds the consumer would not have recovered from their insurance company had they not reached out to the Helpline for assistance.
Consumers who have questions about their insurance coverage and how to financially prepare for the upcoming hurricane season are encouraged to call CFO Patronis’ Helpline at 1-877-693-5236 or visit https://www.myfloridacfo.com/Division/Consumers/. The Helpline also provides consumers with a place to obtain contact information for their insurance company, verify the license of an insurance agent or adjuster and much more.
About CFO Jimmy Patronis
Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis is a native Floridian and a member of Florida’s Cabinet, who oversees the Department of Financial Services. CFO Patronis works each day to fight insurance fraud, support Florida’s firefighters, and ensure the state’s finances are stable to support economic growth in the state. Follow the activities of the Department on Facebook (FLDFS) and Twitter (@FLDFS).