Tallahassee, Fla. — As Subtropical Storm Alberto continues to push through the southeast and through the middle of the country, the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI) today offered recovery advice to those who are in the process of assessing the damage to their properties and contacting their insurers. PCI also encouraged caution when hiring third-party vendors for fear of recent contractor schemes.
“In the aftermath of Alberto, PCI encourages residents to take a thorough approach in assessing their property damage, whether it be to their home, business, or automobile,” said Logan McFaddin, PCI Florida regional manager. “If you have any damage, contact your insurance company or agent as soon as possible to start the claims process.”
PCI encourages policyholders to review the following tips and information if storm loss has occurred.
Storm Recovery Tips:
Secure property from further damage or theft.
Contact your insurance agent or company representative as soon as possible to report damage.
Inventory losses and photograph damage to provide to your insurance adjustor. Save receipts.
If you are a business owner, keep detailed records of business activity that is negatively affected due to the tornado or storm and keep a list of extra expenses during the interruption. Prepare records to show the income from the business before and after the loss.
Many standard homeowners and renters’ policies provide reimbursement of additional living expenses when the property is determined to be uninhabitable due to damage. This provision helps with paying for increases to necessary living expenses, such as temporary housing and restaurant meals. In addition, extra expenses, such as overnight parking and laundry services may also be covered. Additional living expense coverage does not pay for all living expenses, so contact your insurance company or agent for a list of what your policy will cover.
Be careful about unscrupulous contractors following a natural disaster. Contact your insurer, agent, or local business bureau for references on potential contractors and ask for certificates of liability and workers’ compensation before signing contracts.
Be prepared to list the “replacement cost” of each item and its actual cash value. Replacement cost is what it would cost today to replace an item with another one just like it. Actual cash value is what the item is really worth after deducting for depreciation and wear.
“Beware of unscrupulous contractors following the storm. PCI highly recommends contacting your insurer, agent, or local business bureau for references and asking for certificates of liability and workers’ compensation before signing any contracts with contractors to perform repair work on your home, business or automobile. It is unfortunate, but there is a real problem right now, especially in Florida, with people preying on the most vulnerable following a storm, which leads to Floridians paying the ultimate price to the tune of lawsuits and potentially higher rates,” added McFaddin.
To learn more about assignment of benefits scams, PCI encourages Floridians to visit www.Fightfraud.today
What to do if you have Flooding Damage:
Shovel or scrape the mud off your floors, furniture, and walls before the mud dries. Then hose down the walls with clean water, starting from the ceiling.
Major appliances, such as refrigerators and stoves, can be washed and dried completely. In most cases, they will not be damaged unless they were operating at the time the water covered them.
Diluted chlorine bleach can be used to clean household items, appliances, walls and floors. This also will help control odors.
Wood furniture should be dried outdoors, but not in direct sunlight. Remove drawers and other moving parts before they dry.
A flooded basement should be pumped gradually to prevent structural damage. Pump out about a third of the water per day.
Water and electricity make for a dangerous combination. Take the proper precautions to avoid electric shock.
Food utensils and equipment should be washed thoroughly and sterilized before you use them. Any food that is open and exposed to flood waters should be discarded.
Flooding is not covered by your standard homeowners policy, however, flood insurance coverage can be purchased through the National Flood Insurance Program or your insurance company. Contact your insurance company or agent to determine if you have coverage.
For information on storm readiness, please refer to:
Online Magazine: http://bit.ly/HurricanePrep2018
2018 Insurance Checklist: http://bit.ly/InsuranceChecklist18
2018 Hurricane Fact Sheet: http://bit.ly/HurricaneFacts18
2018 Insurance Claim Tips: http://bit.ly/InsuranceClaimTips
Replacement Cost vs. Actual Cash Value: http://bit.ly/replacementvscashvalue