storm seasonYou’ve made it through the last hurricane safely, but maybe your home wasn’t so lucky. Now it’s time to assess the damage and determine if you need to file a claim. There are many misconceptions about filing hurricane claims¬† The Sun Sentinel recently quoted Florida Chief Financial Officer, Jimmy Patronis, as he debunked a number of common hurricane insurance myths that we wanted to share with you here.

Myth #1: When filing an insurance claim, my insurance agent is the only person I need to contact.

You should immediately report any claims to your insurance company. Most insurance companies have a toll-free number you can use to report any claims.

Myth #2: I already have a homeowners insurance policy, so it covers my entire property for damages.

Every homeowners policy differs. Consider reviewing your policy before hurricane season begins to find your limitations/exclusions. Homeowners often need a separate policy for flood or windstorm damage. Flood insurance must be purchased through the National Flood Insurance Program or through Southern Oak Flood Endorsement at higher limits and lower cost than the NFIP, and your agent should be able to help with that.

Myth #3: When my insurance company denies my claim, or provides a smaller payment, I am left paying out of pocket for any additional expenses.

We always encourage homeowners to seek a second opinion to verify the cause of damage and asses the cost to repair/replace damaged property. A second opinion never hurts and it can often save you additional expenses.

Myth #4: If my property suffers damage because a neighbor’s property blows into it, their insurance will cover it.

Unless the damage was a result of your neighbor’s negligence, your own policy will need to cover it.

Myth #5: If a contractor offers to waive my insurance deductible, they are being helpful by providing me with a discounted rate.

This is actually a form of insurance fraud. Proceed with caution.

Myth #6: For a Floridian with damage to their property, the only way to get immediate help is an Assessment of Benefits Agreement (AOB).

The very first thing you should do is contact your insurance company and file your claim. Even in the event of an emergency, you do not need to sign an AOB to get your home repaired.

Myth #7: Insurance companies can take as long as they want to respond to an insurance claim.

storm prepMost insurance companies have a two-week deadline from the date reported to acknowledge your claim. Then they must pay undisputed amounts of your claim within the 90 days following.

We hope these myths and facts have been enlightening and help you enter hurricane season with confidence. If you have any further questions, please reach out to one of our helpful and qualified agents at Southern Oak Insurance. We provide exceptional coverage to Florida homeowners, so they can relax and enjoy themselves throughout hurricane season and the rest of the year.

Take extra precaution this year with our Disaster Preparedness Plan! This free resource will help keep your home and family safe in the event of a major storm. Click the book to get your copy.