WHAT IF MY HOME IS DAMAGED AND I DON’T HAVE INSURANCE?
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provides assistance to those whose homes are damaged or destroyed. You should also keep all receipts for any repairs you make so you can file the loss with the IRS on your income tax return. You may also be eligible for a low interest loan from the Small Business Administration (SBA). FEMA can be reached at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) (TTY: 1-800-462-7585). SBA can be reached at 1-866-737-7232.
WHEN SHOULD I REPORT MY CLAIM TO MY INSURANCE COMPANY?
You should report your claim as soon as possible. If we have had multiple hurricanes in a year or if we have a severe hurricane, it may take longer for an adjuster to get to you. It is not uncommon for insurers to prioritize claims by the severity. In other words, if your home is destroyed, you would receive a higher priority than someone with a few roof tiles missing. You might consider this fact when determining how soon to call.
SHOULD I MAKE REPAIRS TO MY DAMAGED PROPERTY OR WAIT FOR THE INSURANCE ADJUSTER?
You are required by your insurance contract to make temporary repairs to prevent further damage. The adjuster must see the damage to evaluate your loss. Take pictures of the damage and keep all receipts for materials purchased for emergency repairs. You should not dispose of any damaged property until the adjuster has completed his inspection.
HOW CAN I VERIFY THE FLORIDA LICENSE OF THE ADJUSTER ASSIGNED TO MY CASE BY MY INSURER?
Adjusters must be licensed by the Department of Financial Services (DFS). Insurance companies can hire temporary emergency adjusters, many of whom come from other states. These adjusters are issued temporary licenses. Ask to see your insurance adjuster’s license or other documentation that proves they represent your insurance company if they have not yet received their temporary adjuster’s license. Company adjusters will not charge you a fee or ask you to sign a contract to adjust your claim.
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I AM CONTACTED BY A PUBLIC ADJUSTER?
A public adjuster is licensed by the Department of Financial Services and represents the insured's interests in resolving claims with an insurance company. Unlike the independent or company adjuster, who represents the interest of the insurance company in the resolution of claims, public adjusters become your contractual representative. Public adjusters charge a fee (usually a percentage of the claim) to process the claim on your behalf. Ask to see their license. Please keep in mind a contract signed by you and a Public Adjuster is legally binding. If you change your mind later, you may not be able to get out of the contract. During a state of emergency declared by the Governor, you can cancel the contract within 5 business days after the execution date with a public adjuster. Otherwise, you have a right to cancel within 3 business days.
HOW LONG SHOULD IT TAKE FOR MY INSURER TO SEND AN ADJUSTER TO MY HOME?
It depends on the severity and the extent of the damage caused by the disaster. Adjusters come into the disaster areas as soon as they are permitted to do so by emergency officials. If you have reported your loss to the insurer, they may be able to give you an estimate of the timeline in which the adjuster should contact you.
HOW CAN I VERIFY THE LICENSE AND REPUTATION OF A CONTRACTOR?
Call the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation at (850) 487-1395, and check the license of the contractor. Also ask for references from the individual and be sure to check them. Most of the time an insurance company does not recommend a contractor, so be wary of those that claim the insurance company sent them. Ask to see something in writing.
WHERE DO I REPORT PRICE GOUGING ON ITEMS SUCH AS GASOLINE, GENERATORS, ICE OR BUILDING MATERIALS?
Call the Attorney General’s Office at 1-866-966-7226 or Click Here, to fill out a form on-line.
For more helpful information please visit: Hurricane Ian