Hurricane Matthew Damage: Florida Insurance Consumer Helpline hours extended

A car drives past a downed tree as Hurricane Matthew moves through Daytona Beach, Fla. Friday, Oct. 7, 2016. Matthew was downgraded to a Category 3 hurricane overnight, and its storm center hung just offshore as it moved up the Florida coastline, sparing communities its full 120 mph winds. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Following the landfall of Hurricane Matthew, Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater has extended the operating hours of the Department of Financial Services’ Insurance Consumer Helpline. As Floridians assess damages to their property and belongings, they should document damages by taking photographs or shooting video footage and notify their insurance companies as soon as possible prior to signing any contract for repair.

The Department’s Insurance Consumer Helpline offers Floridians access to insurance experts who can explain policy coverage details, help consumers locate contact information for insurance companies, and answer claims-filing questions.

WHAT:           Insurance Consumer Helpline

HOW:             1 (877) 693–5236 (Toll-Free)

WHEN:           Saturday, October 8 and Sunday, October 9
8:00 am – 5:00 pm EST

If safe to do so, consumers should make temporary repairs to prevent further damages. However, consumers should obtain the licensing or training credentials of all third-party vendors, read all paperwork before signing any work agreements, and take note of any agreements that ask you to waive your rights. Beware of fly-by-night repair companies and hire only licensed and reputable vendors. Keep all receipts as these expenses may be reimbursed as part of the insurance claim.

Consumers should also remember these tips that will help facilitate a smooth claims process:

·         The maximum fees that public adjusters can charge to facilitate residential or commercial residential property claims resulting from a storm in a county within a declared state of emergency is limited to 10 percent of the funds recovered by the public adjuster

·         Florida has a single-season hurricane deductible. For multiple hurricane claims in a single year, if the hurricane deductible has been met on the first claim, the second claim will be subject to the all-peril deductible only.  If the hurricane deductible was not fully met on the first claim, the second claim will be subject to the greater of the amount left over from the first hurricane deductible or the all-peril deductible

If possible, consumers should have insurance policy documents readily available. The more information that consumers have on hand, the more detailed help the Department’s insurance experts can provide. Floridians can also use this consumer helpline to report suspected fraudulent activity, and to verify the license of Florida insurance agents and adjusters.

Additional post-storm information can be found on the Department’s disaster preparedness website:

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