Better Call Behnken: Start insurance process ASAP

TAMPA (WFLA) – As you access damage from Hurricane Irma, please keep these tips in mind to help you get your property repaired and to avoid becoming a victim of fraud.

Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis recommends you start the insurance process as soon as possible.

First things first, locate all of you insurance policy documents.

You will need your homeowners’ policy and your flood insurance policy. Remember, flooding is not covered under most homeowners’ policies. You will possibly need to review your auto policy, if you have damage to your vehicle, as a result of the storm.

When it is safe to venture outside and look for damage, make sure you take lots of pictures before you touch anything. Take video, too. Do not attempt to make even temporary repairs without doing this.

Your first call should be to your insurance companies. They will tell you their own requirements for filing a claim and get the process started.

Cover damaged areas with tarps in order to prevent further damage.

If you don’t understand your insurance policy, there are state experts waiting to help you. Call 1-877-693-5236 and speak with an expert.

Patronis cautions to look out for door-to-door contractors who may offer deals that sound too good to be true. If you see anything suspicious, you should report that to the state at the same phone number: 1-877-693-5236.

Make sure you hire a licensed contractor for major repairs. Tree trimmers and those doing lawn work do not have to have a contractor’s license. However, it is a good idea to ask to see their insurance policies.

Before hiring anyone to help with damage, make sure you read any document you are asked to sign and make sure you understand what you are signing.

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