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What to do if you have hurricane damage and frequently asked questions

Insurance agents

Due to the widespread damage across Florida,  we want to extend a personal message to those of you who might be impacted. As always, our most immediate concern is your safety and that of your families.  

                                                                                                                           -  Susan Augustyniak and Team Augustyniak

What to do if you sustain Hurricane Damage

Report your claim to your insurance company

  • Should you be affected by the storm, we encourage you to report your claim directly to your insurance company. They will have claims representatives available 24/7.  Our website includes a list of claims reporting phone numbers for your insurance company.   Write this down before the storm.  You may not have internet or cell phone access after the storm. 
  • The Insurer (your insurance company) will assign an adjuster to contact you at the number you gave on your claim report, so be sure to let our agency and your insurance company know where you can be reached.
  •  Insurers usually send adjusters to the more severely damaged properties first.
  • If your home or business is uninhabitable or you move somewhere else temporarily, be sure to let us know where you can be reached. 
  •  If you suffered only minor damage, please be patient. When contacted by the adjuster, get his/her name, address, phone number, and claim number. This is important information for you to have. Also, ask the adjuster what the next step you should take it and when he/she will be back in touch with you. Ask the adjuster any questions you may have about your claim. Don’t be afraid to be persistent so that you understand the procedures.

Make Temporary Repairs. Take photos or videos.

  •  If your home or business is damaged, please make emergency repairs to prevent further damage as soon you are able to do so safely.
    • Save all your receipts, the company will ask for them at a later date.. 
    •  Keep damaged items so your insurance company can see them. Do not discard damaged items.
    •  Temporary repairs include tarping your roof,  removing a tree from your home, and boarding up broken windows.  
  • Take photos and/or videos of the damage, including recording your damaged personal belongings. This will support your claim going forward.

Do NOT make permanent Repairs

Do not make permanent repairs to your home until your adjuster has inspected your damages.  If you are in doubt on what is considered permanent repair, please call our office.

Start preparing a Personal Property Inventory 

Do not discard damaged items until your adjuster has seen them, particularly high-value items.

If your personal belongings were damaged, your adjuster will ask you for a personal property inventory. This is a listing of what is damaged and their value(s)

  • We suggest you accomplish this on a room-by-room basis.  List the item and detailed description. 
  • 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.
  • Attach any documentation you can (receipts, photos, canceled checks, credit card statements, warranty booklets, etc.).
  • Your adjuster may have specific forms they will provide you

Be Cautious of repair scams:

  • Resist the temptation to sign up with the first repair crew that shows up at your door. You especially should not sign paperwork or contract that includes an assignment of benefit. This assigns the rights and benefits of your policy to the contractor, and you may lose all control of your claim. This could cause you not to control the money paid by your insurance company. Reputable repair companies will not require you to sign a contract that includes an assignment of benefits.
  • Assignment of Benefits scams are the leading cause of rising insurance rates, and fraud artists see a hurricane aftermath as a golden opportunity to prey on unsuspecting homeowners. We recommend that you always call your agent, or your insurance company first to report damage and determine the best way to proceed.

How to locate a Reputable Contractor

If your house sustains damage and you need emergency board-ups or roof protection, we recommend calling your insurance company first.  Often, they have a program where they refer out approved emergency contractors. 

 If your insurance company does not offer this, our agency recommends the following resources:

  • Water damage/ flood dryout, Rytech  800-980-0112
  • Paul Davis Restoration  888-473-7669
  • ServPro   1800- SERVPRO
  • Service Master – uses local Franchises
  • Tower Hill policy holders can contact Castle Care. This is a service provided by Tower Hill for their policyholders to repair damages. Contact Tower Hill or ask your Tower Hill adjuster.

Consider contacting FEMA Disaster Assistance

There may be resources in addition to your insurance policies.  Many counties in Florida have been declared eligible for Federal Disaster Assistance. You can contact FEMA for assistance

Sign up for Online Policy Access 

If your insurance company offers online policy access, be sure to sign up.  Many insurance companies will offer claims tracking through their online policy access. If you need assistance setting this up, please call our office or your insurance company directly (Please call the billing number and NOT their claims reporting numbers).

Discuss claims issues with your agent

The insurance industry is anticipating hundreds of thousand of claims.   Please be patient. Those with the most severe damage will receive priority.  With this volume, our agency may not know if you encounter problems with your claim.  Please reach out to us. While we don't expect you to encounter an issue,  if you do, call and discuss it with us.   We can be reached at 904-268-3106.  You can also send Augustyniak Insurance an online message.

Frequently Asked Questions:

How does a Hurricane deductible work?

In Florida, Irma is now a hurricane, and a hurricane deductible will apply to any damage your home or business sustains.  The Hurricane deductible only applies if a hurricane watch or warning is issued in any part of Florida and ends 72 hours from the time the warning or watch is terminated.

With a hurricane deductible, homeowners are responsible for first paying the deductible. Covered damage that exceeds your deductible will be paid by the insurance company. Generally, hurricane deductibles in Florida range from 2% to 10% of the insured value of the home.  So, if your home is insured for $200,000 with a 2% hurricane deductible, your hurricane deductible is $4,000.

This is an annual deductible, so if you have 2 different hurricane losses in one calendar year and you already exceeded your deductible during the 1st hurricane, you will not have to pay a deductible during the rest of the policy period.

 We recommend reporting your claim even if it appears to be less than your deductible. There are several tropical issues that may affect us later.

Will my car insurance policy cover damage to my car?

If you purchased comprehensive coverage (AKA "comp), both hurricane damage and flooding to your car will be covered by your car insurance company. A comprehensive deductible will apply.

Will my homeowners policy cover flood damage ?

A homeowners policy covers wind and hurricane damage (unless you chose to exclude it for a savings). If your roof is destroyed and then rain comes into the building that would be covered by the wind portion of your policy.

Rising ground water from a storm surge or hurricane is considered a flood. Flood damage is not covered by standard homeowners or business insurance policy, even if caused by a hurricane.  A separate flood insurance policy is required for this type of loss.  If you sustain flood damage AND wind damage, please report two claims. One to your homeowners company and a second one to your flood insurance company.

Will my homeowners policy cover trees down?

  • Most homeowners and business packages provide for removal of trees or branches that have fallen on your structures. They usually don’t pay for removal of trees or debris that blew in to your yard or fell in your yard without damaging anything. This coverage will vary by company. Be sure to talk to your adjuster.

My home is not livable.  What do I do?

First, let us say we know this will be very trying and difficult while you are displaced.  Please reach out to our office for assistance if your home is not livable and you have not been contacted by your adjuster in a reasonable time period.

  • Be sure to tell your insurance company during the initial phone call from your adjuster that your home is not livable. 
  • Contact Fema Disaster assistance  
    • Via phone at 1-800-621-FEMA  7 am to 11 pm  7 days a week
  • Loss of Use coverage is designed to reimburse you for extra expenses and temporary housing. Usually the temporary housing figure is based on the fair rental value of your home or apartment and the length of time you will be displaced. Extra expenses include expenses that you would not normally incur, such as additional mileage, generators, electrical, phone or food expenses over and above your usual costs. The policy you have with your insurer does not obligate them to pay you the policy limit upfront. You must incur the extra expense and provide proof of loss in form of receipts or invoices.
  • National Flood Insurance Policies do not have additional living expenses coverage. We recommend contacting disaster assistance for resources.  https://www.disasterassistance...
  • If your home is located in Southwest Florida,  the insurance companies will be setting up an "Insurance City."  That location has not yet been determined. Watch news and social media for information. An insurance city is a single location where insurance companies send adjusters and mobile claims units. Many insurance companies will be present in one location.  If you go there, you can often talk to an adjuster. Many times, insurance companies will provide payments for those with coverage that are displaced.