We want to extend a personal message to those of you who might be impacted in the coming days as a result of Hurricane Ian. As always, our most immediate concern is your safety and that of your families.
We know it’s long……… But, please take a minute to read this blog post fully, You may even want to print this in case you lose power. it contains really valuable and important information including:
- what to do if you sustain hurricane damage
- frequently asked hurricane insurance questions
We are here guide you through this storm and answer any insurance questions you may have about Hurricane Ian - We will close for a short time so our staff can be safe with their families during Ian, but we will reopen as soon as it is safe and we have power
As your insurance agents, We just want to say please Be Safe!
- Susan Augustyniak and Team Augustyniak
Steps to Take if you sustain Hurricane Damage
Report your claim to your insurance company as soon as possible
- Our website includes a link to the list of claims reporting phone numbers for 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.
- Write down your policy numbers and insurance company phone numbers before the storm. You may not have internet or cell phone access after the storm.
What to expect after you file a claim
- 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. Be sure to update your contact information with our office as well.
- 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. There will be tens of thousands of claims filed.
- 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.
- You may be assigned two adjusters -- one that will be visiting your home to evaluate the damages. And a second one that will be an inside "desk" adjuster responsible for issuing your the payment. Be sure to ask how your claim will be handled and if multiple adjusters may be involved
- Also, the adjuster evaluating your home may work for a third party/be contracted as an "independent adjuster-- due to the volume of claims incoming, your insurance companies may need to hire additional independent contractors to assist them in getting claims settled quickly and fairly. This can be common when their are natural disasters like hurricanes.
- Don’t be afraid to be persistent so that you understand the procedure
Take Photos and Videos
- Take photos and/or videos after the storm of the damage, including recording your damaged personal belongings. This will support your claim going forward.
- If you are able, take photos and videos of your home/building/contents now prior to the storm. This will help you remember items, in the event you need to make a claim.
Make Temporary Repairs.
If your home or business is damaged, please make emergency repairs to prevent further damage as soon you are able to do so safely.
- Temporary repairs include tarping your roof, removing a tree from on top of your home/building, drying your home and boarding up broken windows.
- Save all your receipts and photos, the insurance company will ask for them at a later date.
- Keep damaged items so your insurance company can see them. Do not discard damaged items before showing them to the insurance company.
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.
Be Cautious of Repair Scams. They are rampant after natural disasters.
- Resist the temptation to sign up with the first repair crew that shows up at your door. These are typically not reputable companies. Do 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.
- We recommend that you always call your agent, or your insurance company first to report damage and determine the best way to proceed.
- Always confirm that your contractor is licensed and insured in the State of Florida.
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. Insurance companies often have contractors lists and program where they refer out approved emergency contractors. If your insurance company does not offer this, our agency recommends the following resources:
- Water damage/ flooding Dryout, Rytech 800-980-0112
- Paul Davis Restoration 888-473-7669
- ServPro 1800- SERVPRO
- Service Master – uses local Franchises
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
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
- Via their website at https://www.disasterassistance.gov
- Via phone at 1-800-621-FEMA 7 am to 11 pm 7 days a week
Discuss claims issues with Augustyniak Insurance Group
The insurance industry is anticipating hundreds of thousands of claims across all of Florida. Please be patient. The insurance companies will prioritize those with the most severe damage. 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. You can also send Augustyniak Insurance an online message.
Frequently Asked Questions about Hurricane Claims
How does a Hurricane deductible work?
Ian is now a hurricane, and a hurricane deductible will apply to any damage your home or business sustains. The Hurricane deductible is used when 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 anywhere in the state.
You are responsible for paying the deductible. Then the insurance company pays to repair damages that are over your deductible. Generally, hurricane deductibles in Florida range from 2% to 5% of the insured value of the home, but some people have paid extra for a lower deductible. For example, if your home is insured for $300,000 and you selected a 2% hurricane deductible, your hurricane deductible would be $6,000 ($300,000 x 2%).
A hurricane deductible is annual. 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 year. We recommend reporting your claim even if it appears to be less than your deductible.
Will my car insurance policy cover damage to my car?
If you purchased comprehensive coverage (AKA "comp”) on your car insurance, both hurricane damage and flooding to your car will be covered by your car insurance company. A comprehensive deductible will apply. Your home policy will not cover damage to your cars.
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 typically covered by standard homeowners or business insurance policy, even if caused by a hurricane. A separate flood insurance policy or adding flood coverage (if offered) to your home insurance is required for this type of loss. If you sustain flood damage AND wind damage, please report two claims. One to your homeowner’s company and a second one to your flood insurance company.
Will my policy cover downed trees?
Most homeowners and business packages provide for removal of trees or branches that have fallen on top of your covered buildings/home. 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. Also, please be sure to tell your insurance company that your home is not livable when you report the claim to them.
- Be sure to tell your insurance company during the initial phone call from your adjuster that your home is not livable.
- 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 (NFIP) do not have additional living expenses coverage. We recommend contacting disaster assistance for resources. https://www.disasterassistance.gov
- If your home is located in hard hit areas, the insurance companies will be likely set up an "Insurance City” in the coming days. 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. Those location(s) have not yet been determined. Watch news and social media for additional information.
·Our office can be reached at 904-268-3106. You can also send Augustyniak Insurance an online message.
Courtesy List of Insurance Companies Claims Phone numbers
Website Online Claims Links found here/Other #s
Auto Club (AAA) Insurance Co
Auto Owners Insurance
Bankers (First Community)
Cabrillo Coastal/Safe Harbor
Citizens Property Insurance Corp.
The Hanover Insurance Company
Heritage Property & Casualty
Liberty Mutual Insurance
State Farm Insurance
Travelers Personal Insurance
Tower Hill Insurance
Universal Prop & Casualty
Universal Ins. Co. NA
Steps Before the Hurricane Arrives
1. Sign up for Online Policy Access
If your insurance company offers online policy access, be sure to sign up. Many insurance companies will offer online claims reporting and tracking using their online policy access or mobile apps. As a courtesy, our office will attempt to send out separate emails to be sent tomorrow morning that contain instructions on setting up online /mobile app access to your insurance company – if available.
2. Add Our Phone Number to your Cell Phone Contacts – this way we are not flagged as SPAM
Please add our office phone number to your cell phone – My Insurance Agent - Augustyniak Insurance Group 904-268-3106. We may need to reach you in the coming weeks regarding your claim.
3. Write Down your Policy Number and Claims Phone Numbers -- ON PAPER
Just in case -- You may unexpectedly lose power or internet access after the storm. Be prepared in case this and write down you policy number on paper and store it in a safe place.
4. Take "before" photos/videos of the interior and exterior of your property and belongings. Store in a safe place.