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2023 National Hurricane Preparedness Week

During Hurricane Preparedness Week, understanding your insurance policy is key


 During National Hurricane Preparedness Week (April 30-May 6), the Florida Association of Public Insurance Adjusters (FAPIA) is encouraging homeowners to understand their insurance policy before a storm hits. This is especially important following the legislative and policy changes that have taken effect following Hurricane Ian in 2022. Colorado State University forecasts 13 named storms, including six hurricanes during the upcoming season.

“During National Hurricane Preparedness Week, many people focus on stocking up on non-perishable goods, determining an evacuation route from their home and how to protect their property. But, if your home is damaged, it’s important that homeowners have a general understanding of their current insurance policy. It could save you thousands of dollars and ease the stress of potentially having your claim underpaid or denied,” said Edwin Leal, FAPIA president.

When it comes to the possibility of a natural disaster, it’s important to prepare for the worst while hoping for the best. Ahead of storm season, homeowners should review several sections of their insurance policies, document items that could support future claims and, depending on location, consider additional forms of protection.

During National Hurricane Preparedness Week, FAPIA recommends:

  • Knowing what your policy does and does not cover. Not all insurance policies are the same. Some policies contain restrictions that will make it difficult for you to be fully compensated for your losses. Recent legislation limits the amount of time you have to submit a claim to one year from the date of loss, so being prepared beforehand is vital.
  • Making sure your deductible is not too high. This represents the out-of-pocket expense you will have to absorb if you have a loss. You may have separate deductible for your roof, so it is important to fully review your policy.
  • Knowing your home’s vulnerability to storm surge, flooding and wind. Confirm whether your policy covers such damage.
  • Reviewing the “Duties After Loss” section of your policy. Failure to follow the provisions listed in this section could result in non-payment on your legitimate claim.
  • Checking the “Exclusions” portion of your windstorm policy. Many insurance companies have added new exclusions to coverage, which could affect your protection.
  • Making a visual record of your home and possessions. Take photos or record video to document the condition of your home and belongings before any damage.
  • Preparing a detailed list of all your personal property. This will help document your claim after a loss. Gather up receipts for large items such as major appliances, furniture and electronics; make copies to include with your property inventory.
  • Creating a disaster supply kit that includes copies of your insurance policies, family medical information, deeds and wills, etc. Place the originals of those important documents in a safe deposit box, safe or in a tightly sealed container in your car and make a digital copy to keep on the cloud for easy reference.
  • Purchasing flood insurance. Standard property insurance does not cover flood damage due to storms, but if you decide to purchase it, be aware that flood insurance has a “grace period” of 30 days before it goes into effect. That means you should purchase it now – before the next major storm comes along. If you purchase it less than 30 days before a flood, you will not have the ability to file a claim. If you have a policy with Citizens, flood insurance will be mandatory – this is a relatively new requirement that will be phased in through 2027.

In the event that a homeowner does suffer property damage from a storm, FAPIA encourages all homeowners to hire only licensed public insurance adjusters – not roofers, contractors or “restoration consultants” – to represent them in navigating their insurance claims. Public insurance adjusters are licensed and trained to carefully inspect property, document the damage, understand insurance policies, inform policyholders of their responsibilities during the claim, identify the real costs of repairs and ethically navigate the claims process for the policyholder.

To learn more and find a licensed public adjuster in your area, visit www.BeClaimSmart.com.

About Florida Association of Public Insurance Adjusters (FAPIA)

Florida Association of Public Insurance Adjusters (FAPIA) was founded in 1993 to protect residential and business policyholders in the wake of devastating Hurricane Andrew in South Florida. Today, FAPIA consists of over 900 members who are committed to ensuring that property owners who suffer insured losses receive full and fair compensation from their insurance carriers.

FAPIA consists of trained and licensed insurance professionals who use their expertise to advocate for policyholders. The association is working to grow and enhance the industry by improving laws and regulations that govern public adjusters and their services to policyholders. To learn more, visit www.FAPIA.net.

Florida Association of Public Insurance Adjusters, Hurricane Season 2023, 2023 National Hurricane Preparedness Week, Insurance


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