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Post-Storm: Making a Property Insurance Claim

The storm has gone – what comes next? Here are the important benchmarks for an insurance claim, which can also be accessed in an easy-to-understand infographic.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – On Thursday afternoon, Hurricane Ian headed into the Atlantic, leaving Florida homeowners their next task: Making repairs and filing insurance claims.

An infographic from the Personal Insurance Federation of Florida – The Life of a Hurricane Claim – provides an easy-to-understand synopsis of the steps homeowners should now take.

A broad look at the steps

  • Survey damage and contact your insurance agent.
  • Make and document (with photographs) emergency repairs that are necessary to prevent further damage.
  • The insurer will have an adjuster inspect the damage. After notification, an insurer has 90 days to pay a valid, uncontested claim.
  • Once the insurer confirms the homeowner has a “covered loss,” they’ll cut a check – minus any deductible noted in the homeowner’s insurance policy.
  • The homeowner then uses the funds to hire a contractor and make the necessary repairs – but before signing, they should confirm that contractor’s license status at MyFloridaLicense.com.

Avoid unscrupulous repair vendors

With promises of free roofs or other quick repairs after a storm, some vendors may state that signing an “assignment of benefits” (AOB) is the only way to resolve an insurance claim without delay.

However, this isn’t required for work to begin, and the AOB will actually transfer all rights under the insurance policy from the homeowner to the vendor, leaving homeowners completely removed from the own claim process. It could be a wise move to ease a homeowner’s stress, but less-than-honest repair companies have fallen short on their promises and, in some cases, homeowners have faced higher costs beyond their insurance reimbursement.

Legislation was passed in 2019, 2021 and 2022 to curtail predatory tactics by some vendors, but Floridians should still remain wary of any promise of free goods or services after a storm or at any time.

Other post-storm insurance concerns

Florida’s Chief Financial Officer, Jimmy Patronis, offers AOB advice along with other important information:

  • Flood claims require a separate policy from standard property insurance policies. Check this guide for navigating the flood insurance claims process.
  • Homeowners who suffered damaged have an Assignment of Benefits (AOB) option. Owners should fully understand their obligations before signing any documents.
  • What happens after a claim has been filed? The CFO offers an explanation of what to expect.

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