Out of state contractors are coming to Florida to assist with Hurricane Irma recovery efforts. While many will appreciate this help, many property owners will be putting themselves at great financial risk given many out of state contractors will not have proper workers' compensation coverage and may not be familiar with the stringent FL building codes. We highly recommend waiting for a properly insured FL based contractor who will be familiar with FL building codes and pull the proper permits. We have included work-comp coverage requirements and helpful information from the Florida Division of Workers' Compensation that you will want to be familiar with when hiring a contractor. Also after the 2004 hurricane season many homeowners who used an out of state roofing contractor ended up having roofs installed with no permits. If a contractor replaces your roof and does not complete the permit process you will ultimately receive no premium credit for having a new roof installed on your home. Just be very careful when hiring a contractor and we are here to help with any of your concerns.
1. Hurricane deductibles: Most homeowners’ insurance policies contain specific provisions related to damage caused by hurricanes, and a key feature is often higher deductibles for losses resulting from a hurricane. Under this provision, homeowners are responsible for paying a percentage of the insured value of the home, generally ranging from 2-10 percent. So for a home insured for $100,000 with a 2-percent hurricane deductible, the policyholder would be responsible to pay out of pocket for the first $2,000 in damages.
2. Wind-driven rain: Damage caused by wind-driven rain – for example, rain blown through poorly sealed door/window openings—is not covered in most instances. While damage caused by wind itself is likely covered (subject to the hurricane deductible), water damage caused by rain seeping into the home through doors/windows generally is not.
3. Repair scams: Homeowners should resist the temptation to sign up with the first repair crew that shows up at their door, and especially should not sign paperwork that assigns the rights and benefits of their insurance policy to someone else. Assignment of benefits scams are a leading cause of rising insurance rates, and fraud artists see a hurricane aftermath as a golden opportunity to prey on unsuspecting homeowners. Insurance policyholders should always call their agent or their insurance company first, to report a loss and determine the best way to proceed.
4. Flood damage: Damage caused by flooding, common in a hurricane, is not covered by standard homeowners insurance policies. A separate flood insurance policy is required for this type of loss.
5. Mitigate and document: Homeowners are expected to mitigate damage to their home to the extent they safely can, and to document their damage. So, putting a tarp over a damaged roof or boarding up a broken window can prevent further losses. Homeowners should document damage by taking photographs and save receipts for any out-of-pocket costs.
Praying for our community, friends, and loved ones as we prepare for the arrival of Hurricane Irma. Our office is shuttered and Lord willing we will open quickly after the storm to help with your insurance needs. In the event you need to file a claim please visit our website for Hurricane Irma claims reporting contact information.