TALLAHASSEE — Tropical Storm Idalia is forecast to approach Florida as a major hurricane on Aug. 30. As preparations continue, the American Property Casualty Insurance Association (APCIA) urges residents in the projected path of the storm to do three things to be better prepared to file an insurance claim and begin the recovery process if their property is damaged.
1. Gather copies of your insurance policies. Make sure you have copies of your insurance policies (home, flood, and auto) in a safe, dry, and accessible location.
2. Save your insurer’s contact info. Save your insurer’s toll-free claims number to your cell phone’s contacts. APCIA has a list of insurer’s toll-free numbers here.
3. Make a home inventory. Use your smartphone to take photos or videos of your belongings, such as furniture, appliances, clothes, lawn equipment, art, jewelry, and anything else of significant value. Save your inventory to a place where you can easily retrieve it, like the cloud, or email a copy to yourself. You can also check if your insurer has an app to assist policyholders with creating a home inventory.
“Now is the time to gather copies of your homeowners, flood, and auto insurance policies and make a home inventory using your cell phone to take pictures or videos of your belongings,” said Logan McFaddin, vice president of state government relations for APCIA. “If your home or business is damaged in the storm, remember to contact your insurer as soon as possible to get the claims process started. If you are ordered to evacuate, you do not have to wait until you get back home to file a claim. You can file a claim while you are evacuated, which helps get your claim in the queue faster.”
Damage associated with wind and other severe weather is typically covered under a standard homeowners, renters, or business policy. Flood damage is not typically covered under these policies but can be covered under a separate policy through the National Flood Insurance Program or the private insurance market. Water damage to a vehicle is typically covered if the policyholder’s auto policy includes comprehensive insurance coverage.
“Florida’s insurers are ready to quickly deploy all available resources to process claims and help Floridians once the storm passes,” added McFaddin.