insurance companies cover temporary housing if a house is unlivable?
A: Yes, additional living expenses are covered initially, generally at a rate of
10 to 20 percent of the value of the dwelling.
concerns about mold growing from moisture damage, do I have to wait for an
adjuster to survey the damage before doing work?
A: Temporary repairs can be done and are encouraged to mitigate further damage
and help protect the integrity of the house. Take before and after photos and
keep all receipts if you want to reimbursed for repairs.
Should I report my claim or wait?
A: Report your claim as quickly as possible.
do I know which policy to file my claim under (homeowners, flood, windstorm)?
A: File your
claim with all three policies, the adjuster(s) will take care of determining
which policy or policies cover your loss.
Should I paint my insurance company name and policy number on my house?
A: If forced to evacuate, take your insurance company contact info with you. If
your house is uninhabitable, then put your insurance company's name on a piece
of wood and prop it up against the house. NEVER put the policy number or you
could be left vulnerable to scam artists.
long should it take for an adjuster to come to my house and assess the damage?
A: It depends on the severity of damage caused by the storm. Adjusters come into
the disaster areas as soon as permitted by emergency officials. Call
800-22-STORM for help with this issue.
Q: What is a public adjuster? What should a storm victim
know about adjusters?
A: There are adjusters who work for insurance companies, and there are public
adjusters who work under a contract with a homeowner and receive a percentage of
the settlement. CFO Tom Gallagher issued emergency rules after Hurricane Charley
banning public adjusters from requiring cash up front and limiting fees to no
more than 10% of the claim. These rules are still in effect.
there any financial help available for people who are uninsured?
A: Contact FEMA at 1-800- 462-9029.
about financial assistance for deductibles?
A: You can contact FEMA at 1-800-462-9029 to apply for assistance. FEMA will
first refer your application to the Small Business Association (SBA) to see if
you will qualify for a low-interest loan. If you do not qualify for a loan,
then FEMA will evaluate your application for further assistance with grants.
if I have damage from Hurricane Charley and now from Hurricane Frances, Ivan or
Jeanne? Will I have to pay a second deductible?
A: A majority of insurance policies require one deductible per event. CFO
Gallagher recognizes the financial hardship this may cause many Floridians.
Consumers who sustain additional damage from a subsequent storm should call the
department and we’ll work with the consumer and the insurance company to
determine if back-to-back storm damage is considered a single event.
Charley caused several billion dollars in damage. If more storms hit, will my
insurance company go bankrupt?
A: The insurance industry learned its lesson from Hurricane Andrew. At that
time, rates were woefully inadequate and as a result, nearly a dozen insurance
companies became insolvent and several others stopped writing and starting
non-renewing customers. Since then, rates have increased significantly so money
was available to pay claims should another catastrophic storm make landfall in
Florida. At this time, the insurance industry is financially prepared for a $25
more storm hits, will my insurance rates go up?
A: There are a number of factors that contribute to the rising cost of
insurance. However, we do not anticipate rates to rise with the damage sustained
during Hurricane Charley. It is too early to speculate what changes will happen,
if any, due to Frances, Ivan or Jeanne.
another storm result in my insurance company going bankrupt?
A: Insurance companies operating in Florida are well capitalized and are
required to have reserves and reinsurance in preparation for a catastrophic
storm. Frances, Ivan and Jeanne, on the heels of Charley, will certainly have a
financial impact on the industry but we don't know the extent of insured damages
at this time. The Office of Insurance Regulation is carefully monitoring the
financial health of the industry.
did we learn from Hurricane Andrew?
A: : We learned to take hurricane warnings seriously, and understand the need
for better coordination among federal, state and local agencies, and the need
for stronger building codes. The experience of Andrew spurred the creation of
the catastrophe fund and insurer of last resort.
Floodwaters damaged the first floor of my house and wind tore off the roof.
Will my insurer pay for the repairs of all of my damage?
A: Your homeowner’s insurance policy should cover the roof damage, minus your
deductible. If you don’t have flood insurance, however, you may be in trouble.
Most homeowners’ policies cover wind damage — not flood damage. Flood insurance
is underwritten by the federal government and provided through the National
Flood Insurance Program.
Q: The storm flooded my expensive landscaping and uprooted a tree which then
tore up my roof. Will my policy cover replacement of my plants and tree?
A: Because the tree has damaged an insured building your insurance company
should pay to repair the roof – and remove the tree in the process. However,
most policies do not provide for damaged landscape – including trees – to be
hauled away or replaced if the damage doesn’t directly impact an insured
agent says the claim check will be made out to me and the bank who holds my
A: Your insurance company will consider that the bank also owns the house, and
as a result, also has a claim on your insurance – so in many cases the check
will be made out to both parties. Your bank should be cooperative with you
about getting the check cashed because it has vested interest in getting you the
money you need to repair the damage.
policy calls for me to be reimbursed the amount it costs to replace my loss.
The agent says I will get two checks from the insurance company. First, they
will pay the depreciated value. Later, after the damage is repaired, the agent
says they will pay the balance of the replacement cost. What does that mean?
A: Many policies will allow this. The insurance company can pay you for the
depreciated value of your loss. Once the repair is made and you have a receipt
showing the repair expense, the company must reimburse you the full amount up to
The skyline for October is Daytona Beach,
photo courtesy of the Daytona Beach Area Convention & Visitors Bureau.