Florida preparing for post-Irma insurance claims

PHOTO: A house damaged after the wake of Hurricane Irma in Saint Johns County, Florida, Photo...
PHOTO: A house damaged after the wake of Hurricane Irma in Saint Johns County, Florida, Photo Date: 9/11/2017(KMVT)
Published: Sep. 21, 2017 at 4:28 PM EDT
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By: Jake Stofan | Capitol News Service

September 21, 2017

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- Since Irma hit, more than 452,000 insurance claims have been filed in the state, totaling just over $2.7 billion.

Current damage estimates make it the fourth-most costly hurricane in history.

"The claim numbers are going to be higher," said Nicole Vinson, a policy holder attorney. "The dollar values of the buildings are going to be larger, but Florida's insurance market can handle this."

To make sure Floridians are getting the most out of their policies, the Florida Department of Financial Services is traveling around the state, setting up events to help those affected by the storm file claims.

"There are attorneys who only assist policy holders with these claims and they're going to answer your questions on a pro-bono basis at this point in time,” Vinson continued, saying there are other options to help seek filing claims.

The Chief Financial Office has also put out a number of tips to aid residents through the process.

It's also imperative to contact your insurance company before signing any contracts with repair companies to ensure you don't sign away the rights and benefits to your policy.

Michael Peltier of Citizens Insurance said, “We're encouraging folks to be very very careful when following a storm if someone comes up and is offering you repair services. Read what you're signing. We're telling folks to be very careful of signing their rights away.”

To date, the average value of claims filed is roughly $6,000.