Insurance experts offer valuable advice ahead of Hurricane Irma

Safety comes first, Gov. Rick Scott says

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – For most people, their home is their single biggest asset, and that’s what Gov. Rick Scott has been saying every day this week, ahead of Hurricane Irma.

“Remember, we can rebuild your home, but we can not rebuild your life,” Scott said.

Safety comes first. After that, the next priority should be keeping important paperwork safe, and that goes for people who are evacuating from their towns or staying, insurance expert Fred Karlinski said.

“Insurance papers, life papers, passports, marriage certificates (and) things like that,” he said.

Next on the list: Document the house, inside and out.
The best thing you can do is document your belongings, then do something with the video. Don’t leave it on your phone, insurance experts said.

Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis suggested emailing the photos or video to yourself.

“Put them in a virtual place,” he said. “Who knows, you might lose your phone. The phone battery may be dead. It may get waterlogged. Who knows?”

Citizens Insurance advises its customers not to sign a contract with anyone without first calling your agent or the company.

“The danger of signing something in haste is, you don’t know what you are signing,” said Michael Peltier, of Citizens Insurance. “You may be signing away your rights to handle your own claim, and we don't think that’s a good idea.”

As many as 200,000 insurance adjusters are now on standby.

“They’ll create little villages,” Patronis said. “We’ll create one to go out there to help the outreach of connecting people together and filing the claims process to get them back to some normalcy.”

In the end, everyone’s advice mirrors the governor’s: Be safe first and then worry about everything else later.