Insurance claims: What to do before, after storm

Chief financial officer reminding everyone to be aware of insurance scams

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – While it might be too late to make changes to your insurance policy ahead of Hurricane Dorian, there are some steps to consider taking after the storm to make the process of reporting damage seamless, should that be necessary.

Jimmy Patronis, Florida's chief financial officer, spoke to News4Jax on Wednesday and became emotional when talking about the damage he saw in his hometown of Panama City after Hurricane Michael. Being ready to make a claim with your insurance as soon as the storm passes is what will make a difference.

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"You need to get a copy of your policy. I'd put it in a Ziploc bag," Patronis said. 

Then, it's time to document.

"Everyone has a smartphone nowadays. Take a video of the outside of your house, the inside of your house. Talk about it in the middle of it, and then email it to yourself," Patronis said.

As soon as a storm passes, damage can be assessed. You should call your insurance company first and beware of scammers.

"If it sounds too good to be true, it is," Patronis said. "Storms will bring out the absolute best in people, and it brings out the absolute worst in others. You will have individuals the day after the storm hits knocking on your door, asking you to sign documents or pleading to have cash to do services. You can't take the bait."

If you have homeowners insurance, make sure they are your first call to make a claim, as you pay them every month in preparation for a disaster.

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