Critics thought that the storm was hyped too much because for such a long time, it was known only as a TD9. Now, Hurricane Hermine has made landfall as a Category One Hurricane just east of St. Marks, Florida but the impact that this storm has caused severe impacts many counties. A state of emergency has already been declared for 51 counties in Florida.

This storm is a level 1 out of 5 on the scale, but this slow moving storm has organized and brought with it extra high tidal flow, power outages, tornados, tropical cyclones, massive rains, storm surge flooding, coastal flooding, lightning batches, and high winds.

The rain bands of the hurricane came before and continue even now that Hermine has made landfall. Within these rain bands, Floridians are experiencing the strong winds and some have had to take cover from the cyclones/tornados.

Friday is still a day of storm activity in Florida as the storm moves northeast. Since Hermine is moving slowly and has feeder bands on the tail, we are not in the clear yet. News reports show that this storm has had an impact in so many different cities (on the coast and inland) and even the early reports show significant power outages, resident rescues, buildings filled with water, and trees crashing into homes or causing closed roads.

It can’t be stressed enough to take extra care to protect your family and property.

Storm Professionals can help but beware of Scammers

After the storm clears, it is important to stabilize our homes and businesses and minimize our damages. My advice is to always take photos and don’t throw things away! Also, beware of scammers who are trying to take advantage of this state of emergency, and make sure you hire only licensed and reputable companies.

Our state heavily regulates public insurance adjusters and limits the amount you will have to pay for an adjuster to assist you with the claim so Floridians are protected. Experienced public adjusters are trained on how to assist with hurricane claims.

However, when it comes to storm clean up companies, the regulations are not the same. Be very cautious and make sure you don’t unintentionally give away your benefits for the insurance claim if that was not intended. Ask whether the work authorization is limited or whether it is a complete assignment of insurance benefits. Don’t let a company bully you into giving away your entire claim. It is absolutely appropriate that you find out a range of costs before you hire any company. Don’t just sign documents because you are flustered or stressed. You have rights and choices when it comes to who can fix your property and often times the dry-out company should be limited to doing the dry-out but is ill-equipped to do the construction. But with your insurance proceeds that company will hold the power. Again, don’t just sign documents without careful thought and review.

It is often a good idea to call a licensed insurance professional and get a second opinion.

  • shirley heflin

    Dear Ms. Vinson:

    After reading Mr. Merlin’s “10 TIPS FOR FLOOD INSURANCE CLAIMS” this morning and now reading your article this afternoon, it appears that it cannot be stressed enough that people (Insureds) should BE CAREFUL WHAT THEY SIGN, BE CAREFUL WHO THEY HIRE and that they consider hiring a licensed public adjuster to help them figure this “stuff” out and properly document their loss for claims submittal.

    Respectfully,
    Shirley Heflin
    Tampa, FL