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What to expect after filing a storm-related insurance claim

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Posted at 1:12 PM, Oct 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-04 16:12:03-04

TAMPA, Fla. (WFTS) — Catastrophic events, like Hurricane Ian, can create an insurance claims surge.

Experts like Daryl Patrick, owner of the Tampa Bay Insurance Center, said homeowners with minor clams could be waiting weeks for an adjuster.

“They are going to go to the most devastated homes first,” he said. “They'll send somebody out, but you may not see someone for a week or two.”

In this scenario, Patrick advises doing what you can to minimize the damage. He said it's also important to keep receipts for any money spent prior to a settlement. Patrick also advises getting estimates on what it will cost to fix the damage. If the cost is less than the deductible, he said there's no point in filing a claim.

Industry experts said insurers should be able to cover Ian’s losses. There are over 7 million insurance policies in Florida and the state's largest carrier, Citizens Property Insurance Corporation, holds over 1 million of them.

But what should you do if you run into a roadblock with your insurer?

Consumer attorney Charles Gallagher said most property insurance policies have a mediation or arbitration clause.

“It would be a pre-suit mediation provision that's non-binding, where all parties come together with a mediator,” he said. “The other provisions are called appraisal, and it really is more like an arbitration.”

Neither the appraisal nor mediation requires a person to hire an attorney.

This story was originally reported by Jackie Callaway on abcactionnews.com.