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Florida Public Adjuster - Hurricane Alex Signals Strong Start to Storm Season

As Hurricane Alex gains strength before making landfall, Florida public adjusters Tutwiler and Associates outline three vital ways homeowners can protect their property in advance of what promises to be a busy storm season.
June 28, 2010 / TAMPA, Fla. / 

April 28, 2010 / TAMPA /As the first named storm of what is expected to be a busier than normal hurricane season, Hurricane Alex is serving as a wake-up call for property owners across the Gulf Coast that it’s time to think about storm preparation. Forecasters say the storm won’t pose a threat to the Sunshine State, but for Florida public adjusters Charles R. Tutwiler and Associates, Hurricane Alex is still an educational tool.

The licensed and certified public adjusters say there are three things every property owner should know about their property insurance that could save them thousands of dollars in the event of a storm and ease the frustration of handling a claim after a storm: Deductibles, Exclusions, and Responsibilities.

“Every policy could be different,” says Charles R. “Dick” Tutwiler, founder and CEO of Charles R. Tutwiler and Associates. “What are your deductibles? Is it a standard deduction or is it a hurricane deductible based on a percentage? Too often, we hear stories of people who don’t know their coverage details until after a storm, and by then, it’s too late.”

Tutwiler references an average $200,000 home in Florida with two different types of deductibles:

  • With a standard deductible, a property owner might just have to pay up to $500 for any repairs or construction.
  • But with the percentage model, some property owners could have to pay 7% of the value of their property – in this case, $14,000.

 

“That’s a big difference for a property owner,” Tutwiler says. “Basically, you are self-insuring your property up to your deductible so you need to understand what the parameters are in advance.”

In addition to knowing the finer details of one’s insurance policy, understanding the policy’s exclusions is also vital. Pollution is a common exclusion, which could include oil damage caused by flooding if a storm moves oil further on shore from the BP Deepwater Horizon spill. There are also exclusions that apply to exterior paint and even screen enclosures, and any Gulf Coast resident knows just how common these structures are in their region.

“Just as residents got a surprise in the wake of Hurricane Katrina when they didn’t have protection from flood damage, we could be looking at another surprise with damage from the oil spill reaching inland,” says Tutwiler. “It’s always better to know the exclusions and how they apply before you need your policy to help.”

The third important piece of storm preparation is an understanding of what is expected of a property owner in the event of a storm. Before severe weather strikes, home and business owners should do what is called a pre-loss documentation of their property and assets. This can be done with a video or still camera, and includes visual proof of their property conditions. Once the storm has passed, the property owner should separate their damaged and undamaged items before conducting another round of video or photo documentation. In order to avoid being penalized for any settlement amounts, property owners must ease further damages once the storm has passed.

“The mitigation process after any property loss is a critical time,” says Tutwiler. “We call the property owner’s responsibilities the three ‘P’s’: Preserve, Protect, and Prevent. Preserve the documentation of your damaged property, protect the property that remains, and prevent the exacerbation of the damage by any reasonable means.”

Tutwiler says this information is generally a surprise to prospective clients because property owners are unaware they actually have duties after suffering property damage. That is why his team of certified and licensed public adjusters is more than just loss adjusters and loss appraisers; they are educators who strive to create an informed clientele who know their rights and responsibilities as property owners.

CONTACT:
Tutwiler and Associates
Email:
Phone: (800) 321-4488
For more information, please visit www.PublicAdjuster.com

About Tutwiler and Associates: Tutwiler and Associates is a firm of public adjusters licensed in 10 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands specializing in commercial and residential property loss adjusting. With well in excess of $113 million in client success stories over a 27-year history, the Florida public adjusters work exclusively on behalf of policyholders to help them achieve the maximum settlement amounts they can fairly and honestly recover based on their loss and their policy provisions. Professional help from the adjusters at Tutwiler and Associates can help clients obtain a fair recovery under their policy. The Gulf Coast based public adjuster firm is committed to public service and strives to educate its clients about commercial and residential windstorm and hurricane losses, flood damage, fire, smoke and water damage, collapse, hidden decay and mold losses, sinkholes, loss of stock, and business interruption.