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BE STORM READY

Being proactive and prepared is the best way to protect your home and your family. We at American Traditions Insurance Company are here to assist you before and after Mother Nature throws a punch. Your home and family’s protection are our priority. Hurricane season is June 1st through November 30th, but severe weather can hit your home at any time. In addition to fun and sun, Florida is also known for hurricanes, severely damaging unnamed storms and lightning. By being prepared and proactive, you can greatly reduce the damage to your property and focus your attention on your most valued assets: your home and family.

WHAT IS ASSIGNMENT OF BENEFITS (AOB)?

As a Florida homeowner, it is important that you understand the dangers of signing an Assignment of Benefits (AOB) contract. Recent history has shown that following events such as hurricanes and hail storms, unscrupulous contractors are quick to canvas impacted areas. These contractors typically make promises regarding getting your damages handled, but only if you sign an Assignment of Benefits (AOB) contract with them.

Don’t fall victim to the AOB scheme:
• If you have damage, contact your insurance company FIRST and as soon as possible to file a claim.
• Do not allow a contractor to pressure you into signing ANY contracts or other documents. Talk to your insurance carrier or agent first, in the event of a claim.
• Do not allow a third party, such as a water remediation firm, roofer or contractor, to contact your insurance company on your behalf. You should be the one to make the first contact with your insurance company.
• Be aware if you feel you are being misled into signing an AOB. As a policyholder, you must perform certain obligations under your policy and understand your duties.


Here are some important factors to consider about the dangers of signing an AOB contract:
This information is provided by the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation:
• You will lose all rights to the insurance claim, including the right to mediate the claim or to make any decisions regarding the claim, including repairs.
• There is no right of rescission or cancellation provision with an AOB and once signed, the AOB is a valid contract and you are bound by the provisions of the contract.
• Depending on the language in the AOB, the third party may be able to endorse checks on your behalf.
• Once you have signed an AOB, the third party may file suit against your insurance company, with or without your knowledge.
• You may be subject to property liens, or other financial fees or penalties for failure to comply with the terms and conditions in the AOB.

The unfortunate reality is that these contractors are often only looking out for their own best interest. As your insurance carrier, we are very well equipped to quickly inspect and review your damages, and often times we can provide a reputable contractor that will make the necessary repairs to your satisfaction. We will work with you to be sure that your claim is handled fairly and promptly.
 

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Review your homeowners insurance policy

  • Is your coverage up to date?
  • Have you made any upgrades or additions to your home?
  • Are you comfortable with your current deductibles?
  • Do you have adequate coverage to repair or replace your home?
  • Are contents of your home covered? Is it replacement value or actual cash value?
  • If your home becomes uninhabitable, do you have ALE (Additional Living Expense) coverage?
  • Are you covered in the event of a flood?
    Note: Flood insurance is not effective until 30 days after inception.

 

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Prepare your home

  • Inventory and document the contents of your home.
    (Visit KnowYourStuff.org to create an online inventory)
  • Remove any damaged trees or limbs.
  • Remove any yard debris.
  • Secure patio furniture and lawn ornaments.
  • Secure loose rain gutters and downspouts and clear any clogged areas.
  • Reduce potential damage by retrofitting to secure and reinforce the roof, windows and doors.
  • Secure your doors by installing at least a one inch deadbolt that extends securely in the stud framing.
  • Reinforce garage doors.

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Prepare your family

  • Make a plan before a storm strikes.
  • Determine your evacuation zone and route.
  • Remember to consider your pets when routing an evacuation plan.
  • Fill up your car(s) with gas.
  • Maintain an emergency contact list and share your plans with extended family.
  • Place insurance policies and other important documents in a water tight container.
  • Prepare an emergency supply kit. View complete list

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If you are uncertain about your coverage, contact your local independent agent. They will be happy to review your policy and make recommendations to best protect your home.

Watch vs. Warning

  • “Watch” - hurricane conditions are possible in the designated area within 36 hours.
  • “Warning” - hurricane conditions are expected in the designated area within 24 hours.

Be sure to monitor the storms progress and pay close attention to storm advisories. You can track the storm at http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/ or by watching your local news station.

Preparing your home for evacuation

  • Turn power off at the main switch.
  • Turn water off at the main valve.
  • Lock and secure all windows and doors.

After the Storm

Do not return to your home until it is safe to do so

  • Report any downed power lines to the power company.
  • Do not drink tap water until it has been deemed safe.
  • Throw away any spoiled food.

If your home has sustained any damage

  • Notify your insurance carrier immediately to start the claims process.
  • Make temporary or emergency repairs, such as tarping the roof or boarding up windows.
  • Maintain a record of all receipts for repairs to submit to your insurance carrier.