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AAA Advice for Florida Homeowners with Flood-Damaged Property

AAA provides important insurance and safety advice; urges residents to be leery of deceptive contractors

The insruance expets at AAA are providing important advice for South Florida residents who may have suffered flood damage last week.

What to do After Severe Weather Passes

  1. Document damage as soon as conditions are safe. Take photographs and videos for your insurance claim and personal records. The more documentation you have, the easier it is to file your claim.
  2. Contact your insurance company immediately to begin the claims process.
  3. Prevent further damage. Do only what's necessary to prevent further damage, such as covering broken windows with plastic or getting a pro to cover the roof with tarps to keep rain out.
  4. Document expenses and keep receipts for any preliminary repairs, displacement or other out-of-pocket expenses related to the claim, which can count toward your deductible. This could include tree removal, tarps, ice chests for food, overnight stay in a hotel, etc.
  5. Be leery of contractors who go door-to-door offering repair services and promising to file an insurance claim on your behalf.
  6. Hire a licensed contractor to do the repairs after an insurance adjuster has reviewed the damage.

Be Leery of Unlicensed or Deceptive Contractors

AAA cautions residents about the potential of contractor fraud. The aftermath of a severe storm creates the opportunity for scammers and unlicensed contractors to take advantage of those who need help.

"While some of these workers may be honest and reputable, we often hear awful stories about people who were taken advantage of at their most vulnerable time," said Bobby Futch, Vice President of Claims for AAA – The Auto Club Group.

Dishonest contractors may try to profit by:

  • Accepting payment then never completing (or even showing up for) the job.
  • Using inferior materials or performing work that's not up to code.

Red Flags to Watch For:

  • Contractor shows up unsolicited.
  • Points out damage you have not previously noticed.
  • Asks for full payment up front and/or in cash only.
  • Promises services at no charge to you or offers to waive your insurance deductible.
  • Pressures you to encourage your family, friends, or neighbors to hire them for services.
  • Offers you a discount for letting them use leftover materials from a previous job.

AAA's Advice for Hiring a Contractor

  • Before hiring someone to make repairs, contact your insurance company to file your claim and ensure the damage is covered by your policy.
  • Work only with licensed and insured contractors.
  • Get itemized written estimates from at least three different licensed, insured contractors.
  • Before you sign any paperwork and before a contractor starts work, allow your insurance company to come out and inspect the damages first.

Get a Free Homeowners Insurance Review

"What happened in Fort Lauderdale is an unfortunate reminder that flooding can happen anytime and anywhere in Florida, and the risk gets even higher as we approach hurricane season," said Mark Jenkins, Public Relations Manager for AAA - The Auto Club Group. "Since homeowner's insruance policies do not cover flooding, talk to an agent now about a flood insurance plan. Remember, there's a 30-day waiting period on new policies, so don't put it off too long."

Florida residents can contact a licensed AAA insurance agent to receive a free review of their current home insurance policy. During the review, agents will assess any changes in the consumer's lifestyle and advise if they are getting the best rate and all the available discounts. This is called the AAA Triple Check™ and it's available to everyone, including homeowners not insured by AAA. To learn more, visit AAA.com/Insurance.

About AAA - The Auto Club Group

The Auto Club Group (ACG) is the second largest AAA club in North America with more than 13 million members across 14 U.S. states, the province of Quebec and two U.S. territories. ACG and its affiliates provide members with roadside assistance, insurance products, banking and financial services, travel offerings and more. ACG belongs to the national AAA federation with more than 62 million members in the United States and Canada. AAA's mission is to protect and advance freedom of mobility and improve traffic safety. For more information, get the AAA Mobile app, visit AAA.com, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.