Contractor Fraud Tips and Property Damage Information

September 14, 2017 \\ In The News

 The Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI) is committed to helping you and your constituents recover from the devastation caused by Hurricane Irma. If you or your constituents have sustained damage, call your insurer as soon as possible.  Below, I have provided PCI's Storm Recovery Tips, Contractor Fraud Tips, and Flood Damaged Vehicles Tips. Additional tips can be found on PCI's Flood Headquarters Page and PCI's Hurricane Headquarters Page.

PCI is also pushing out real-time information on our social media websites. Follow us on Twitter @PCIAA.

PCI is here throughout the year to provide resources on both preparation and recover from natural disaster events. Please let me know how we can better serve your office.

PCI Storm Recovery Tips:

  • Secure property from further damage or theft.
  • Contact your insurance agent or company representative as soon as possible to report damage.
  • Inventory losses and photograph damage to provide to your insurance adjuster. Save receipts for any temporary repairs you make.
  • If you are a business owner, keep detailed records of business activity that is negatively affected due to the tornado or storm, and keep a list of extra expenses during the interruption. Prepare records to show the income from the business before and after the loss.
  • Many standard homeowners and renters policies provide reimbursement of additional living expenses when the property is determined to be uninhabitable due to damage. This provision helps with paying for increases to necessary living expenses such as temporary housing and restaurant meals. In addition, extra expenses, such as overnight parking and laundry services may also be covered. Additional living expense coverage does not pay for all living expenses, so contact your insurance company or agent for a list of what your policy will cover.
  • Be careful about unscrupulous contractors following a natural disaster. Contact your insurer, agent or local business bureau for references on potential contractors and ask for certificates of liability and workers compensation before signing contracts. Additional contractor fraud tips can be found here - Contractor Fraud Tips.

PCI Flood Damaged Vehicles Tips:

  • First and foremost, it is important to note that water damage to a vehicle is typically covered under an auto policy's comprehensive insurance coverage.
  • Vehicle owners should be cautious about attempting to start a vehicle that has been exposed to flood waters and report any missing vehicles to the police.
  • Vehicle owners whose vehicles have been damaged by flooding should take the following steps:
    • If the water got above the floor boards, or the seats are wet, don't try to start the car. The electrical system is the most sensitive to water damage, and trying the start the car could cause more damage.
    • Open the hood and check the air filter, which is easy to find under the hood. If it's wet, do not try to start the car.
    • Report the loss to the covering insurer, and protect the car from further damage by covering any broken windows, etc.
  • Consumers can also do numerous things to avoid buying a flooded vehicle, particularly in cases of vehicles that have been improperly retitled:
    • Check the vehicle history at www.vehiclehistory.orgwww.nicb.org or via car fax.
    • Ask the dealer or seller if the vehicle has been damaged before, ask to see the title and check for brands like "flood damaged" or "rebuilt salvage."
    • Check the carpets and the seats for signs of moisture, especially the carpet in the trunk. If the carpets and upholstery is dry, does it look newer than the rest of the vehicle? Replacing seat covers and carpet may conceal water damage.
    • Look for signs of corrosion or rust, particularly on the door hinges, hood springs and in the door opening where the door meets the body.
    • Is there a moldy smell, or is the smell of cleaning products or air fresheners too pungent?
    • Check the oil and the air filter for signs of water.
    • Look at the headlights and tail lights; moisture can be trapped inside, making them appear foggy.
    • Check anyplace where debris might settle after the water drains, such as wheel wells, in the seating tracks, under the spare tire, etc.Get a professional to inspect the car or ask to take the car to a mechanic for a thorough inspection.

Additional information can be found on PCI's Hurricane Headquarters Page.

PCI Resources:

PCI Flood Tips

2017 Interactive Home Inventory Guide

PCI 2017 Have A Plan Insurance Checklist

2017 Hurricane Fact Sheet

Contractor Fraud Tips

PCI Member Company Toll-Free Policyholder Claim Phone Numbers

PCI Public Policy Solutions for Catastrophe Insurance

Other Resources:

National Hurricane Center (Check the current weather patterns here.)

FEMA

National Flood Insurance Program

Weather Ready Nation: Hurricanes

Red Cross – Preparing for Hurricanes

Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety