Unbelievable repair deals called likely frauds; FL Insurance Dept. offers tips

Unbelievable repair deals called likely frauds; FL Insurance Dept. offers tips
Posted at 12:01 PM, Sep 12, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-12 08:37:17-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) - State officials are advising Floridians to be aware of unlicensed people offering unbelievable deals to repair their homes.

"If an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is and could be fraud," said Chief Financial officer Jimmy Patronis. "Opportunistic scammers may attempt to defraud Floridians following Hurricane Irma, and I encourage all Floridians to be vigilant in guarding against fraud."

He and insurance commissioner David Altmaier are encouraging Floridians to promptly notify their insurance companies of claims.

The officials offered consumers tips on navigating the insurance claims process:

  • Notify your insurance company first. Many insurance companies have reporting deadlines.
  • Take steps to make temporary repairs that prevent further damage, but remain in contact with your insurance company regarding any outside vendors that are brought in to make repairs.
  • If you need help locating contact information for your insurance company, call the Insurance Consumer Helpline at 1-877-693-5236.
  • While making temporary repairs, obtain the licensing or training credentials of all third-party vendors before signing any work agreements.
  • Beware of fly-by-night repair companies and hire only licensed and reputable vendors. Use the Department of Business and Professional Regulation’s Contractor License lookup to make sure all contractors are properly licensed and bonded. 
  • Fully review all documentation you are asked to sign and ask questions to make sure you understand the agreements you are signing. Ask specifically who is responsible for paying the vendor, you as the consumer, or your insurance company. For more information about how an assignment of benefits (AOB) for repairs works, visit the DFS “AOB” or Office “AOB Resources” webpages.
  • If considering the assistance of a public insurance adjuster, ask for identification to verify that the adjuster is licensed. Visit CFO Patronis’ Hurricane Irma Insurance Resources website to verify the license of any Florida insurance agent or adjuster.
  • Understand how much a public insurance adjuster charges as well as what services are included before signing any contract.
  • If you suspect fraud or suspicious activity, report it immediately by calling 1-877-693-5236. Your concerns will be referred to insurance fraud investigators.

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Copyright 2017 WTXL via Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.

Copyright 2017 WTXL via Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.