3 insurance tips for homeowners post-Hurricane Ian

Illustration of a welcome mat that says SIGHH instead of welcome.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Hurricane Ian has put a spotlight on Florida’s messy home insurance industry. But homeowners don’t have to fight the insurance battle alone.

State of play: Bo Williamson, the founder of Noble Public Adjusting Grouptold Axios he’s taking his web show “Insurance Wars” to parts of Southwest Florida hardest hit by Ian to help people navigate losses to their homes and businesses.

  • “Insurance is generally boring to people but insurance claims are anything but,” Williamson said. “People’s entire lives are destroyed and insurance doesn’t want to pay, so everything is riding on us to come in and save the day and be the hero.”
  • People interested in being on the show can fill out a form on the company‘s website. Williamson said he charges a 10% contingency fee, but also noted that claims with a public adjuster get paid out 747% more money than claims without a public adjuster, according to a government report.

The big picture: Hurricane Ian likely caused $53 billion to $74 billion in insured losses from Florida to the Carolinas.

Willilamson shared a few pieces of advice for homeowners to keep in mind.

1. Become an expert on insurance, or hire one, like an adjuster, as soon as you know you’ll file a claim.

  • “Insurance companies have experts that are seasoned to help them,” he said. “The policy holders need to realize they too need experts. At the end of the day, when two of the experts go up against each other, the insurance company is going to give.”

2. Don’t wait on approval. Resources that are in demand after a big storm, like storage or housing, are standard reimbursements for homeowners insurance policies. Don’t waste time finding a place to stay or to put your belongings by waiting for your insurance to approve the expenses, Williamson said.

3. Don’t pay more than you have to. Reach out to your insurance company to have them assess your damaged property before paying for any individual fixes.

  • A common mistake Williamson sees is people paying for repairs without realizing that their insurance company might deem their property a total loss. Then, “all you’ve done is shortened yourself that money off your brand-new rebuild,” he said.

Go deeper: More post-Ian insurance tips

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