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Prepare now for future insurance claims; look out for price gouging

Better Call Behnken

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Florida officials warn that now is the time to make sure you are prepared to file an insurance claim. They also warn against price gouging and those looking to take advantage of homeowners in need.

Attorney General Ashley Moody has activated her price gouging hotline to protect consumers.

During a declared state of emergency, Florida law prohibits extreme increases in essentials like food, water, hotels, ice, gas and lumber.

Violators can be fined $1,000 per violation and up to a total of $25,000 for multiple violations within a 24-hour period. Florida’s CFO Jimmy Patronis called Investigative Reporter Shannon Behnken to make sure our viewers are prepared for gougers and scammers.

“I know it’s a supply and demand kind of environment, but we’re talking about human needs, we’re talking about evacuation, people’s lives,” Patronis said.

Patronis warns against hiring contractors without going through your insurance agent.

“They are probably going to ask you for cash. You can kiss that cash goodbye,” he said. “There’s no way you’ll be able to get any type of reimbursement.”

Patronis says homeowners should take photos and video around the home and of valuables before the storm hits.

“The flooring, the wall coverings, the TVs,” Patronis said. “Those type of things you just cannot remember to your head when it comes time to file a claim, but if you’ve got photo evidence, it makes the claim pretty black and white.”

And don’t just stick to inside. The number one claim is roof damage. Document the eaves of your home. Your insurance agent will want to see it.

“They count shingles,” Patronis said. “So if you’ve got a video of the out eaves of your house and then you show there’s no damage to it, and then three days later after the storm hits because a tree has fallen on it. That’s the type of proof that you can carry forward with the adjustment process, then you can be assured you get the dollars you deserve.”

You can call (866) 9NO-SCAM or report through the app No Scam.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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