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Water effects Key West-Keep abreast

Old 10-30-2005, 02:35 PM
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Default Water effects Key West-Keep abreast

But the experts plead patience

Flooded floors or a missing roof have created a state of insurance anxiety through much of the Florida Keys, say insurance agents.

The best cure, they advise: A little more patience.

“If you can't get through to Citizens [Property Insurance], remember that half of Florida is trying to get through to Citizens right now,” said Robert Morgan, owner of Hampson Insurance.

“Within about two weeks, I think we'll be OK as the companies get more support mechanisms in place,” Morgan said. “But right now, everybody's a little on edge. That's understandable, but remember, we're only ... days after the hurricane.”

Derek Martin-Vegue, president of Keys Insurance, said he got the first word Thursday that insurance-company adjusters are headed for Monroe County.

“The cavalry is coming,” he said. “The problem is that they've been having trouble finding motel rooms. But they should be here within a few days.”

With thousands of claims expected to be filed from the Keys for wind or flood damage from Hurricane Wilma - two separate policies with different companies, in most cases - it could take a while for property inspection.

Agents said if there is any question about which insurance policy will apply, contact the company that sold the policies.

“If the roof has been ripped off, the storm surge didn't do it,” Morgan said. “But if it's not obvious whether its wind or water damage, trust the agents.”

Martin-Vegue said most of the damage claims he's seen from the Middle and Lower Keys have been from flooding caused by the high storm surge that flowed in from Florida Bay.

“We started taking claims on Monday, and it's been steady since,” he said. “We've expanded our hours but we haven't had to take extreme measures yet.”

Only two of the company's 12 telephone lines into the Marathon office were working by Thursday, forcing agents to rely on personal cell phones, he noted.

Hampson Insurance, with offices in Key Largo and Big Pine Key, had received from 300 to 400 claims as of mid-day Thursday, Morgan said.

“We'll get more. I don't think everybody is back down here,” Morgan said. “Some people haven't seen their property yet.”

“In the Upper Keys, it's about 75 percent wind damage and 25 percent flood,” he said. “From Marathon south, it's closer to 50-50.”

Residents who need to file a claim for insured damages should:

First, take photos of the damage for documentation. “You cannot take too many pictures,” Martin-Vegue said. “If you need to throw out a damaged carpet, you don't need to keep the whole thing but you should keep a couple good-sized pieces of it.”

Take steps necessary to prevent further damage, such as putting a tarp on a damaged roof or boarding a shattered window. Costs for immediate repairs, and things such as carpet-cleaner rentals, are usually covered.

“Sandbags are a reimbursable expense,” Martin-Vegue said. “Some people spent significant money on sandbagging.”

Keep all receipts to present to the insurance adjuster.

Check the policy for specific details. Many policies include a deductible of 2 percent to 5 percent of the insured value.

Most vehicles with comprehensive coverage likely are covered for flood damage, but terms of specific policies may vary. If the owner has only the state-minimum liability insurance, the vehicle would not be covered.
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Old 10-30-2005, 03:53 PM
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Default Re: Water effects Key West-Keep abreast

For those who have been asking me about Keys Fisheries and the Island.....this is Keys Fisheries and the Island restaurant looked the same at the other end of Marathon. (and everything in-between)
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Old 10-30-2005, 04:57 PM
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