Navigating Insurance Claims: Before & After a Storm

The timeliness of this article is impeccable. On August 22, I received a call from Sterling Scott, owner of Trust Public Adjusting Group, who is also a long-time advertiser of ours, about wanting to educate the community on hurricane claim laws, with the conversation specifically in relation to claims involved with Hurricane Ian from 2022.

He informed me that if you had damage to your property during Ian then your timeframe to file an insurance claim ends on September 29, 2024. The amount of time to file a claim recently changed from 2 years to 1 year from the date of the event. So that means while your insurance premiums are going up, your timeline to use their services are being taken away? Am I hearing that right? Yup.

Even though you still have until 2024, he is expecting push back from the insurance companies to enforce the one year limit versus the 2 year time frame. He says, “The law changed from 2 years to 1 year after Hurricane Ian and Nicole and the new law cant be retroactive, so we should be ok for another year. However, it is very important to get your home inspected by a Public Adjuster sooner rather than later due to the problem of late reporting.”

He went on to say how many homeowners don’t even know they have damage and have every right to file a claim for the insurance they pay to protect their home, until it’s too late. Companies like the one Sterling owns represent you, the residential or commercial policyholder.

They offer free home inspections and policy reviews and they don’t get paid unless you do. In fact they won’t advise you to make a claim if they don’t think they have a case.

This was clearly an opportunity knocking at my door. I scheduled a free inspection for my home and then interviewed him at the same time. Talk about a win-win for both of us.

He and his associate Dylan arrived, scanned my home inside and out with a Matterport, a 3D camera that uses virtual tour software, to quickly collect and record data. Dylan controlled it from an app on his phone and as they inspected the property notes were digitally made that corresponded to the scanned image of my home. I was impressed, to say the least.

The entire process was surprisingly simple and I quickly found out Sterling is like an Alexa for claim insurance questions. It’s actually remarkable how much he knows. We completed our interview, after a rooftop photoshoot of course, and went about our week only to learn Tropical Storm Idalia was brewing.

As I write these words, feeder bands from what has now turned into Hurricane Idalia have started to roll in and the reality of the storm arriving, whether severe in our area or not, has set in across the state. Outside prep of loose items have been secured and all last minute errands have been completed… well, to the best of my ability.

Then I went to do what I always do, which is take a quick video of the inside and outside of my property. I honestly don’t remember who told me to do that, however, it is a part of my pre-hurricane prep that I never forget to do. As I started to take my first video, I realized that literally one week prior to that moment I had a 3D scan of the inside and the outside of my home! Now I know I am as prepared as I can be.

When it comes to understanding insurance claims I have to say I feel way more informed than I was even three weeks ago. Do I know everything? Not even close. But I don’t have to, Sterling does. Protect yourself and your home by understanding your policy and partnering with someone who will fight for you.

This issue will go to print a couple hours before Hurricane Idalia is expected to make the most impact in our area. I’m wishing all the best for everyone in this storm’s path. As always, we hope for the best, but prepare for the worst, and if anything should happen, there’s people like Sterling who have our backs.

Trust Public Adjusting Group
Sterling Scott
(386) 456-6885
Serving Volusia County

Tiffany Evers is the editor and co-owner of East Coast Current magazine. In 2014 she was recognized by Editor & Publisher Magazine as one of the “25 Under 35” innovators in the newspaper industry. She currently serves on the Chair of the Recreational and Cultural Services Advisory Board for the City of Edgewater.

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