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Insurer: ‘File a claim. It won’t count against you’

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Sept. 13, 2017 – It might sound strange, but the founder and president of one of Florida’s major insurance companies has a message for anyone who thinks they might have sustained damage from Hurricane Irma:

“File a claim. It won’t count against you.”

Security First Insurance founder and president Locke Burt said he recently heard someone on TV urge property owners not to file claims for minor property damage because that could cause their rates to increase in the future.

For non-hurricane-related claims, that’s true, Burt said. Several non-weather-related claims filed within a few years will indeed place customers in a higher risk class, and thus, trigger higher insurance rates.

But the notion that filing an insurance claim for hurricanes will increase premiums in the future is an urban myth, Burt said.

“Hurricane Irma is an act of God,” Burt said. “Insurance companies handle acts of God differently. They don’t count against you. You need to file your claim. It doesn’t hurt you.”

Even if a claim is so minor – a broken window, lost roof tiles, or a dented garage door for example – that it won’t exceed a policyholder’s annual hurricane deductible, you should still report that damage, Burt said.

That’s because even if you receive no money from that $1,000 claim, if there’s another hurricane this year and your deductible is $2,000, “you only have $1,000 to go,” he said.

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