Top 7 hurricane coverage questions as Dorian moves away from Florida

(WSVN) - We did not feel the full fury of Dorian, but the hurricane did cause problems for some South Floridians — and that meant questions from many of you, which leads us to a very unusual Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.

It’s hard to say South Florida was fortunate when you see how horribly the Bahamas got hit, and while the focus now is helping the people in that area, there are South Floridians who still had headaches, concerns and questions about Dorian.

Howard Finkelstein was not available on Wednesday, so we asked three experts in their field to come in and help us out.

Let’s begin with attorney Duane E. Baum regarding shutters.

Duane, do residents have the right to put up shutters in an apartment they rent?

Duane E. Baum, attorney: “Well, the first place that a renter should look would be to look to the lease, see if there is anything in the lease that discusses the shutters, that discusses who is responsible for the windows. Now, if there is nothing in there, regarding that tenant, the renter would have a good argument that he could put up the shutters because it’s for his protection.”

Duane, you are a condo owner. Your association says you cannot put up shutters? Can you?

Duane E. Baum: “The law is very clear that you cannot prevent an owner from putting up shutters. What they may be able to do is give you specifications on what type of shutters you should put up, but they cannot prevent you from putting up shutters.”

Let’s turn from Duane to Aryeh Fraser, who I am not related to, with some insurance questions.

Aryeh, I got a call from a viewer that said her insurance company cancelled her as Dorian was forming because she had sued the insurance company after Irma. Can they do that?

Aryeh Fraser, Fraser Property and Adjusting: “Well, I don’t know all the facts and the circumstances there, but in general, using a catastrophe situation that is currently in dispute, which is clearly an act of God, that would not be appropriate.”

Aryeh, Dorian brought a lot of rain that might have damaged your roof. Can your insurance company say, since the storm didn’t hit, they aren’t responsible?

Aryeh Fraser: “Let’s talk about that assumption that Dorian didn’t hit us. In some Florida areas, especially in the areas that are close to the coast, Dorian did hit. Damages were created by the winds, the wind gusts, which then, with the water entering the property, would be considered covered by most insurance policies that would include coverage for windstorms.”

A couple of travel questions, and Gus Machado was nice enough to come in here.

Gus, viewers said they were going on a cruise ship to the Bahamas. They couldn’t go to the Bahamas, but the cruise ship still went out. If they didn’t want to go, can they get their money back?

Gus Machado, Brickell Travel: “Absolutely. They were very acceptable about you exchanging your cruise, either getting your money back or exchanging it for a future cruise.”

Patrick Fraser: “They were that easy?”

Gus Machado: “They were that easy about it, yes.”

Your flight was supposed to go to the Bahamas, let’s say Thursday or Friday. You said, “No, they are going to get hit. I don’t want to go.” Do you get a refund there?

Gus Machado: “The airlines have been very cooperative also. They understand the situation that’s been going on. You can either request a refund, or you can ask for a future voucher for a trip for the future.”

Back over to you, Duane. We heard from viewers who bought hurricane supplies like plywood. They want to take it back to the store. Can they get their money back?

Duane E. Baum: “The first thing you need to do is, you need to check the store policy. Also, you could look at the receipt. A lot of times, if there’s any type of return policy, it will be on the receipt. If there’s no sign, nothing, you’ve looked at receipt and it doesn’t make any reference to that, you should have the opportunity to return them.”

Thank you all for coming in to help us. We appreciate it.

We were lucky in South Florida. The people in the Bahamas were not, if there’s anything you can do to help them, please help them.

CONTACT HELP ME HOWARD:
Email: helpmehoward@wsvn.com
Reporter: Patrick Fraser at pfraser@wsvn.com
Miami-Dade: 305-953-WSVN
Broward: 954-761-WSVN

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