Preparing For Florida Hurricane Season: Insurance-wise

Preparing For Florida Hurricane Season: Insurance-wise
From 1 June till 30 November every year in Florida, it’s officially Hurricane Season. And that means all Florida homeowners have to prepare and protect themselves in every way possible both physically and financially for the possibility of an upcoming major storm.
Equipping your home with hurricane shutters, stocking up on non-perishable food items and bottled water, and having emergency communications systems and an emergency action plan in place are only half the equation.

Unless you invest in homeowners insurance and ensure you’re insured against hurricane damage, you could suffer a complete, un-reimbursable loss of your biggest investment.

Don’t Wait Till It’s Too Late To Get Insured
Not only is it too late to cover yourself against hurricane damage to your home after that damage has already been done, it could also be difficult to obtain coverage after a major storm has already made landfall in your area.

You can certainly buy homeowners policies that include hurricane protection during hurricane season, but waiting till the last possible moment is never a good idea.

The roof damage, broken doors and windows, smashed up walls, flooded flooring, and destroyed utility infrastructure that hurricanes can cause can cost tens of thousands of dollars to repair. And a total loss of your home is even possible, which would (in effect) wipe out all of your home equity in a single swipe.

That’s clearly far too great a risk to take. Going uninsured during hurricane season is a no-win proposition.

Carefully Examine Your Homeowners’ Policy
But don’t just assume that any homeowners insurance policy will do. You need to verify that hurricane damage is covered.

Don’t remove your windstorm and contents coverage. Those are the two biggest losses you’re likely to sustain during a hurricane. Remember that homeowners insurance typically includes many special types of cover – including contents loss, loss of use, detached structure coverage, fire cover, and more.

A hurricane could impact any and all of these areas of coverage, so you should go over your whole policy with your insurer and consider how each type of coverage would apply in the event of serious hurricane damage.

Customize Your Policy To Your Needs
Skimping on your homeowners policy during hurricane season is a risky proposition. You can get a high deductible plan for a lower premium, but it also means higher out of pocket expenses in the event your house gets hit.

A high deductible in this context would be 10% of the building’s value, while a low deductible might be 1% or 2%. You have to balance affordability with effectiveness here, but don’t cut yourself short.

Remember also that Floridian homes 15 or more years old can cost more to rebuild than meets the eye. That’s because Florida’s current building codes are very strict, and when older buildings have to be rebuilt/repaired to measure up to them, it raises the costs.

Consider Adding Flood Insurance
Finally, note that standard homeowners insurance policies will NOT include flood damage coverage. That means you’ll likely need to buy flood insurance separately from the NFIP or from a private insurer.

Remember that flooding does as much damage as wind and flying objects in a hurricane (and all Florida is a flood zone).

To get a quick, no obligation quote or to get answers to all your questions about how homeowners insurance and hurricanes interrelate, contact Flagler County Insurance Agency today!