At the end of last week, Florida Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis issued a statement regarding the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) report that predicts an extremely active hurricane season.
The report states, “this is one of the most active seasonal forecasts that NOAA has produced in its 22-year history of hurricane outlooks,” and expects 19-25 named storms, of which 7-11 will become hurricanes.
“With NOAA recently predicting an extremely active season, I am encouraging those Floridians who have not already prepared to do so now. Florida was lucky to have been spared by Isaias, but there’s plenty of time left in storm season. At the tail end of hurricane season, it was Hurricane Michael that caused extreme devastation to the Panhandle, and we just can’t become complacent when it comes to protecting our loved ones. These storms can develop extremely fast, and I want to ensure everyone is prepared. Visit PrepareFL.com for information and resources before the next storm takes aim at Florida,” Patronis said on Friday.
Patronis’ Insurance Consumer Helpline is available to assist Floridians with insurance-related questions, help you review your policy, understand your coverage, file a claim for damage and offer assistance in the event that you are having trouble communicating with your insurance company. Call the toll-free helpline at 1-877-MY-FL-CFO (693-5236), to talk to a knowledgeable insurance specialist Monday-Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. or visit MyFloridaCFO.com.
Four Hurricane Preparedness Tips
1. Secure flood insurance coverage. Standard homeowners insurance policies don’t cover flood damage. If you live in a flood-prone area, contact your agent about obtaining flood insurance. There are over 30 insurance carriers writing flood insurance in Florida’s private insurance market. Depending on your home’s location, you may qualify to enroll in the federally-administered National Flood Insurance Program.
2. Ensure you are adequately covered. The value of your home and possessions may have increased during the past several years, or you may have made improvements or purchased expensive personal items. Review your insurance policy and check your coverage limits.
3. Consider additional living expense coverage. Additional living expense features of most homeowners policies pay some expenses for losses that leave homes unlivable during repairs. Such expenses could include limited motel, restaurant and storage costs.
4. Do not wait until a storm approaches. Property insurance companies do not accept new applications or requests to increase coverage once a hurricane nears Florida, so it is important not to wait until a storm is imminent to verify coverages. In addition, most flood insurance policies take 30 days to go into effect, so it is vital to act now.