With the 2020 Hurricane Season looming at the start of June, Florida Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis offered a reminded this week on how critical it is to prepare now before the next storm takes aim at the Sunshine State.
Experts are already predicting an active storm season, and homeowners insurance policies may contain limitations and exclusions, so it is important consumers review their policies now to understand their coverages going into hurricane season.
“As Florida communities continue to face the impacts of COVID-19, unfortunately severe weather and hurricanes do not care that we’re responding to a pandemic. If you haven’t already, conduct a disaster preparedness check-up and make sure you are prepared for the 2020 Hurricane Season by checking your homeowners insurance policy to ensure you are adequately covered. Now is the time to make sure your home and family are protected. Do not wait until a storm is approaching, it may be too late. Visit my website at PrepareFL.com for disaster tips and resources,” Patronis said.
The CFO’s office offered the following 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. Get windstorm coverage. Some homeowners insurance policies do not cover damage caused by windstorms, such as hurricanes. If you have trouble obtaining a windstorm policy, you can check with Citizens Property Insurance Corporation, a state-run pool of last resort. Visit CitizensFla.com for more information.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
For additional hurricane financial preparedness tips or resources, visit PrepareFL.com or contact CFO Patronis’ Insurance Consumer Helpline by calling 1-877-MY-FL-CFO (693-5236).