It’s Hurricane Season: Checked Your Insurance Policy?

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June is here, which means it’s time for sunscreen, bathing suits, sweet tea, and of course, hurricane season. From June 1 to November 30, homeowners need to be prepared. State Farm Public Affairs Specialist Jose Soto advises homeowners to review their insurance policies before the season begins to ensure they have adequate coverage. It’s crucial to understand what is covered and what is not.

The impact of major hurricanes like Ian, Irma, and Andrew is well-known to Floridians. These storms can cause extensive damage, from power outages to the need for new roofs. Last season, Hurricane Ian devastated homes along Florida’s west coast and even reached as far inland as Hardee County. The destruction was so severe that the name Ian was permanently retired.

Hurricane Ian resulted in over 150 deaths and was the deadliest storm in nearly nine decades. It caused $12 billion in damages, making it the most expensive hurricane in Florida’s history and the third costliest in the United States, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Many residents, especially newcomers to Florida, mistakenly assume that their homeowner’s insurance covers water damage caused by hurricanes. However, flood insurance is necessary to protect against floods, even if they result from a storm, as clarified by NOAA.

The National Flood Insurance Program warns that just one inch of water in a home can lead to $25,000 worth of damage. Landlords may have flood insurance for their buildings, but the contents inside are the responsibility of the renters to insure.

It’s important to note that there is a 30-day waiting period for flood insurance policies. Adding a new policy or refinancing a house and including flood insurance still requires this waiting period. Once a storm has been named, insurance companies typically won’t write new homeowner policies.

For those seeking flood insurance, the National Flood Insurance Program through the Federal Emergency Management Agency is often the primary option. Renters should also review their insurance policies for coverage details. Additionally, both homeowners and renters should create a digital inventory of their valuable possessions, including pictures of receipts and serial numbers. Keeping these records, along with copies of insurance policies, in a fireproof and waterproof safe is a wise precaution.

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