TAMPA, Florida – Floridians are becoming more concerned about hurricane season, after enduring four major storms in the past three years, including a category five last year. This year’s hurricane season begins on June 1.
Not enough advanced preparation
According to a recent American Automobile Association (AAA) survey, 92 percent of Floridians are worried about the 2019 Hurricane Season. Nearly one in five (19 percent) are more concerned than last year. Despite growing fears, nearly a quarter of Florida residents do not make advanced preparations for hurricane season or severe weather, even though the recent hurricanes Florence, Michael, Harvey, Irma and Maria caused more than $200 billion in damage, according to Floodsmart.gov.
“If the last few hurricane seasons have taught us anything it’s the importance of being prepared,” said Peter Corrigan, president, Auto Club Insurance Company of Florida. “Although you can’t control the weather, you can take certain precautions to ensure your family and belongings are protected. Storm preparations should include having a storm kit, evacuation plan, and proper insurance coverage, which includes flood insurance.”
21 percent would ignore evacuation warnings
Based on AAA findings, if a named storm were to cause an evacuation, the majority of Floridians (79 percent) would heed official warning and leave their homes. However, of those who would evacuate, more than half (62 percent) say they would only leave for a category three hurricane or greater.
AAA’s Hurricane Preparation Tips
In order to best prepare for the busy hurricane season, which runs from June 1 – November 30, AAA offers the following tips:
- Know Your Evacuation Route – Visit FloridaDisaster.org to track the recommended evacuation route for your region.
- Secure Your Home – Inspect your home for minor repairs needed to roof, windows, down spouts, etc. Trim trees or bushes that could cause damage to your home in case of high winds.
- Make a Plan – Develop a Family Emergency Plan to include ways to contact each other, alternative meeting locations, and an out-of-town contact person. Identify a safe room or safest areas in your home. Research your evacuation route. Be sure and include plans for your pets.
- Take Inventory – Update your home inventory by walking through your home with a video camera or smart phone. Keep a record of large purchases including the cost of the item, when purchased and model and serial numbers as available.
- Stock Emergency Supplies – Plan for a week’s worth of non-perishable food and water. Be sure to have flashlights, extra batteries, battery-powered radio, medications, first aid kit, blankets, toiletries, diapers, etc. You may also want to prepare a portable kit and keep in your car should you evacuate.
- Protect Your Property – Review your homeowners insurance policy with your insurance agent to determine whether you have adequate protection. Discuss your deductibles. Be aware that flood insurance is not typically covered under your homeowner’s policy. Flooding coverage for your automobile is available under the physical damage coverage.
Flooding is #1 disaster in the United States
The two biggest sources of hurricane damage are wind and torrential rain resulting in flooding. Flooding is the number one disaster in the United States.
- Homes in low risk zones account for nearly 20 percent of flood claims every year.
- Just one inch of flooding can cause $25k in damage to your home.
- 57% of Floridians are concerned about experiencing flooding at their home.
- 19% of Floridians have experienced flooding at their home.
- 21% of Floridians are unaware that homeowner’s insurance does not cover flood damage.
- Flood insurance policies can cost less than a dollar per day.
Despite the risk, nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of Floridians do not have flood insurance, which is separate from homeowners insurance. A ‘preferred risk’ flood insurance policy costing less than a dollar a day will cover $100,000 in structural damage and $40,000 for damage to contents inside the home.
“Nearly half of residents in Florida do not realize there is a 30-day waiting period for new flood policies to take effect,” Corrigan said. “So, if you wait until a named storm is moving in your direction, you will be too late. Now is the time to check with your insurance agent to ensure you are covered before the busy storm season begins.”