Prep for Hurricanes in Florida: Review your Insurance Policy

With hurricane season approaching its peak, residents of Florida – one of the states usually hit hardest by hurricanes – should take steps to verify that they have hurricane insurance, as well as determine what is included in their hurricane coverage. It is important to make sure the deductible listed on the policy is correct and affordable; according to the Florida Insurance Council, most Floridians carry a 2 percent hurricane deductible. It is also important to make sure the property is insured for a high-enough value.

Depending upon the policy, either replacement value or market value will be covered for the structure itself and the contents from damages caused by things such as wind damage. Replacement value is recommended to make sure the homeowner receives enough money from a claim to replace all the items lost to the storm, even though it will likely make the cost of the coverage more expensive.

Homeowners policies do not ordinarily cover damages caused by flooding, and typically a separate flood policy must be purchased to insure against this type of loss. There is a 30-day wait period for flood insurance to become effective, so flood policies should be bought early. In fact, all hurricane coverage should be reviewed before the hurricane is at your doorstep.

Some insurers will not write new policies or allow homeowners to change existing policies when a storm is pending in the local area. In many cases, with companies such as Citizens – one of the largest insurance companies in the state of Florida – purchasing policies or changing terms of insurance ceases as soon as the National Weather Service advises of the existence of a tropical storm, hurricane watch, or hurricane warning. This applies when there is a watch or warning anywhere in Florida, so all Floridians need to be careful to check their policies well in advance of an impending tropical storm or hurricane.