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Bracing for Peak Hurricane Season

Pekar Law, P.A. Sept. 4, 2016

What steps should I take for prepare for a hurricane?

As the summer slips away, many Floridians are preoccupied with getting back to work and settling their kids into the school. As many are well aware, however, this is also the height of hurricane season in the state. In fact, the peak time for hurricanes is between August and October, with the top 10 costliest events to strike the state in this time period.

With this in mind, it is crucial to be prepared since this is only the mid-point of the hurricane season, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III). Before the storm season ends on November 30, there are steps homeowners can take.

A Primer on Hurricane Preparedness

The first thing homeowner’s need to do is review their insurance coverage. The time to do this is before a storm approaches, since insurers will not allow policies to be changed once a hurricane watch has been issued by the National Hurricane center. Homeowner’s insurance is designed to protect the home and its contents from disasters. Insurance renewals need to reflect any improvements that have been made to the dwelling since the previous policy was issued as well as new personal property that has been acquired.

While many homeowners are aware that there are separate deductibles for hurricane and other damage (fire, hail, etc.) , it is also crucial to consider additional coverage such as sewer backup. Moreover, repairing a damaged home may also require adhering to current building codes. This is particularly the case for homes that are older than 5 years old, in which case homeowners should acquire building ordinance and law coverage.

Although individuals living in high-risk flood zones are required to have flood insurance, many flood insurance claims are also paid to those living in low-to-moderate risk zones. As many should be aware, standard homeowners insurance does not cover flood damage, whether or not flooding from heavy rains is caused by a tropical storm.

The III also recommends that homeowners conduct an inventory a create an itemized list of the home and personal property, which many insurers may ask for when a claim is filed. Lastly, when a storm warning has been posted and local authorities issue an evacuation order, be prepared to evacuate and relocate to safe shelter.

The Takeaway

In the end, being prepared for the coming peak hurricane season by having sufficient insurance coverage can smooth the recovery if and when a disaster strikes. At the same time, insurers are more concerned with their bottom line, and not your well being. If you are battling with an insurance company over a homeowner’s claim, you should engage the services of an experienced attorney.