Pandemic adds to worries about hurricane season

An above-normal 2020 Atlantic hurricane season is expected, according to forecasters with NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, a division of the National Weather Service. The outlook predicts a 60% chance of an above-normal season, a 30% chance of a near-normal season and only a 10% chance of a below-normal season. The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 through November 30.

There are also heightened concerns this year with the COVID-19 pandemic complicating preparations and potential recovery efforts if a hurricane impacts Florida.

Stacey Giulianti (Photography by ©Michael B. Lloyd)

Attorney Stacey A. Giulianti, co-founder and chief legal officer at Florida Peninsula Insurance, answers five key questions about hurricane coverage and the upcoming hurricane season.

After facing a global pandemic, is there a fear that Floridians will get complacent about not preparing for this Hurricane Season

Absolutely.  One of the most dangerous parts of a storm is being unprepared.  Having the residents of Florida be unmotivated to prepare for the worst, can increase the amount of claims by hundreds of thousands of dollars which could easily be prevented.

Why should people review their insurance policies?

Everyone wants to save money; this is understandable.  But when you combine hurricane apathy with economic hardship and carriers who may offer cheap policies at the cost of providing coverage, it creates the potential for disaster should a catastrophe happen. Why do people buy insurance? We buy insurance in the hope we never have to use it. As years pass and you do not have the need to file a claim, it is easy to consider limiting your coverage because “this hasn’t happened to me.”  The truth is, many claims happen when you least expect it and can cause thousands. If you are not properly insured for the most costly of situations, how will you make all the repairs needed?  The cost of peace of mind cannot be measured, yet it is one of the most important items to consider when purchasing home insurance.

Is it true that homeowner’s insurance doesn’t include flood coverage?

Most home insurance policies do not cover flood claims. Let’s define a flood. A flood is rising water. Any kind of rising water, storm surge is rising water. Many people do not realize that although there is a hurricane outside, the damage to their home is being caused by rising water and therefore their homeowners’ policy will not cover this damage. Over one third of flood claims happen in non-flood zone areas. When you consider the damage flood water can make to your home and the cost of its repairs with the annual cost of a flood policy, which averages approximately $400, it is well worth considering obtaining this coverage. You may purchase flood coverage from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) or a private flood carrier. Florida Peninsula and Edison have recently begun to offer, in eligible areas, an endorsement to the homeowners’ policy which will add the needed flood coverage to the home. Endorsing your policy with this coverage will allow you to easily maintain all your coverage with one carrier. This will simplify payment, maintenance, renewals of the policy as well as expediting any claim you may have since it will be one company handling the adjustment of the damages.

Why should you take a photo inventory of your home and valuables?  

Should your property be damaged or stolen, insurance carriers will need proof you owned the items you are claiming. Taking a photo or video inventory of your home will alleviate the claims process when you may not be in the mindset to recover all the documentation needed.

What should you do after the storm?

First, it is important you and your family are in a safe place. Once it is safe to come out of your home—when the authorities have advised the storm has passed—we recommend you assess any damage you may have experienced. Take pictures of the damage. Take immediate mitigation steps to avoid further damage, when it is safe to do so.  Then call your carrier.  Making the phone call to your carrier a priority is always important—the sooner you do so during a catastrophe when possibly thousands of other homeowners are doing the same thing, will assist in getting your claim started sooner rather than later.  It will get you on the road to recovery and bringing your life back to normalcy.

For more information, visit https://www.floridapeninsula.com/



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