Hurricane Preparedness Week: Check your Insurance

Checking your hurricane insurance coverage

SARASOTA (WWSB) - On day three of Hurricane Preparedness Week, it’s important to remember insurance.

In the words of Florida’s Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR), when it comes to flooding, Florida’s risk is real. But staff at the OIR also have some startling statistics to show that many people don’t realize this.

Nearly 21 million people live in Florida. About 6 million of them have homeowners insurance, but most of them, 4.4 million are not covered in the case of floods.

The list of top things insurance experts said people should do to make sure their home is covered before a hurricane is:

  1. Make sure you take a video showing all of the rooms and your belongings in your home. Your insurance provider will need proof that you owned the things you are claiming.
  2. Trim your trees outside your house. If they fall, they could cause a lot of damage.
  3. Don’t leave anything in your yard that could become a projectile, like a grill or lawn chair.
  4. Make sure you know what’s covered in your policy.

“It’s very important that people make sure their insurance is accurate," said Emergency Operations Chief Ed McCrane. "Property values, home values goes up and down, the cost of replacing things goes up and down, so they need to be sure to check with their insurance agent.”

Often times, people will get insurance for their home, but won’t update their policy to reflect upgrades and renovations.

“Re-analyze your insurance requirements," said Todd Kerkering, emergency operations manager for the City of Sarasota. "Did you upgrade your home? Did you go from Formica counter-tops to granite counter-tops? Because what you put in your insurance policy is what they’re going to give you back.”

It’s also very important to consider adding flood coverage to your policy.

“That’s where you don’t want to be left out,” said Kerkering. 'If you have the federal flood insurance, when that disaster happens, they come out, they see that you’re flooded, they know that you have flood insurance through the federal government. They write you a check on the spot to get the damages started so you can begin your repairs, so you don’t have to go through all of the typical adjuster stuff.”

Federal flood insurance policies can be purchased through most insurance agents, but if you’re thinking about adding flooding to your policy, you should act now. It takes about 30 days to go into effect.

For more information about federal flood insurance, click here.

For an informational video about what FEMA staff say you need to know about flood insurance coverage, click here.

For flood maps in Sarasota County, click here.

To visit the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation website for additional resources regarding federal and private flood insurance options, click here.

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