Knowing What’s Covered by Insurance as Florida Recovers From Hurricane Ian

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With the recent devastation of Hurricane Ian in Florida, recovering from the destruction is heartbreaking and life-changing for many residents. As Floridians seek to rebuild after the recent hurricane, they are faced with many stressful situations. 

Among these struggles are the questions: where do I live, how can I financially recover from these costs, can I rebuild my home, and how do I replace a lifetime of possessions and memories? 

This is a true trial for many individuals, and having the facts is essential for recovery. Homeowners, in general, already have homeowner’s insurance, and depending on their location, flood insurance would also be required by their mortgage holder. 

Above and beyond these typical insurance policies, hurricane insurance as a Floridian is important but not always required.

What is Hurricane Insurance?

Hurricane insurance is quite unique in Florida, since Floridians are at a greater risk of experiencing a hurricane. Hurricane insurance only covers wind damage sustained by the hurricane, and does not include flood damage. 

Additionally, if you have experienced more than two hurricanes during the course of one hurricane season, your policy limits will increase, to help offset or keep up with the costs of your construction. This is called an inflation guard

Another unique aspect of hurricane insurance is there’s a certain criteria that must be met to determine if your dwelling was damaged by a hurricane. First, a hurricane warning/watch must be issued in Florida, and second, you only have 72 hours after the warning is lifted in which the damage can occur. 

You also need to be able to show that the damage was sustained during this time. It’s suggested that you take video of your home before and after the hurricane in order to ensure the evidence of your claim.

What is Flood Insurance?

Flood insurance is described as “water coming into your home from off your property.” It’s important to note that flood insurance does not take effect immediately after purchase. You must wait 30 days – this is to avoid those last minute purchases when hurricanes are reported. 

If you live in an area that has a high probability of flooding, always make sure that you get flood insurance. It’s important to remember that these flood zones only account for 75% of floods – the other 25% are not technically in flood zones. 

Flood insurance is essential to have in conjunction with hurricane insurance, as it’s the flood water that can cause just as much damage, if not more than the wind damage. Due to the extreme damage that water can cause, flood insurance is held by a federalized agency, but can be purchased through most insurance companies. 

It is important to note that the flood has to be a big flood, covering more than a few acres. It is also important to note that flood insurance will not pay for separate living arrangements while repairs are being made. Also, flood insurance doesn’t cover your basement or anything in it. 

What is Homeowner’s Insurance?

Homeowner’s insurance covers many of the things that flood insurance and hurricane insurance fail to cover. If you can’t live in your home while repairs are being made, depending on your homeowner’s insurance coverage, it may help to offset some of these costs. 

Everyone who owns a home should have homeowner’s insurance, or renter’s insurance for those who don’t own a home. It’s time to pull out your policy and know your rights. This is where a specialized lawyer may come in handy as you navigate your coverage during this stressful time. 

Make a Timely Claim!

If the damage sustained does not surpass your deductible, always make the claim. If there is a second hurricane in the season, your deductible/out of pocket expenses you paid from the first hurricane will be applied to your out of pocket expenses. This can reduce your overall out of pocket expenses if the second hurricane causes more severe damage. 

Now is the time to make your claim, and remember that your insurance company has up to 14 days to respond. Although this turn around time is stressful, remember to hold on to all your receipts in the meantime, as this can be added to your deductible.

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