According to the Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM), the state of Florida is susceptible to natural disasters, including hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires, and weather-related flooding. Such disasters typically cause huge losses as well as bodily injuries and even fatalities. One of the best ways to protect yourself and your property against natural disasters is to carry the right insurance coverage.
The first policy you should consider is a home insurance policy, which protects a policyholder against losses resulting from covered perils such as fire, vandalism, theft, and in some cases, natural disasters. Moreover, a home insurance policy also covers third-party bodily injuries and property damage that occur within your property.
Natural Disasters Covered by Homeowners Insurance
Per the Insurance Information Institute (III), the scope of coverage of homeowners insurance varies from one insurance provider to another, as well as the specific type of policy. Therefore, when purchasing such a policy, you should read the fine print carefully to understand the covered perils and exclusions. It is worth noting that most home insurance policies exclude damage from floods, earthquakes, sewer backup, and other natural disasters. Still, you can protect yourself against the losses associated with these perils by adding a rider on your standard homeowners’ policy or purchasing a standalone policy to cover a specific peril. For instance, a sewer backup coverage endorsement would cover any damage caused by your sewer system, including the related equipment, such as the sump pump.
Hurricane Season in Florida
Being a coastal state, Florida is prone to hurricanes and other storm-related disasters. In fact, after wildfires, hurricanes are the second most common natural disaster in the state. The hurricane season starts on 1st June, extending up to 30th November, with August witnessing the most hurricanes, per the National Hurricanes Center (NHC). Consequently, May is usually the hurricane preparedness month in Florida and other states that border the Atlantic Ocean.
How Can I Prepare My Home for the Upcoming Hurricane Season?
The following are some of the things you can do to prepare your home for the coming hurricane season:
- Purchase the right hurricane insurance with adequate coverage
- Disaster-proof your home by installing hurricane shutters, fastening the roof, reinforcing windows and doors, and clearing gutters
- Make sure to have an alternative power supply in place
- Stock up dry foods, first-aid kits, enough water, and pain relievers
- Keep a battery-operated radio, flashlight, and extra batteries in-store at all times
- Prepare a feasible evacuation plan
Furthermore, ensure you understand the common terms used during hurricanes which include, among others, hurricane warning, eye, eyewall, rain bands, hurricane watch, and tropical storm watch. This is because the National Weather Service (NWS) usually uses such terms when giving information about hurricanes.
Do Florida Homeowners Insurance Policies Cover Hurricanes?
The simple answer is yes. However, this solely depends on the type of policy you have with your insurance company. This is because some insurance carriers only provide property damage coverage in case of a hurricane, and so, you will have to pay for rebuilding costs out of pocket. That said, you should read your policy carefully and know how much hurricane protection you have in it. This will enable you to determine whether you need a separate hurricane insurance policy or not.
Florida is a high-risk state because of its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean. Therefore, you should increase your home insurance coverage by purchasing a standalone hurricane policy. Remember, the insurance company may charge you higher premiums on your hurricane or home insurance coverages considering the high risk involved. Alternatively, they may require you to pay a higher deductible in case a hurricane damages your home. Nevertheless, you can possibly earn some discounts if you disaster-proof your home before the onset of the hurricane season.
Your homeowners’ insurance policy might exclude natural disasters such as hurricanes. Therefore, you should talk to your insurance provider about your coverage needs. Depending on your insurance needs, you can either add an endorsement/rider on your standard homeowners’ policy or purchase a standalone policy.