It’s Hurricane season in South Florida and you may be concerned about the risk of a hurricane in relation to your home and keeping your family safe. Even thought it’s been about eleven years without a major hurricane that doesn’t mean Floridians should be complacent.
Last year we saw a quieter than normal hurricane season, but experts are predicting an average or above-average number of hurricanes in 2016.
Like most homeowners you’ve worked hard to buy your home. You work harder to keep it, and to furnish it, and maintain it. The cost of caring for a home is high. But the cost of a hurricane hitting your unprotected home can be higher.
Preparation only goes so far. Until a hurricane comes, no one knows for sure whether hardened houses will survive
The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30 with the peak period from early August through the end of October. The Atlantic basin includes the entire Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico. Hurricanes coming from the Atlantic can impact vacations on the Southeast coast, all of Florida, and along the Gulf Coast from the Florida Panhandle to Texas.
Each year the United States is hit with hurricanes that cause catastrophic damage. Even areas that receive the lightest blows of the hurricanes can see millions of dollars in damaged homes. The chart below, pulled from The Insurance Information Institute, provides a great look at some statistics:
Catastrophic Hurricane Losses In The United States, 2006-2015
(1) Hurricanes causing insured property losses of at least $25 million in 1997 dollars and affecting a significant number of policyholders and insurers. Does not include losses covered by the federally administered National Flood Insurance Program.
(2) Adjusted for inflation through 2015 by ISO using the GDP implicit price deflator.
(3) No hurricane met the PCS definition of a catastrophe.
Source: Property Claim Services®, a unit of ISO®, a Verisk Analytics® business.
If you live in South Florida you live in an area known to experience hurricanes. As a homeowner and Floridian there are steps you can take to protect your home from damage. Some are as simple as picking up the loose items in your yard while some require more effort:
- If the weatherman is screaming about severe weather, secure any loose items in your yard. Patio furniture should be placed in a shed. Loose branches should be removed. Garbage cans go to the garage. Trampolines should be secured into the ground – a good way to do so is to flip it over so the legs are in the air and strap it down to the ground. This can make the difference between your trampoline flying away or smashing into your home – or a neighbor’s home- and staying put.
- Cover your windows and doors. You may have secured your loose items outside, but your neighbors might not have been so diligent. Shutters can protect your glass from shattering when struck by a high speed impact of a garbage can or a lounge chair.
- Make sure your home has been built to code. In many hurricane prone areas, local codes will mandate certain protective measures. In an effort to prevent roofs from being ripped off of homes, some area housing codes require precise fastening systems. Storm surges that become trapped by homes can become more problematic. Some areas even require new homes be raised to avoid this. Make sure your home has proper tie-downs, embedded connectors, is raised to the proper height, or whatever is required in your area. Ensuring your gutters and downspouts are clear is a quick, inexpensive way to help prevent unnecessary water damage.
- Reinforce your doors. A loose or weak door can fly off hinges or crack open under the pressure of high force winds. This allows all that wind to enter your home and have its way with it. Spend the extra money to buy a solid door and make sure it is reinforced at the hinges.
- Call your Insurance Company and ask them about their Hurricane Coverage if you don’t know. Are you doing what you can to be covered by the 2016 hurricane season ?
BONUS TIP: If you do suffer storm damage, there are steps you can take to protect yourself and your home from further harm. Make reasonable and necessary repairs, and be sure to keep track of all receipts and expenses related to temporary repairs that may qualify for reimbursement.
Make a list of your damaged personal property, and if possible include the manufacturer, brand name, place, and date of purchase. Taking photos and videos of your property prior to any damage is a great way to document your belongings. Keep any damaged property in a secure location so a claims adjuster can examine it all to fully estimate your loss.
Why are these things important to do? Because during these times shady contractors will attempt to take advantage of distressed homeowners in the aftermath of a storm. As a South Florida homeowner you should be on alert when a contractor asks you to sign over your insurance benefits while he “saves you the trouble” of dealing directly with your insurance company. This ploy gives an unscrupulous repair person a wide-open path to inflate your bill and reap huge profits from the insurance claim, while sending everyone’s insurance premiums through the roof.
If you suspect fraud, notify your home insurance carrier immediately and report the incident to the Florida Division of Insurance Fraud at 1-800-378-0445.
Source: Space Coast Daily
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