Archive for the ‘Disaster Preparedness’ Category

Preparing an Effective Evacuation Plan   Leave a comment

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In the event of a sudden emergency such as a hurricane, you may have just minutes to gather your family and important papers, and get out of your house, possibly for good. Are you prepared? Where would you go? What would you take with you?

With preparation and practice, you stand the best chance of getting out with what you and your family need, and ending up in the right place.

Planning ahead is crucial; this five-step plan can help get you and your family on the road to safety. 

1. Arrange Your Evacuation Ahead of Time 

  • Identify where you can go in the event of an evacuation. Try to have more than one option: the home of a friend or family member in another town, a hotel or a shelter. Keep the phone numbers and addresses of these locations handy.
  • Map out your primary route and a backup route in case roads are blocked or impassable. Make sure you have a map of the area available.
  • In case your family members are separated before or during the evacuation, identify a specific place to meet and ask an out-of-town friend or family member to act as a contact person.
  • Listen to NOAA Weather Radio or local radio or TV stations for evacuation instructions. If advised to evacuate, do so immediately. 

2. Create a Home Inventory 

A home inventory will help ensure that you have purchased enough insurance to replace your personal possessions. It can also speed the claims process and substantiate losses for income tax purposes. A detailed home inventory is also helpful should you need to apply for disaster aid.

To make creating a home inventory easier, the I.I.I. provides free Web-based software at KnowYourStuff.org. Know Your Stuff allows you to organize easily and list your possessions, as well as add digital photographs of your valuables and upload scanned receipts. The program provides free, secure storage of your inventory on Amazon Web Services. Storing your inventory online gives you the ability to access it from any computer in the event your own computer is damaged or destroyed. 

3. Plan What to Take 

  • Medicines, prescriptions and first aid kit
  • Bottled water
  • Clothing and bedding (sleeping bags, pillows)
  • Flashlight, battery-powered radio and extra batteries
  • Special items for infants or elderly or disabled family members
  • Computer hard drive or laptop
  • Photographs
  • Pet food and other items for pets (litter boxes, leashes) 

4. Gather Important Documents 

Keep important documents in a safe place that you can access easily. In the event of an evacuation take the following documents with you: 

  • Insurance policies
  • Prescriptions
  • Birth and marriage certificates
  • Passports
  • Drivers license or personal identification
  • Social Security cards
  • Recent tax returns
  • Employment information
  • Wills, deeds and recent tax returns
  • Stocks, bonds and other negotiable certificates
  • Bank, savings and retirement account numbers
  • Home inventory 

5. Take the Ten-Minute Challenge 

To find out if you are ready, do a real-time test. Give yourself just 10 minutes to get your family and belongings into the car and on the road to safety. By planning ahead and practicing, you should be able to gather your family members and pets, along with the most important items they will need, calmly and efficiently, with a minimum of stress and confusion.

“Our blogs are for general education and information only and may not represent your unique needs. Coverages will vary. Please contact your insurance agent to verify your specific policy terms and conditions.”

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Top 10 most common homeowners insurance claims and simple ways you can avoid costly problems   Leave a comment

hose bursting1

What can you do?

Insurance adjusters have ranked the most common, yet preventable, homeowners claims. Five of them – that’s half the list – are plumbing related. This is a busy time for everyone and the last thing you need is an unexpected plumbing breakdown. Unless you enjoy the excitement of a flooded laundry room or having a toilet take a one-way trip through the floor, the answer lies in smart preventative maintenance.

Top ten homeowners claims to avoid
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1. Burst washing machine hose – Plastic or rubber washing machine hoses eventually leak and even burst. Three bad combinations here: The machine jars and jumps; the lines get hot and cold repeatedly; laundry rooms are typically located in low-traffic areas, meaning it may go unnoticed a while. Damage is often extensive and expensive, which is why it’s ranked #1.
Precaution: Plastic hoses should be replaced at least every three years, and frequently inspected for leaks. Stainless hoses look substantially stronger and in many cases are but there are alos some that are not much better than the “cheapie” model.

2. Slow leaks around tub/shower grout and edges – Grout and caulking decay over time, and cracks can develop. Water seeps into walls and floors little by little, causing tub and shower pans to corrode or to actually sink due to softening wood supports. The problem greatly accelerates as more water intrudes, leading to major repairs in plumbing, carpentry, tile work and more. Insurance rarely covers these expenses.
Precaution: Make sure that all water from the shower or bath stays there. This means securing shower doors and tightly closing curtains. Also, frequently inspect and repair seals. A little time now can save thousands of dollars later. On a preventive maintenance trip.

3. Toilet seal leaks – If your toilet wobbles it could mean that the seal is worn, or that it was improperly installed. Since the seal prevents sewage gases and other wastes from leaking into your home, this is not just a costly repair—it’s a health issue. We’re not talking “maybe” here; sewer gases are a health risk and not to be taken lightly. Get this fixed.
Precaution: Periodically check the base of the toilet for water. If a leak is present, have it repaired immediately.

4. Refrigerator water-supply line leaks – The small water line that goes from your refrigerator—called a capillary line—can easily become kinked. Plastic lines also become brittle from use, which leads to leaks. These leaks are rarely noticed but can cause extensive damage to the walls, floor, and cabinets around the refrigerator.
Precaution: If lines become brittle, replace them as soon as possible. Be sure to check metal lines for crimps or kinks that can cause the line to form a leak.

5. Roof leaks – Weather, age, wear and tear — these conditions adversely affect your roof’s condition. Signs of a leaking roof include spots or stains that appear on the ceiling, or curled, upturned shingles around the edges of your home.
Precaution: Don’t try to stretch the life of your roof past its time. But to ensure a longer life, make sure that gutters are cleaned regularly. Also check for loose or missing shingles, especially after storms with high winds. Home owners insurance does not cover wear and tear. If your roof is leaking because it is old it is your responsibility to maintain and replace the roof as necessary. Most insurance companies in Florida allow up to 15 years on a shingle roof. Tile roofs are generally acceptable up to 20. Many companies now are settling roof claims on a depreciated basis based on the age of the roof.

6. Chimney/fireplace fires – It’s easy to think that starting a fire in the fireplace is as simple as throwing a few longs and matches together and watching it burn. Before your next family weenie roast, you should know that dirty or plugged chimneys regularly cause home fires.
Precaution: Practice fire safety: keep flammable items clear of the fireplace; be sure that children are supervised at all times; keep matches and flame accelerants in a safe, secured place. Before you start a fire, clean any excessive amounts of soot and ashes from the chimney. Also, maintain a regular chimney-cleaning schedule.

7. Hot water tank leaks – When was the last time you thought about your hot water tank? Probably not any time in the recent past unless you had a problem or repair. Since hot water tanks develop leaks and rust as they age, this “out of sight, out of mind” mentality can lead to major home damage. Sometimes, you begin to notice that you run out of hot water more quickly, indicating poor performance or maybe sediment in the tank. Both indicate a service or replacement need.
Precaution: Periodically check for water damage in the flooring around your hot water heater. If your water heater was installed more than five years ago, a qualified technician should check it at least annually. It may only need cleaning and servicing.

8. Electrical cord fires – Do you have a lot of “gadgets” and appliances plugged in throughout your home? Hiding those unseemly cords with throw rugs? Bad idea. Electrical cord fires result primarily from overloaded circuits, cords under throw rugs, and baseboard heaters.
Precaution: Minimize the number of appliances in use or plugged in at the same time. This will keep your circuits operating within their safe capacity. Also, route cords around throw rugs to reduce the likelihood of fire. Make sure all furniture is a safe distance from heaters, and that they are properly ventilated.

9. Unattended cooking or candle fires – Candlelight flickering shadows on the wall is relaxing, beautiful, soothing. Standing on the curb watching the flames flicker throughout your home is, um, something less than calming. Contained fires can become ‘uncontained’ quickly and violently. It’s from one thing: Lack of attention.
Precaution: Be aware of your candles or cooking fires at all times. Is a candle burning too closely to a flammable object? Is it in a non-flammable holder? Periodically monitor all candle and cooking fires and always practice fire safety.

10. Garage door opener theft – You want your home to comfortable, safe, and secure. You may lock your doors, but sly criminals often snatch garage door openers, gaining access to garages and homes.
Precaution: If you’re not parking your car in the garage, take the garage door opener out of the car. This one, simple measure substantially increases your home security. Thieves cannot gain access to your home easily, making break-ins more difficult and therefore less likely.

“Our blogs are for general education and information only and may not represent your unique needs. Coverages will vary. Please contact your insurance agent to verify your specific policy terms and conditions.”

Lightning Safety Week – Surge Protection for Your Home   Leave a comment

lightning

At the first clap of thunder, seeking shelter indoors to avoid being struck by lightning is a priority. But it’s also important that what’s inside the structure is protected as well. According to the Lightning Protection Institute (LPI), a single bolt of lightning can carry over 30 million volts of electricity. A strike from a powerful charge like that could trigger a power surge that could damage expensive electronic equipment inside your home – or worse – spark a devastating fire.

As part of Lightning Safety Week (June 23-29), the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) advises homeowners to take precautions to reduce the chances of lightning-related loss and disruption from power surges.

To reduce the risk of damage from a lightning strike, homeowners should consider investing in a whole-house surge protector, which offers protection against electrical surges or spikes. Many utility companies provide and install whole-building surge protection systems. If this is unavailable in your area, consider hiring a licensed electrician to install the protector.

There also are relatively inexpensive ways to prevent significant damage from a power surge. Below, learn how to keep expensive electronics from being damaged or destroyed by a sudden spike in voltage. Find additional lightning protection guidance for both businesses and homes at disastersafety.org/lightning.

PREVENTING POWER SURGE DAMAGE TO YOUR HOME

1. Unplugging electronic equipment when there is lightning in the area is the most reliable means of protecting that equipment from a power
surge.

2. Know the important difference between a surge suppressor and a power strip. A power strip plugs into your wall outlet and allows you to
plug in multiple electronic devices. However, a power strip does not protect equipment from being damaged by a spike in electrical power.
Like a power strip, a surge protector also gives the user the ability to plug in multiple electronic devices, but it also protects your
electronic devices from sudden power spikes.

3. Connect telephone, cable/satellite TV and network lines to a surge suppressor.

4. Make sure the surge suppressor has an indicator light so you know it is working properly.

5. Ensure the surge suppressor has been tested to UL 1449, which should be indicated on the packaging.

6. Purchase a surge suppressor with a Joule rating of over 1,000. The Joule rating typically ranges from 200 up to several thousand the
higher the number the better.

7. Look for a surge suppressor with a clamping voltage rating (voltage at which the protector will conduct the electricity to ground)
between 330 v, which is typical, to 400 v.

8. Purchase a surge suppressor with a response time of less than 1 nanosecond.

9. Avoid cutting corners. You don’t want to protect a $1,000 television or computer system with a $10 surge protector. For $25 and up, you
can provide much better protection.

10. Consider hiring a licensed electrician or home/building inspector to review the power, telephone, electrical and cable/satellite TV
connections in your home. Have them check that you have adequate grounding of the power line connection and your power distribution
panel. All of the utilities should enter the structure within 10 feet of the electrical service entrance ground wire and be bonded to
that grounding point.

NOAA predicts active 2013 Atlantic hurricane season   Leave a comment

Sandy_Oct28_2012_GOES13_Image_300
2013 Atlantic hurricane predictions

In its 2013 Atlantic hurricane season outlook, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center is forecasting an active or extremely active season this year.

For the six-month hurricane season, which begins June 1, NOAA’s Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook says there is a 70 percent likelihood of 13 to 20 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which 7 to 11 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 3 to 6 major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5; winds of 111 mph or higher).

These ranges are well above the seasonal average of 12 named storms, 6 hurricanes and 3 major hurricanes.

“With the devastation of Sandy fresh in our minds, and another active season predicted, everyone at NOAA is committed to providing life-saving forecasts in the face of these storms and ensuring that Americans are prepared and ready ahead of time.” said Kathryn Sullivan, Ph.D., NOAA acting administrator. “As we saw first-hand with Sandy, it’s important to remember that tropical storm and hurricane impacts are not limited to the coastline. Strong winds, torrential rain, flooding, and tornadoes often threaten inland areas far from where the storm first makes landfall.”

Three climate factors that strongly control Atlantic hurricane activity are expected to come together to produce an active or extremely active 2013 hurricane season. These are:
•A continuation of the atmospheric climate pattern, which includes a strong west African monsoon, that is responsible for the ongoing era of high activity for Atlantic hurricanes that began in 1995;

•Warmer-than-average water temperatures in the tropical Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea; and

•El Niño is not expected to develop and suppress hurricane formation.

“This year, oceanic and atmospheric conditions in the Atlantic basin are expected to produce more and stronger hurricanes,” said Gerry Bell, Ph.D., lead seasonal hurricane forecaster with NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. “These conditions include weaker wind shear, warmer Atlantic waters and conducive winds patterns coming from Africa.”

NOAA’s seasonal hurricane outlook is not a hurricane landfall forecast; it does not predict how many storms will hit land or where a storm will strike. Forecasts for individual storms and their impacts will be provided throughout the season by NOAA’s National Hurricane Center.

New for this hurricane season are improvements to forecast models, data gathering, and the National Hurricane Center communication procedure for post-tropical cyclones. In July, NOAA plans to bring online a new supercomputer that will run an upgraded Hurricane Weather Research and Forecasting (HWRF) model that provides significantly enhanced depiction of storm structure and improved storm intensity forecast guidance.

Also this year, Doppler radar data will be transmitted in real time from NOAA’s Hurricane Hunter aircraft. This will help forecasters better analyze rapidly evolving storm conditions, and these data could further improve the HWRF model forecasts by 10 to 15 percent.

The National Weather Service has also made changes to allow for hurricane warnings to remain in effect, or to be newly issued, for storms like Sandy that have become post-tropical. This flexibility allows forecasters to provide a continuous flow of forecast and warning information for evolving or continuing threats.

“The start of hurricane season is a reminder that our families, businesses and communities need to be ready for the next big storm,” said Joe Nimmich, FEMA associate administrator for Response and Recovery. “Preparedness today can make a big difference down the line, so update your family emergency plan and make sure your emergency kit is stocked. Learn more about how you can prepare for hurricane season at http://www.ready.gov/hurricanes.”

Next week, May 26 – June 1, is National Hurricane Preparedness Week. To help those living in hurricane-prone areas prepare, NOAA is offering hurricane preparedness tips, along with video and audio public service announcements in both English and Spanish, featuring NOAA hurricane experts and the FEMA administrator at http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/prepare/.

NOAA’s outlook for the Eastern Pacific basin is for a below-normal hurricane season and the Central Pacific basin is also expected to have a below-normal season. NOAA will issue an updated outlook for the Atlantic hurricane season in early August, just prior to the historical peak of the season.

Make sure you have adequate insurance protection before the storms threaten. Contact Lee County Insurance Agency for a free no obligation quote on any of your insurance needs, or check us out at http://www.LciQuotes.com.

“Our blogs are for general education and information only and may not represent your unique needs. Coverages will vary. Please contact your insurance agent to verify your specific policy terms and conditions.”

Flood Insight   Leave a comment

hurricane-sandy-damage-bay-head-n

Flood coverage is not included in your homeowners or dwelling fire policies, but is available for purchase as a separate policy. Flood policies cover damage due to flooding, according to the guidelines established by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Just an inch or two of water in your home can cause extensive and costly damage.

Available Coverage

For homeowners, flood policies are available to insure your home (dwelling) up to $250,000 and its contents up to $100,000. If additional coverage is needed, separate excess flood insurance policies are also available for purchase.
For renters, it is recommended that tenants purchase a flood policy in addition to their renter’s policy to cover contents. Up to $100,000 of flood coverage is available for renters.

Activation Period

Don’t wait to purchase flood insurance until hurricane season or spring storms are headed your way! Flood policies are not effective until 30 days after purchase. We recommend reviewing your policy coverages on an annual basis with your insurance agent. Contact Lee County Insurance today to learn more about flood insurance policies and available options such as excess flood coverage. You may also get a multi-policy discount and save money on your homeowners (HO3) by purchasing a flood policy.

“Our blogs are for general education and information only and may not represent your unique needs. Coverages will vary. Please contact your insurance agent to verify your specific policy terms and conditions.”

Flood Insurance: Are you Covered   Leave a comment

sandbags

Many homeowners forget that homeowners policies do not include flood insurance coverage, which is available as a separate policy.

Floods happen in every state including Florida. Your independent insurance agent can help you purchase a flood policy, but be sure not to wait! Unlike home insurance, flood insurance policies do not take effect until 30 days after purchase. Even if you don’t live in a high-risk flood zone, hurricanes and heavy rains can cause flash flooding. Just one inch of water in your home can cause serious AND costly damage. Be smart about flood insurance. Contact your insurance agent today!

Information Courtesy of Tower Hill Insurance

“Our blogs are for general education and information only and may not represent your unique needs. Coverages will vary. Please contact your insurance agent to verify your specific policy terms and conditions.”

Check your Hurricane IQ with our Pop Quiz   Leave a comment

Check your hurricane IQ with our pop quiz.

approaching-storm

True or False?:
• Tape windows or cover them with solar film to prevent damage during a tropical storm or hurricane.
• Only protect or board up windows and doors facing the coast or direction of the storm.
• Open windows or the garage door during a storm or hurricane to help equalize wind pressure with the outside to help prevent damage.

The statements above are . . . FALSE! These are all old hurricane myths, so be prepared and know the facts.

NO TAPE. Windows and openings (garage and entry doors, etc.) should be constructed of or covered with impact-resistant coverings, such as approved hurricane shutters. Pledge to “GO TAPELESS” with the Great Hurricane Blowout!

PROTECT ALL DIRECTIONS. Wind can shift quickly and blow from any direction. Use approved impact-resistant hurricane shutters; in an emergency, use plywood that is 5/8″ thick and attach securely.

KEEP WINDOWS AND DOORS CLOSED. Keep doors and windows closed and covered, ideally with hurricane shutters, during a storm to prevent wind from coming into your home. A leading cause of damage to homes during hurricanes results from garage doors failing to withstand the wind speeds or not being properly reinforced.

Information Courtesy of Tower Hill Insurance

“Our blogs are for general education and information only and may not represent your unique needs. Coverages will vary. Please contact your insurance agent to verify your specific policy terms and conditions.”

Plan. Prepare. Practice   Leave a comment

toolbox-wrench

It’s important to have a disaster plan in place for your family. Planning and preparing ahead of time is often key to staying safe during a catastrophe.

Familiarize yourself and your family with the location of nearby emergency shelters and evacuation routes through your local media or by visiting FloridaDisaster.org. Pick up a hurricane guide at your neighborhood grocery or hardware store to include in your emergency kit.

KidsGetaPlan.com is designed for the youngest members of your family. Just enter the child’s grade level and ZIP Code, to access interactive stories, activities, downloads and more.

Information Courtesy of Tower Hill Insurance.

Posted May 9, 2013 by leecountyinsurance in Disaster Preparedness

Do you ever get that sinking feeling?   Leave a comment

sinkhole

Sinkholes have been in the news a lot lately, and I am sure this has generated a lot of questions from customers. Sinkholes are a fact of life in certain parts of Florida. Sinkholes and how they are adjusted is regulated by the State of Florida. In 2011, the Legislature enacted SB408, which basically tells us, the insurance industry, how to adjust sinkholes. The law tells us that, when a claim is submitted, we must first have the risk evaluated to determine if the structure is showing signs of a sinkhole, at least a sinkhole as defined by the Legislature. The definitions of sinkhole are as follows:

“Sinkhole” means a landform created by subsidence of soil, sediment, or rock as underlying strata are dissolved by groundwater.  A “sinkhole” forms by collapse into subterranean voids created by dissolution of limestone or dolostone or by subsidence as these strata are dissolved.

“Sinkhole activity” means settlement or systematic weakening of the earth supporting the covered building only if the settlement or systematic weakening results from contemporaneous movement or raveling of soils, sediments, or rock materials into subterranean voids created by the effect of water on a limestone or similar rock formation.

“Sinkhole loss” means “structural damage” to the covered building, including the foundation, caused by “sinkhole activity.”  Contents coverage and additional living expenses apply only if there is “structural damage” to the covered building caused by “sinkhole activity.”

The Legislature then goes on to tell us what is considered structural damage under the statute.

“Structural damage” means a covered building, regardless of the date of its construction, has experienced the following:

  1. Interior floor displacement or deflection in excess of acceptable variances as defined in ACI 117-90 or the Florida Building Code, which results in settlement related damage to the interior such that the interior building structure or members become unfit for service or represents a safety hazard as defined within the Florida Building Code;
  2. Foundation displacement or deflection in excess of acceptable variances as defined in ACI 318-95 or the Florida Building Code, which results in settlement related damage to the primary structural members or primary structural systems that prevents those members or systems from supporting the loads and forces they were designed to support to the extent that stresses in those primary structural members or primary structural systems exceeds one and one-third the nominal strength allowed under the Florida Building Code for new buildings of similar structure, purpose, or location;
  3. Damage that results in listing, leaning, or buckling of the exterior load bearing walls or other vertical primary structural members to such an extent that a plumb line passing through the center of gravity does not fall inside the middle one-third of the base as defined within the Florida Building Code;
  4. Damage that results in the building, or any portion of the building containing primary structural members or primary structural systems, being significantly likely to imminently collapse because of the movement or instability of the ground within the influence zone of the supporting ground within the sheer plane necessary for the purpose of supporting such building as defined within the Florida Building Code; or
  5. Damage occurring on or after October, 15, 2005, that qualified as substantial structural damage as defined in the Florida Building Code.
    1. Primary structural member means a structural element designed to provide support and stability for the vertical or lateral loads of the overall structure.
    2. Primary structural system means an assemblage of primary structural members.

Once we have the report back and it has been reviewed by the adjuster, we can move in either of two directions. If the report finds no evidence of a sinkhole, then we will send the customer an appropriate letter along with a copy of the report. On the other hand, if there is structural damage to the home that is consistent with the definitions in the law, then we move to step two, which involves having an engineer and perhaps a geologist further investigate the claim by performing certain tests and borings at the home to determine if indeed there is a sinkhole.

A geotechnical engineer is an expert in the soils that underlie a building and the interaction between the soils and the building below the surface of the ground. The engineer’s report is then reviewed by the adjuster, and one of two directions in the claim file is taken depending on the findings by the engineering firm. If the report finds sinkhole activity according to the definition in the law, then a plan for the remediation of the subsurface is prepared concurrently to the report. We then obtain three estimates from reputable subsurface remediation contractors based on the engineer’s repair plan and complete the estimate for the repair of the cosmetic damage to the dwelling. We then issue a check for the Cosmetic repairs less any deductible or prior payments, if any were made. If the insured then chooses to have the remediation work to the subsurface completed, they will need to send us a signed contract for the remediation based on the engineer’s remediation design. At the time of receipt of the signed contract we will send the insured a check for the amount necessary to begin and perform the repairs and continue payments as the work is performed and expenses are incurred. If no sinkhole activity is found according to the definition in the law, then the customer is sent the appropriate letter along with a copy of the engineer’s report.

We realize that the process does take time and ask for patience on everyone’s part so we get the right answers that our customers deserve.

“Our blogs are for general education and information only and may not represent your unique needs. Coverages will vary. Please contact your insurance agent to verify your specific policy terms and conditions.”

Information Courtesy of Tower Hill Insurance.

Buy and Renew your Flood Insurance now to avoid substantial price increase in October 2013   Leave a comment

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty is encouraging Floridians to make preparations now for the upcoming 2013 hurricane season by purchasing flood insurance. Flood insurance is administered through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and is available to homeowners, renters and business owners who live in a community participating in the NFIP. Consumers should be aware that significant rate increases will take effect for new and renewal NFIP policies starting on October 1, 2013.

 

Floods are the most common natural disaster in the United States; however, flood damage is not covered by a typical homeowners or business insurance policy.  This type of coverage is an extra layer of security in the event of a catastrophic event.
 
“Florida’s risk for severe weather is well-known and, even though a hurricane has not impacted our state in recent years, several tropical storms have caused significant flood damage to many Floridians. Regardless of the storm type, I strongly urge Floridians to prepare now and purchase flood insurance by May 1st, as a typical flood insurance policy takes 30 days to become effective. This will ensure you are covered on June 1st, the first day of hurricane season,” stated McCarty.
 
Florida consumers can purchase flood insurance from NFIP for up to $250,000 for property damage and $100,000 for personal contents. Excess flood insurance can be purchased for homes valued at more than $250,000. NFIP coverage is also available for commercial structures at $500,000 for building coverage and $500,000 for contents coverage. Check with Lee County Insurance Agency for more information about flood insurance.
 
In July 2012, the U.S. Congress passed the Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 extending the NFIP through September 30, 2017. Key provisions of this legislation will be implemented over time and include raising premium rates to reflect the actual flood risk of the program, phasing out subsidies on properties with repetitive losses, allowing coverage availability for multifamily properties and minimum deductibles for flood claims, etc.
 
In addition to more information about NFIP and flood insurance, Commissioner McCarty has prepared a video message for consumers with some helpful hurricane preparedness tips. The video is available on the Office of Insurance Regulation’s new Hurricane Resource website page, which also features important contact and consumer information from the Department of Financial Services, Florida Division of Emergency Management and the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.