A new AAA survey reveals that a growing number of Floridians are more concerned about this year’s hurricane season, yet there’s still a large number of residents who do not have an emergency plan.
According to the survey:
- 27% of Floridians are more concerned about this year’s hurricane season (5 percentage points more) than last year.
- 29% do not make advanced preparations for hurricane season or severe weather.
- 44% do not have an evacuation plan.
“When a hurricane approaches, things can get chaotic, but developing a plan now will help alleviate some of the stress,” Jennifer Pintacuda, President of AAA’s Florida-based insurance companies. “AAA urges residents to review their insurance policies, document belongings, gather supplies, and develop a family plan in case they need to evacuate.”
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High Gas Prices could affect evacuation decisions
High gas prices are also beginning to factor into Floridians’ hesitation to get out of harm’s way. Two-in-five respondents (42%) say high prices and the availability of gas would make them less willing to evacuate their home, if recommended to do so. Click here to view today’s average gas price.
“Prices at the pump are likely to remain high throughout the summer,” said Mark Jenkins, spokesman, AAA – The Auto Club Group. “So, if you’re worried about evacuation costs, it may be a good idea to start setting aside some money now.”
Storm Strength, Pets and Property Damage Concerns are also playing a Role
A quarter of Floridians (25%) say they would ignore evacuation warnings altogether. Of those who would evacuate, three-in five (60%) would only leave for an approaching Category 3 hurricane or stronger.
The top reasons people cited for staying home:
- Can’t bring pets/don’t have a safe option for them (30%)
- Don’t know where to go (28%)
- In case there’s damage to my home/property that I can fix (25%)
- Financial reasons (e.g. can’t afford a hotel – 23%)
“Preparation is key to making sure you aren’t stuck in the path of a deadly storm,” Jenkins said. “Now is the time to develop a few options for your pets. Keep in mind there are various pet-friendly hotels and shelters. And if you’re worried about property damage, contact an insurance professional now to review your policies. Having adequate coverage will give you the peace of mind in knowing that anything damaged while you’re gone can be repaired or replaced.”
Advice from AAA’s Insurance Experts
Here are some things people can do right now to prepare for the storm season.
- Review your Insurance Coverage. Review your homeowners insurance with your licensed insurance agent to determine if you have adequate protection. Discuss your deductibles.
- Get Flood Insurance. Flood damage is not covered under your homeowner’s policy. There is a 30-day waiting period for new flood policies. So, do not wait until a storm is approaching.
- Review your auto policy. Do you have comprehensive coverage? Storm damage to your car is not automatically covered by your homeowner’s policy. Comprehensive coverage is not required in Florida, but would help if your vehicle is damaged by hail, is flooded, or a tree falls on it.
- Store your insurance policy number and claim phone number in your phone in case you need to make a claim after the storm.
- Take Inventory. Document your belongings by walking through your home with a video camera or smart phone. Keep a record of large purchases including the cost of the item, purchase date, and model and serial numbers.
- Store important documents in a portable waterproof container. Documents could include birth certificates, social security cards, insurance policy information, and more.
Importance of Flood Insurance
The two biggest sources of hurricane damage are wind and torrential rain resulting in flooding. Flooding is the number one disaster in the United States.
A quarter of Floridians (25%) are unaware that most homeowner’s insurance policies do not cover flood damage. While 3-in-5 (61%) say they are concerned about experiencing a flood at their home, only 25% claim to have a flood insurance policy.
“Unfortunately, many homeowners do not realize until it’s too late that their homeowners’ policy does not cover flooding,” Pintacuda said. “We encourage residents to look into a flood policy now. There’s a 30 day waiting period for all new flood insurance policies. So if you wait until a storm is approaching, it will be too late.”
Flood Insurance Facts
- Every zone is a flood zone. Nearly 40% of all flood insurance claims come from homes which are not considered high-risk flood zones.
- Flood losses are costly. One inch of water can cost $27,000 or more to repair.
- From 2015-2020, flood insurance policyholders that sustained a covered flood loss received an average claim payment of $68,000, which never has to be repaid.
- Federal disaster assistance is not compensation for your losses, it is a low-interest loan.
A ‘preferred risk’ flood insurance policy can cost around a dollar a day for coverage of $75,000 in structural damage and $30,000 for damage to contents inside the home. *Coverage is subject to all policy terms, conditions, exclusions and limitations.