A good homeowner’s (or renter’s) insurance policy is critical. Discuss the following with your insurance representative:
- Most homes in Florida have a special deductible for hurricane damage. Ask about your policy and potential out-of-pocket cost.
- Prepare a complete home inventory with photos. Videotape if possible and store in a safe-deposit box.
- Does your policy cover the actual cash value (replacement cost, less depreciation) or replacement costs?
- Do you need insurance riders on special items?
- Is a windstorm insurance policy required?
- Do you need flood insurance?
- Standard homeowner’s policies do not cover flood damage, including storm surge, from a hurricane.
- Flood insurance is available to all residents in all participating communities. There is usually a 30- day waiting period.
- If more than half of your home is damaged and is not built to current standards, it will have to be elevated and retrofitted.
- Permits for any type of construction or reconstruction in the floodplain is required.
FILING A CLAIM
- Notify your insurance agent as soon as possible and have your policy number on hand.
- Ask when you can expect an adjustor to visit your home.
- Present photos and inventory of damaged items, including their age and value.
- Have any receipts and estimates on hand.
- Be patient. Cases are expedited based on severity or hardship.
Avoid flooded areas, high velocity flow areas, and areas subject to sudden flooding. Do not attempt to cross flowing streams.
- Roads may not be intact under flood waters and the depth of the water is not always obvious. Turn around and go another way.
- If the vehicle stalls, leave it and seek higher ground. Rising water may engulf the vehicle; sweeping it away.
- Use caution at night when it is more difficult to recognize flood dangers.
- Keep children away from high water, storm drains and viaducts.
- Throw out any food that came in contact with flood waters.
- Use flashlights (not lanterns, torches or matches) to examine buildings. Flammables may be inside.
FIND OUT IF YOU’RE IN A FLOOD ZONE
Flood maps are usually kept on file at your local county courthouse, municipal office or library. For additional information, call FEMA’s Map Service Center at 1-800-358-9616.