Before the Storm
- Make sure you're covered - Insurance companies do not accept new applications or requests for increased coverage once a hurricane nears Florida.
- Know what your policy covers - Flood and wind damage are often covered in separate policies. Decide if you need this protection and contact your agent for more information.
- Make sure your coverage is adequate - You may have made recent home improvements or purchases. Consider increasing your coverage if your policy doesn't cover the current value of your home and contents.
- Keep policy documents safe - In addition to information on your agent, you should write down the name of your insurance company, policy number, and a telephone number to report a claim.
- Fortify your home - Inspect your roof, making sure you have roof anchors installed on your home. Replace your windows and doors that don't pass the impact test, or cover them with shutters. A fortified home with the right doors, windows and shutters will save you money on your insurance premiums (link to discounts).
After the Storm
- Immediately report property damage to your insurance agent and company.
- If you must make emergency repairs, document them.
- Maintain copies of your household inventory and other documentation. This will assist the adjuster in assessing the value of the destroyed property.
- Take precautions if the damage requires you to leave your home. Let your agent or company know your temporary forwarding address and home number.
- Beware of fly-by-night repair businesses. Hire licensed and reputable service people.
Hurricane Financial SafetyWhen you hear warnings that a hurricane is near, you should also take precautions to protect your financial interests. These tips can help you secure your financial safety.
- Remember to withdraw money before a pending natural disaster. Carrying or keeping large amounts of cash in your home, however, might put you at risk of being robbed. Also, you could lose interest payments if you take too much out of an interest-bearing account.
- Normally, financial institutions will be closed at least two days after a direct hit, and ATMs could be out of commission even longer.
- During all cash withdrawals, be aware of your surroundings and any suspicious persons.
- Get receipts for cash purchases before and after a storm.
- Have a credit card on hand with at least $1,000 available.
- Use credit cards to finance minimal repairs when necessary. Document all these transactions.
- If you pay bills by phone or online, pay them before a hurricane hits, even if they are not yet due. Otherwise, a hurricane could interrupt phone service causing you to miss payments and get late charges.
- If you pay by mail, send payments at least two days before a hurricane , because the post office will not pick up mail within 24 hours of a strike.
- Keep copies of all payments mailed within 3 days of a hurricane making landfall.
- After a storm, contact those you've sent payments to and confirm they have received them.
- Store important financial papers in a safe and accessible place.
- Before you use any "fast-cash" lender, be sure you understand what the fees will cost for the service.
- Beware of anyone offering to help after a storm, who wants cash only.
Category 1:Winds 74-95mph - No real damage to building structures. Damage primarily to unanchored mobile homes, shrubbery, and trees. Also, some coastal road flooding and minor pier damage.
Category 2:Winds 96-110mph - Some roofing material, door, and window damage to buildings. Considerable damage to vegetation, mobile homes, and piers. Coastal and low-lying escape routes flood 2-4 hours before arrival of center. Small craft in unprotected anchorages break moorings.
Category 3:Winds 111-130 mph - Some structural damage to small residences and utility buildings with a minor amount of curtainwall failures. Mobile homes are destroyed. Flooding near the coast destroys smaller structures with larger structures damaged by floating debris. Terrain continuously lower than 5 feet ASL may be flooded inland 8 miles or more.
Category 4:Winds 131-155 mph - More extensive curtainwall failures with some complete roof structure on small residences. Major erosion of beach areas. Major damage to lower floors of structures near the shore. Terrain continuously lower than 10 feet ASL may be flooded requiring massive evacuation of residential areas inland as far as 6 miles.
Category 5:Winds greater than 155 mph - Complete roof failure on many residences and industrial buildings. Some complete building failures with small utility buildings blown over or away. Major damage to lower floors of all structures located less than 15 feet ASL and within 500 yards of the shoreline. Massive evacuation of residential areas on low ground within 5 to 10 miles of the shoreline may be required.
State of Florida Brochures:
Home Inventory Form