Nearly two-thirds of Florida residents say they have taken precautions in advance of the 2018 Hurricane Season, according to a poll by SurveyMonkey on behalf of the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI).
A year ago, Hurricane Irma made landfall in the Florida Keys, inflicting major damage and leaving more than 15 million residents without power. And, with more than $50 billion in damages, it ranks as the fifth-costliest storm in United States history.
Despite the devastation that millions of Florida homeowners have experienced, 36 percent still say they haven’t taken precautions for the next storm. PCI strongly encourages those Floridians who have not taken action to protect themselves and their families to come up with a plan.
Preparing for a major storm is much more than just gathering supplies. Insurers encourage anyone living in the Sunshine State to create emergency plans, prepare financially and know how to avoid contractor abuse as we enter peak hurricane season.
Florida is the most hurricane-prone state in the nation, with 40 percent of all U. S. hurricanes hitting the state. Since 1851, there have been 118 direct hurricane hits in Florida, and history shows September is an extremely active month.
If you haven’t already, now is the time to talk to your insurance agent or company about your coverage options to best protect yourself, your family and your property. Don’t wait until it is too late. Of the Floridians surveyed, nearly 38 percent reported that their property suffered damage due to last year’s storms. Last year, Hurricane Irma forced millions of residents to evacuate and according to the Office of Insurance Regulation insured losses from Irma totaled more than $5.5 billion.
For homeowners who experience property damage and are eager to get repairs underway, they must be cautious about the potential of crooked contractors. After a major storm hits, unscrupulous contractors are known to flood the area looking to take advantage of people desperate to get back into their homes. These contractors make false promises, take full payments upfront and never finish the work, sometimes even creating damage where none existed. To prevent this type of abuse from happening, it is imperative for homeowners to fully understand any contractual obligations when they sign on the dotted line. With an Assignment of Benefits (AOB) contract, homeowners relinquish their rights under their policy to a third party.
To raise awareness on these fraudulent schemes and help Floridians avoid becoming the next victim of contractor abuse, PCI, has created an online tool that is a one-stop shop where Florida insurance agents, companies and residents can go to find tips and information on how to navigate AOB. We invite homeowners to visit this interactive digital guide at pciaa.net.
Being prepared and having a plan is the first step in weathering any storm. Now is the time to take action and learn more about hurricane preparation, recovery and the rebuilding process.
For a complete 2018 Hurricane Guide, visit zmags.com.
Logan McFaddin is Florida Regional Manager for the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America.