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Irma memories spark call for homeowners to check their insurance

Hurricane Irma should have been warning enough, but insurance regulators in Tallahassee are underscoring the imperative for homeowners to make sure they’re carrying enough insurance, including flood coverage.

Most flood policies typically take effect 30 days after purchase, officials said in a written statement issued last week. With the 2018 hurricane season nearing its peak, there’s no time to waste.

“As we approach the time of year when tropical activity is at its highest, complacency is not an option,” Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier said.

“Last year, reports indicated a vast majority of Florida’s residences were inadequately insured,” he said.

“Floridians must review their insurance policies, understand their coverages, and make the necessary adjustments to ensure they are adequately covered. Prepare now, and protect your property for when the next storm arrives.”

Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, who oversees the Office of Insurance Regulation, recalled the damage Irma inflicted up the length of Florida last summer.

“The images of the flood damage and losses I saw when traveling the state following Hurricane Irma will forever be ingrained in my memory,” Patronis said.

“Remember, flooding isn’t just a coastal concern, but a statewide issue,” he added.

State leaders have been encouraging private insurance companies to offer flood policies, often at comparable or lower prices than offered by the National Flood Insurance Program.

The number of companies eligible to write these policies increased from 20 to 26 between June 30, 2017, and March 31 this year — and, as of April, they’d issued more than 30,000 policies.

Basic homeowners policies tend not to cover flood damage. The insurance office offered this link to private flood insurance writers.

Additionally, the insurance office maintains a Hurricane Season Resources webpage, and Patronis has his own Disaster Preparedness site.

Also available is Patronis’ Insurance Consumer Helpline: 1-877-My-FL-CFO (1-877-693-5236).

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