AAA survey finds 29% of Floridians wouldn’t evacuate in hurricane
Hurricane Michael damage to Mexico Beach. Image via Getty.

Recovery Efforts Continue In Hurricane-Ravaged Florida Panhandle
Advisory comes just as 50K Floridians are losing their property insurance.

About three in every 10 Floridians say they would ignore official warnings to evacuate from a hurricane. According to a new survey, of those who would leave, six of every 10 would only go if facing a Category 3 or worse storm.

AAA — The Auto Club Group released the results of its survey on the first day of hurricane season, Tuesday, with warnings that Floridians need to be prepared, including checking on insurance coverage and possible claims.

As the 2021 hurricane season arrives, more than 50,000 Florida property owners are on the verge of losing their property insurance, according to recent news reports, including by the Tampa Bay Tribune and Insurance Journal, leading to additional cautions from AAA, which also sells property insurance.

In late April and early May, the Office of Insurance Regulation signed off on three consent orders, allowing Gulfstream Property and Casualty Insurance Company to cancel 20,311 policies, Southern Fidelity Insurance Company to drop 19,600, and Universal Insurance Company of North America to drop 13,294.

“I can’t think of a worse time to be left without homeowner’s insurance than during hurricane season,” Jennifer Pintacuda, President of AAA’s Florida-based property insurance provider Auto Club Insurance Company of Florida, said in a news release. “AAA encourages all Floridians to meet with a licensed insurance agent and ensure your policy is active and with a financially sound carrier. Since coverage levels can vary based on your property and individual needs, it is all the more reason to go with a provider you can trust.”

According to The AAA Consumer Pulse Survey conducted in March of 400 Florida residents, 29% would not evacuate their home if they were warned to. Of those who said yes, they would evacuate, 60% would only do so for a Category 3 hurricane or greater. The poll also found that 43% of Floridians do not have an emergency plan.

“Don’t wait until Florida is in the cone of uncertainty; get ready now,” Mark Jenkins, spokesman, AAA — The Auto Club Group, said in a news release. “Gather supplies while they’re still on the shelves, develop an evacuation plan, and prepare your home.”

Among AAA’s other recommendations, Floridians should:

— Review their homeowner’s insurance with a licensed insurance agent to ensure they have adequate protection, make sure they are comfortable with the deductibles, and be aware of whether or not coverage includes flood insurance.

— Inspect their homes for minor repairs needed to roofs, windows, downspouts, etch, and trim trees or bushes that could cause damage in high winds.

— Update an inventory of home possessions by making a video record, and keep records of large purchases. Store important documents in a portable, waterproof container.

— Plan for a week’s worth of nonperishable food and water, and make sure other emergency supplies, such as flashlights, batteries, medications, first aid kids, etc., are stocked.

— Identify a safe room, preferably an interior room with no windows, where family members can gather in an emergency.

— Identify ways to contact your family members, alternate meeting locations, and an out-of-town contact person, anticipating no cellphone service.

— Review eviction plans, including alternate routes and destinations, including a plan for your pets.

— Make sure vehicles are in good working order and gassed up.

Scott Powers

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at [email protected].


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