Too late to buy flood coverage for Hurricane Ian
Here’s what you need to know about insurance ahead of Ian hitting Florida later this week:
Can I still get insurance?
It’s too late to purchase flood coverage for Ian. Insurance policies take 30 days to become effective, said Mark Friedlander, director of corporate communications at the Insurance Information Institute, the insurance industry trade group.
You can’t buy new coverage or change existing coverage over the course of a natural disaster event, he said.
Friedlander says Florida insurers usually will put a hold on new insurance policies, called a moratorium, once a hurricane or tropical storm warning or watch is issued for the state.
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As of 11 a.m. Monday, a tropical storm watch has been issued in the Florida Keys from the Seven Mile Bridge to the Channel 5 Bridge in the Middle Keys, according to the National Hurricane Center.
On the west coast, a tropical storm watch has been extended from Chokoloskee southward to Flamingo, the center said in its 11 a.m. Monday forecast.
Friedlander said he recommends planning ahead of hurricane season and conducting an annual insurance checkup with your agent to review your policies and identify gaps in coverage.
Why are insurance moratoriums in place?
Moratoriums are a standard insurance procedure for when hazards strike — or are about to strike — an area, Friedlander said. This usually happens during natural disasters, such as wildfires, tornadoes, earthquakes and hurricanes.
When do moratoriums lift?
Friedlander said policy moratoriums are usually lifted after the threat has passed. However, the timeline depends on the insurance company.
Are moratoriums in effect if I’m not in the storm’s cone?
Florida insurers enact a statewide moratorium once a storm watch has been issued by the National Weather Service for any county in the state, Friedlander said.
He added that the moratorium isn’t based on the projected trajectory of the storm. It applies even if the storm is not expected to hit to the policyholder’s area.
What should I do if my property was damaged and I’m uninsured?
If you’re affected by a storm, you should file a claim with FEMA. To file a claim with FEMA, go to DisasterAssistance.gov or call 800-621-3362.
If you are uninsured, Friedlander said you’d have to wait for FEMA emergency grants to be issued. He warns that getting the grant could be a “very complex process,” and the average grant is only about $10,000.
“That’s why we say don’t count on FEMA to help you recover,” he said. “That is why it is so important to have insurance because it provides actual protection for you and your family.”
Does car insurance cover storm damage?
Comprehensive car insurance covers storm-related damage to your vehicle, such as if a tree falls on your car or it is affected by flooding, Friedlander said. It can also cover a garage collapsing on your vehicle if your home is severely damaged.
But you have to check if you opted into comprehensive insurance. He noted that about 80% of U.S. drivers are enrolled in this optional coverage.
Is there anything I should do before Ian hits?
Before the storm, Friedlander suggests that you conduct a home inventory and take pictures or videos of your possessions, including furniture, clothing and electronics.
Documenting your possessions can make the claim process easier.
Miami Herald Staff Writer Omar Rodríguez Ortiz contributed to this report.
©2022 Miami Herald. Visit miamiherald.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
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