Monday, June 1, 2015 marked the beginning of the Atlantic Hurricane season. Hurricane season in Florida runs from June 1st to November 30th, with most major storms occurring between August and October.
The National Weather Service is predicting a quiet year with 6 to 11 named storms, 3 to 6 hurricanes, and 1 to 2 major hurricanes. Colorado State University also is predicting a lower than normal year with 7 named storms, 3 hurricanes, and 1 major hurricane.
Florida hasn’t seen a major hurricane in over 10 years, and Tampa Bay hasn’t had a major storm hit in over 94 years. In fact, the last storm to hit was the Tampa Bay hurricane of 1921, which made landfall near Tarpon Springs.
As a result, Floridians are more complacent than ever. We are seeing more insureds exclude Wind coverage, and dropping their Flood coverage.
However, it is important to note that it only takes one bad hurricane to have a bad hurricane season. In fact the Weather Channel recently ranked Tampa Bay as the second most dangerous hurricane city in America (behind Houston, TX who is having problems now even without a hurricane). The reasoning behind the ranking is our potential for storm surge. If a major hurricane were to hit, waters could rise 20 feet or more, and the ocean could penetrate up to 3 miles inland. If this were to occur many of our policyholder’s homes would be under water.
So the time to prepare for the worse is now. We urge all policyholders to review their current coverages, including (but not limited to) your Home and Content’s limits, and Wind and Flood deductibles. If you have any questions about your current coverages, our agents are available to answer any questions you may have.
Along with reviewing your coverage, we urge policyholders to document all of their belongings. This will make filing a claim an easier process for all parties involved. You can document your belongings using pen and paper, a spreadsheet on your computer, or by taking photos or videos of your belongings. The Insurance Information Institute has free online home inventory software available at www.knowyourstuff.org. They also have a mobile application called “Your Plan” which you can download for free on the iTunes Store.
Another important step in preparing for hurricane season is to implement a hurricane plan. The Florida Division of Emergency Management has a website where you can build your own family or business plan. You can create one at the following website: //flgetaplan.com.
The plan has recommendations for making a disaster supply kit, which includes food, water, first aid kits, radios, cash, clothing and more. Preparing now can alleviate headaches if a storm were to take a surprise move and start barreling towards Tampa Bay. The plan also includes emergency contact phone numbers and evacuation routes.
We also recommend all boat owners to determine a plan for the boats in case of strong winds or flooding. We work with companies, that provide haul out coverage which helps pay the costs to relocate the boat if an impending storm is out it’s way to Tampa Bay. For more information about boat safety, please check out Pinellas County Emergency Management’s at: //www.pinellascounty.org/emergency/boat_safety.htm
If a storm were to affect Tampa Bay, our agency would make efforts to relocate if necessary. Since we work in a cloud-based environment, we expect very little downtime. We urge all insureds to follow us on Facebook and like us on Twitter so you can keep up to date with Insurance Resources in the sun and in showers.
Below are a few more links that may be helpful in preparing for hurricane season.
- Pinellas County Emergency Management – //www.pinellascounty.org/emergency/prepareahead.htm#prepared
- Pinellas County Evacuation Information & Maps – //www.pinellascounty.org/emergency/knowyourzone.htm
- Pinellas County Offices – //www.countyoffice.org/fl-pinellas-county
- NFIP Flood Insurance Claims Handbook – https://www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/documents/6659
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