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Blown Away by the Small Print: Tips on Florida Hurricane Insurance

Florida seems synonymous with hurricanes. In fact, 7 out of the 10 most costly hurricanes in the United States affected Florida. Within just over a decade (2004-2005), a whopping four hurricanes occurred: Charley, Frances, Ivan, Katrina (the most well known), Rita, and Wilma. While there’s been a lucky streak of no damaging hurricanes since Wilma, no one knows the future. And even though weather forecasters are generally correct, the key point is “generally”. As with any insurance, better to pay Florida hurricane insurance premiums and be covered, rather than be wiped out completely should your home be brought to the ground.

As a Floridian, you’re likely to be required to have some kind of hurricane insurance. But as always (and especially with insurance) – it’s buyer beware. Here are some tips for Florida hurricane insurance coverage.

#1. Hurricane insurance is not flood insurance. Hurricane insurance might only cover wind damage. You need separate flood insurance.

#2. Flood insurance also doesn’t cover all of the water-caused damage. Flood insurance does not cover flooding from within the home (that’s plumbing insurance). Neither does it cover landscaping, swimming pools, files, nor stowed money.

#3. You might be able to lower your hurricane insurance premiums with the following adjustments to your home:

a) Newer home construction. Depending on the insurance company, homes built after a certain year may have lower premiums.

b) Wind-resistant roofing

c) Secondary roof water protection: An extra layer between roof sheaths and shingles.

d) Storm shutters

e) Braces on garage doors

f) Certified roof tie-downs: Hurricane belts/clips/anchor belts

#4. The devil is in the details of lower premiums with a higher deductible. This is always a question with insurances. You forgo a larger payout if you choose lower premiums with a higher deductible, so weigh your options based on the value of your home and your routine budget.

Your home is one of the largest investments you’ll make in your lifetime, and that’s why the various types of home insurance are critical to preserving its value. Since the risk of hurricanes in higher in Florida than most other states, the decision about hurricane insurance is that much more important. Do your research, know what you’re covered for, and should you need to make a claim, contact LMR Public Adjusters in order to secure the best hurricane damage payout.

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