Sep 27, 2022 - News

Insurance tips for homeowners pre- and post-Hurricane Ian

Illustration of pattern of houses partially submerged under water

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Storm surge from Hurricane Ian threatens more than 1 million single-family and multifamily homes on Florida's Gulf Coast, according to a new report from housing analytics firm Core Logic.

  • The reconstruction cost value — more simply put, how much it would cost to rebuild those homes — totals $258.3 billion.
  • "If it lands near Tampa and then goes and hits Orlando, you're talking about major losses," Shahid Hamid, director of an economic research lab at Florida International University's International Hurricane Research Center, told Axios.

We compiled some tips for homeowners throughout Florida facing storm damage or flooding:

Before a storm: Make paper copies of insurance policies, and store them in waterproof cases, such as Ziploc bags. Make sure you also have your policies saved online, so that they're accessible from anywhere via computer.

  • Take photos and videos of your home and valuable items, such as appliances and electronics. Be sure to get their makes, models and serial numbers.

After a storm: Make any urgent emergency repairs (such as covering a broken window), secure property from theft, and immediately report damage by filing a claim with your insurance company. An adjuster should come do an inspection within a few days.

According to the Insurance Information Institute:

  • Property damage caused by wind is typically covered under standard  homeowners, renters and business insurance policies.
  • Homeowners with insurance plans through FEMA's National Flood Insurance Program can generally get flooding damage covered. "I think Miami-Dade County probably has the highest coverage, which is 35% of the homes," Hamid said.
  • The comprehensive portion of an auto insurance policy — which is optional — will cover storm-related damage to your car.

The big picture: Florida is in the midst of an insurance crisis. Floridians pay the highest average premium for property insurance in the nation: $4,231 — nearly triple the U.S. average of $1,544, according to the Insurance Information Institute.

  • Meanwhile six Florida property insurance companies have declared bankruptcy this year, and others are canceling or not renewing policies.

Between the lines: Hamid said costs have been driven up partly because of Florida's hurricane risk, but also because other perils — like wildfires in other states — raise costs for insurers.

Go deeper: Newcomer's guide to hurricane prep: What to consider ahead of a storm


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