Blog

Hurricanes and Flood Insurance: What Homeowners Should Know

 

To protect your home against hurricane and flood damage, purchase flood insurance.

 

This article written by Ron Leshnower breaks down information about homeowners insurance and hurricanes including storms and flooding so well. Check it out! 

 

Here's how to get flood insurance, and what it will and won't cover. (For general information about homeowners' insurance, read Nolo's article Homeowners' Insurance: What You Need to Know.)

Get Flood Insurance Coverage for Property and Contents

A flood insurance policy through the NFIP can provide maximum coverage of $250,000 for property and $100,000 for contents. (Property and contents coverage must be purchased separately, even though they may form part of the same policy.) If you want additional coverage, you can purchase excess flood insurance from private insurers. The average flood insurance policy costs less around $700 per year, according to the NFIP.

If you buy a home in a designated high-risk flood zone and get a mortgage loan from a federally regulated or insured lender, your lender must require that you purchase flood insurance.

If you live in a zone that's been designated moderate- or low-risk, you don't need to buy flood insurance for your lender's sake -- but you may want to do so anyway, especially if your own observations indicate that the official designation on your area are out-of-date (a common problem). According to FEMA, almost 25% of all flood insurance claims come from areas with low-to-moderate flood risk. The good news is that you'll qualify for a preferred-risk policy. The premiums for this type of policy start at only $137 per year (for both property and contents).

Here's what flood insurance pays out for each type of property covered:

  • Contents. Flood insurance pays actual cash value (not the most generous amount -- it means the cost to replace the damaged or lost property based on its actual, depreciated value as used goods).

  • Property. You can opt for replacement cost coverage (the cost to replace the damaged or lost property with new property, without regard to depreciation) if you're insuring a single-family home that is your primary residence. Available coverage is at least 80% of the full replacement cost of the building (an amount that's set in advance for your property) or the maximum available under the NFIP.

Know What Flood Insurance Doesn't Cover

A good flood insurance policy can be a financial lifeboat following a destructive event such as a hurricane. But flood insurance doesn't cover everything. Before buying, you should know about the following key restrictions and limitations, which are specific to flood insurance.

 

Water Must Have Come From Outside Your Home

If something breaks or malfunctions inside your home -- for instance, pipes freeze and burst or a toilet overflows -- and this leads to flooding, your flood insurance policy won't apply. However, your homeowners' policy should cover these types of losses. Ask your agent or broker to give you the lowdown.

Swimming Pools and Landscaping Aren't Covered

If something goes wrong with a swimming pool on your property and this causes your home to sustain flood damage, your flood insurance policy won't apply. Also, don't expect any reimbursement for flood damage to flower beds, vegetable gardens, trees, or other landscaping on your property.

Small Floods Don't Count

To be considered a flood, the water that causes damage must have covered at least two acres or have affected at least one other property. Also, if your home sustains any mold or mildew damage that you could have prevented from occurring, your policy won't cover such damage.

Living Expenses or Business Interruption Aren't Covered

Your flood insurance policy won't pay you for any living expenses you may incur (such as renting a hotel room until your property is fixed). Also, you won't recover any financial losses caused by business interruption (if you operated a business out of your home) or any other loss of your home's use.

Money and Important Papers Aren't Covered

Your policy won't pay for the value of any currency, precious metals, stock certificates, and other valuable papers that get destroyed in a flood.

Improvements and Most Contents in Below-Ground Areas Aren't Covered

Your flood insurance policy won't cover any improvements you've made to your basement, such as finished walls or floors. Also, almost all personal property (including clothing, computers and electronic equipment, kitchen and office supplies, and furniture) located in basements or other areas of your home below the lowest elevated floor aren't covered.

If You Want Coverage, Act Now

Unlike other types of insurance, flood insurance coverage doesn't kick in on day one. With few exceptions, you must wait 30 days after you first purchase a flood insurance policy before your policy will take effect. So the longer you delay looking for coverage for your home, the greater your risk of suffering a loss before your policy is actually in place.

 

Even if the next hurricane season is months away, you could still benefit from getting a flood insurance policy sooner. In addition to damage from hurricanes, a flood insurance policy will also protect you from losses from other causes, such as heavy or prolonged rainstorms, coastal storm surges, snow melt, clogged storm drainage systems, levee dam failures, and mudslides.

 

Read more...

Tropical Storm Josephine to form into hurricane within 24 hours.

 

 

Another tropical storm in this record-breaking hurricane season! This one is predicted to turn into a hurricane sometime in the next day! Check out this article below written By Joe Mario Pedersen, Orlando Sentinel ARTICLE FOUND HERE

Tropical Depression 11 has yet to make the push into a tropical storm Thursday morning, but meteorologists are seeing data that suggests its development could happen sometime in the next 24 hours, the National Hurricane Center said in its 5 a.m. report.

If it does, it will be the tenth named storm of the year and will be named Tropical Storm Josephine.

TD 11 has maximum sustained winds of 35 mph. If it develops strength over 39 mph, it will be classified as a tropical storm.

The depression is about 1,075 miles of the northern Leeward Islands and is moving west, northwest at 15 mph toward the Caribbean islands, but is expected to turn northeast away from Florida.

Satellite imagery is showing new convection in the storm is forming closer to the center, which suggests that re-organization is going on meaning short-term strengthening is still very much expected, the NHC said.

But looking at this storm in the long term, it doesn’t have much a future, said FOX 35 meteorologist Glenn Richards.

“Over the weekend it’s going to encounter a lot of wind shear and dry air due to the Saharan Air Layer,” Richards said. “It’s going to weaken the system as it gradually turns north.”

The Saharan Air Layer is a plume of beige dust that whips off the African continent every year and into the upper atmosphere, which then blows into the tropical Atlantic region. The dust acts as a hurricane shield to the area by absorbing moisture and disturbing the still air with wind sheer. However, the SAL is expected to peak next week meaning less dry dust will be occupying the air.

The season has seen nine named storms including two hurricanes plus the short-lived Tropical Depression 10. Richards is surprised the storm count is already so high this season.

“It might be the highest it’s ever been in my 27-year career here in Central Florida,” Richards said.”And we’re only in the middle of August.”

The high storm count goes hand-in-hand with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s adjusted 2020 tropical storm forecast, which predicts a total of 19 to 25 named storms before the end of the season on Nov. 30 - the most NOAA has ever predicted in a season.

The other remaining names for 2020 are Kyle, Laura, Marco, Nana, Omar, Paulette, Rene, Sally, Teddy, Vicky and Wilfred.

 

If the total amount of 2020 storms exceeds the designated name list, hurricane specialists will begin using letters from the Greek alphabet to name storm; a tactic meteorologists have only had to use once before in 2005, which had a total of 28 named storms.

 

Read more...

10 ways to prepare your home for hurricane season

 

We are right in the middle of hurricane season. The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration expects higher than normal Atlantic hurricane season with a high number of storms and hurricanes and so far they have been right on. 

Here are a few things you can do to stormproof your home and property as much as possible. 

Invest in HVAC unit covers

Not a lot of people know that air conditioner units have covers to protect from falling debris. 

Check your HVAC unit’s manufacturer and contact the company for a cover; the specific manufacturer of your unit has covers that work with your system so that it works in full capacity when the cover is in use

Plywood on windows

When you live in hurricane-prone areas it is always a good idea to have half-inch-thick plywood cut for your windows at the ready. If a tropical storm or hurricane is approaching you can place the plywood on the exterior of your window. Check out this link for a detailed description of how to install plywood to your exterior windows. 4 Ways to Board Up Windows for a Hurricane

Install impact-resistant windows

“High impact windows are what you want — if you want your house to have a better chance of surviving a hurricane!” 

There are 2 main types of impact windows, depending on the degree of impact resistance (i.e. likelihood of shattering) you’re after:

  1. One type of impact windows is designed for small missile (projectile) impacts. These windows consist of multiple layers of polyvinyl butyral (PVB) sandwiched between 2 sheets of glass. The glass is then placed in an autoclave at least 600 degrees Celsius under high pressure — to temper the glass in order to increase its strength.

  2. The other type of impact windows is designed for larger missile impacts. These windows are referred to as PET laminated glass and glass-clad polycarbonate. In most cases, the windows are attached to the frame with structural silicone sealant. 

Source of above info here!

Clear gutters and drains

Make sure the gutters and drains are clear of debris as there will be a lot of water rushing through those drains. 

 

Trim trees and shrubbery

Trim the bushes and branches around your home. Trees with branches touching your roof can aid in ripping tiles or shingles off causing further water leakage. 

 

Check the foundation

Check around the perimeter of your home checking for any signs of cracks or stress in the foundation. Water can leak through these cracks. Patch the problem areas. 

 

 

Protect appliances

When Power outages and surges can cause damage to the interior appliances. When a hurricane is heading in your direction it is wise to put appliance up on wood or concrete blocks in order to keep the motor away from flooding. It is important to never walk into a room where there is flooding when the electricity is not turned off. 

 

Buy a generator

As someone who has lived through hurricane Irma, I can attest to the fact that a good strong generator is ESSENTIAL in surviving the power outages. If you have a powerful one you can plug in the refrigerator and for the love of all things you can also plug in a fan to keep from dying of heat in the state of Florida. In my opinion it’s important to purchase a generator with enough energy possibilities to have multiple things running. 

Verify insurance coverage

Give your Give us a call to review your homeowners policy BEFORE a tropical storm is a named hurricane. We will make sure your policy is covering everything that is needed to protect your home and belongings!~  (239) 593-7333

 

Secure important documents

 

Make sure your important documents are secured, photocopied, backed up and waterproofed! 

Read more...

Storm Lota hit Central America on Tuesday, causing flooding, flipped roofs on streets and killing a reported 9 people.

 

The strongest storm on record to reach Nicaragua, Iota struck the coast late on Monday, bringing winds of nearly 155 miles per hour (249 kph) and flooding villages still reeling from the impact of Hurricane Eta two weeks ago.

Article here By midday (1800 GMT), the winds had fallen to 65 mph (105 kph) as Iota weakened to a tropical storm, the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) said. But Iota continued bringing down heavy rains as it moved inland toward southern Honduras.

"We're flooded everywhere, the rain lasted almost all night and now it stops for an hour then comes back for two to three hours," said Marcelo Herrera, mayor of Wampusirpi, a municipality in the interior of northeast Honduras crossed by rivers and streams.

"We need food and water for the population, because we lost our crops with Eta," he told Reuters.

The double punch of Eta and Iota marked the first time two major hurricanes have formed in the Atlantic basin in November since records began. The Nicaraguan port of Puerto Cabezas, still partly flooded and strewn with debris left by Eta, again bore the brunt of the hit.

Frightened residents huddled in shelters.

"We could die," said Inocencia Smith at one of the shelters. "There is nothing to eat at all," she added, noting Eta had destroyed local farms.

The wind tore the roof off a makeshift hospital. Patients in intensive care were evacuated, including two women who gave birth during the first rains on Monday, the government said.

Guillermo Gonzalez, head of Nicaragua's disaster management agency SINAPRED, said he had received reports of damage to houses and roofs, fallen power lines and overflowing rivers, but no deaths.

Two people died on Providencia island, part of Colombia's Caribbean archipelago near the coast of Central America, after it was clipped by Iota, President Ivan Duque said on Tuesday evening.

An additional person is missing, Duque said after a visit to the island, promising speedy shipment of humanitarian aid and removal of debris.

Nearly all of the infrastructure on Providencia - home to some 6,000 people - has been damaged or destroyed.

"We have seen a severe impact on infrastructure," Duque said on his nightly television broadcast. "The community, prevention mechanisms, shelters and alerts, meant there was not a substantial loss of human life."

Panama's government said a person had died in its western Ngäbe-Buglé region due to conditions caused by the storm.

A resident of Brus Laguna on the Honduran coast told local radio a boy was killed by a falling tree, though the mayor, Teonela Wood, said she had no reports of fatalities.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) said flooding from Iota risked causing disaster after Eta.

Daily newsletterReceive essential international news every morning

"We are very concerned about the potential for deadly landslides in these areas as the soil is already completely saturated," IFRC spokesman Matthew Cochrane told a media briefing in Geneva on Tuesday.

About 40,000 people in Nicaragua and 80,000 in Honduras were evacuated from their homes, authorities said.

By early afternoon, Iota was about 105 miles (169 km) east of the Honduran capital Tegucigalpa, the NHC said, adding that Iota could dump up to 30 inches (76 cm) of rain in some areas.

"We are in the hands of God. If I have to climb up trees, I'll do it," said Jaime Cabal Cu, a farmer in Guatemala's Izabal province. "We don't have food, but we are going to wait here for the hurricane that we're asking God to stop from coming." 



Read more...

Assumptions About Hurricane Season Face Winds of Change

 

By Seth Borenstein | March 18, 2021

 

With named storms coming earlier and more often in warmer waters, some assumptions about the Atlantic hurricane season are being rethought.

click here for original article

For six straight years, Atlantic storms have been named in May, before the season even begins. On Wednesday, a special World Meteorological Organization committee will discuss whether the hurricane season should be moved a couple of weeks earlier. The National Hurricane Center has already decided to start issuing its routine tropical weather outlooks for the Atlantic on May 15.

Meanwhile, the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration is recalculating just what constitutes an average hurricane season. If it follows the usual 30-year update model, the new “normal” season would have 19% more named storms and major hurricanes. And prominent hurricane experts want meteorologists to rethink how they warn people about wetter, nastier storms in a warming world.

“Climate change is real, and it is having an impact on tropical cyclones,” University of Albany atmospheric scientist Kristen Corbosiero said.

Starting Earlier

MIT hurricane researcher Kerry Emanuel said “this whole idea of hurricane season should be revisited.”

During the past nine Atlantic hurricane seasons, seven tropical storms have formed between May 15 and the official June 1 start date. Those have killed at least 20 people, causing about $200 million in damage, according to the WMO. So the organization will discuss an earlier starting season and likely commission a study to figure out how to adopt one.

Last year, the hurricane center issued 36 “special” tropical weather outlooks before June 1, according to center spokesman Dennis Feltgen. Tropical Storms Arthur and Bertha both formed before June 1 near the Carolinas.

“The Atlantic hurricane season has changed quite a few times in the past since the concept of a hurricane season came about,” but not since 1965, said University of Miami hurricane researcher Brian McNoldy. “I don’t think there’s any harm in including the May 15 start date.”

The early systems are generally weaker tropical storms, said Colorado State University hurricane researcher Phil Klotzbach. If the season begins earlier, he worries that people will lose interest by mid-August when hurricanes get more frequent and nastier.

Storms seem to be forming earlier because climate change is making the ocean warmer, McNoldy and Corbosiero said. Storms need warm water as fuel _ at least 79 degrees (26 degrees Celsius). Also, better technology and monitoring are identifying and naming weaker storms that may not have been spotted in years past, Feltgen said.

Changing Normals

Meteorologists calculate climate averages based on 30-year periods to account for variations in daily weather.

Over the next few weeks, the 30-year average for Atlantic hurricanes is being recalculated by NOAA. That means changing the benchmark for normal from the 1981-2010 period to the much busier 1991-2020 period.

University of Miami’s McNoldy did his own calculations based on NOAA data and found that the average number of named storms a year would jump from 12.1 to 14.4 if the benchmark is changed. Thirty years ago, the average was 10 named storms.

With more storms, risks for people and property go up and that’s likely to continue, McNoldy said. Last year’s record of 30 storms was like two seasons crammed into one, he said.

But Colorado State’s Klotzbach said hurricane activity should eventually quiet down. For decades, researchers have talked about a cycle of about 20 to 30 years of busy hurricane seasons followed by 20 to 30 years of quiet ones _ generally with the current active period starting around 1995. He said using a new 30-year average starting in 1991 would not really be normal because it would include too many busy years and not enough quiet ones.

But recent research from Pennsylvania State University’s Michael Mann showed that the once-accepted busy-and-quiet cycle doesn’t really exist and quiet years were actually more of a result of air pollution and volcanic eruptions. So a warming world means the new normal is busy hurricane seasons just like the last 30 years.

Storm Warnings

With so much activity, MIT’s Emanuel said the current warnings are too storm-centric, and he wants them more oriented to where people live, warning of specific risks such as floods and wind. That includes changing or ditching the nearly 50-year-old Saffir Simpson scale of rating hurricanes Category 1 to 5.

That wind-based scale is “about a storm, it’s not about you. I want to make it about you, where you are,” he said. “It is about risk. In the end, we are trying to save lives and property,”

Differentiating between tropical storms, hurricanes and extratropical cyclones can be a messaging problem when a system actually has a cold core, because these weaker storms can kill with water surges rather than wind, Emanuel and Corbosiero said. For example, some people and officials underestimated 2012’s Sandy because it wasn’t a hurricane and lost its tropical characteristic.

About the photo: This Wednesday, May 27, 2020 satellite image made available by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows Tropical Storm Bertha approaching the South Carolina coast. On Wednesday, March 17, 2021, a World Meteorological Organization committee plans to discuss whether the Atlantic hurricane season should start on May 15 instead of the traditional June 1. (NOAA via AP)

 

Read more...

Hurricane Elsa on the Way to Florida

 

 

We hope you are enjoying the 4th of July holiday weekend with your family and friends.

 

Our office location will be closed Monday in observance of the holiday, but rest assured, we will be here to help should Tropical Storm Elsa affect our clients.

 

As a reminder, you can text our office at 239-593-7333 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. One of our insurance professionals will be in touch as soon as possible.

 

 

Please note that insurance companies will not allow us to bind or alter coverage at this time due to Tropical Storm Elsa.

 

The latest news from CNN regarding hurricane Elsa shows it heading towards South West Florida. 

Source 

The hurricane center said Elsa was moving west-northwest at 14 mph with maximum sustained winds of 60 mph. Elsa's tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 115 miles from its center.
Elsa is moving very near Jamaica and parts of eastern and central Cuba on Sunday, the hurricane center said, where tropical storm conditions are expected and hurricane conditions are possible later Sunday and at night.
Watches and warnings are in place as Tropical Storm Elsa approaches Cuba.
 
The forecast is less certain after Sunday, meteorologists said, but Elsa could bring heavy rain and gusty winds to South Florida this week as a tropical storm -- including the site of the deadly Surfside condo collapse.
The hurricane center issued a tropical storm warning for the Florida Keys, from Craig Key west to Dry Tortugas. Meanwhile, a tropical storm watch has been issued from Craig Key east to Ocean Reef, and for the southwest coast of Florida, from Flamingo north to Bonita Beach.
By Monday, Elsa is expected to track across central and western Cuba and head toward the Florida Straits. Tropical storm conditions are forecast for portions of the Keys and southwestern Florida by Monday evening. Elsa is then forecast to move near or over portions of the west coast of Florida on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Some slight strengthening is possible Sunday as Elsa tracks through warmer waters, approaching the south-central coast of Cuba. However, gradual weakening is forecast to occur Sunday night and Monday when Elsa moves across Cuba. After the storm passes Cuba, it will track into the Florida Straits where some slight restrengthening is possible as it moves over the warm Gulf Stream.
Tropical Storm Elsa will impact parts of Cuba and Jamaica Sunday.
 
Tropical storm conditions, including heavy rainfall and storm surge of 1 to 3 feet, are expected late Monday in the Florida Keys, and are possible along the coast of southwestern Florida beginning Monday night.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis issued a state of emergency for 15 counties on Saturday ahead of Elsa. He encouraged residents to begin preparation efforts, including stocking their disaster supply kits with a week's worth of supplies and coming up with a disaster plan.
"We're preparing for the risk of isolated tornadoes, storm surge, heavy rainfall and flash flooding," DeSantis said.
The state of emergency covers Charlotte, Citrus, Collier, DeSoto, Hardee, Hernando, Hillsborough, Lee, Levy, Manatee, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Pasco, Pinellas and Sarasota counties.
Based on the latest forecast track, Elsa could start bringing winds and rain to the Florida Keys and southwestern Florida by Monday night as a tropical storm. It then could track along Florida's west coast early next week.
The hurricane center forecasts Elsa will bring 2 to 6 inches of rain to portions of the Florida Keys and southern Florida.

 

Read more...
Subscribe to this RSS feed