The hurricane season has officially started. Now is the time to check your property insurance to make sure you know what to expect in the event of a storm.
The standard advice goes every year: have all of your policy documents, as well as videos and photos of your belongings, in one place if you need to be evacuated. And don’t forget to prepare your home in good time against hazards such as overhanging branches.
But there are a few other things to consider this year. The Tampa Bay Times spoke to Jake Holehouse, president of St. Petersburg-based HH Insurance Group, about what to expect. Answers have been edited for clarity and length.
What do Floridians need to know about what they are paying out of pocket for their policies?
“One of the great things about Florida, like other states, is that we have a hurricane deductible. For most people, they have a $ 2,500 deductible for non-hurricane damage (damage not caused by a hurricane) and a 2 or 5 percent deductible for hurricane losses. This percentage is not the entitlement amount. It is the home cover (for the insured house). If we have a $ 300,000 home, with a 5 percent deductible, that’s a $ 15,000 deductible. Know what that means and what your derivative is, because now is the time to make an adjustment before a storm comes. “
When does a hurricane deductible occur?
“Any time the National Hurricane Center issues a hurricane watch or warning for any part of Florida, your hurricane deductible will go into effect and last 72 hours after the notice is cleared.”
What if a hurricane breaks through but the damage to my home is insufficient to cover the excess?
“On the Florida marketplace, all approved insurance carriers offer this deductible on a calendar year basis. Every claim adds up to this hurricane deductible. Even if you have a high deductible there, we recommend that you report this claim to the insurance company, even if it is below the deductible (because it can add up to your deductible (over the year)). “
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What’s new this year?
“The roof age has a strong influence on new business. It’s stricter this year. You have essentially four main types of roofing materials. Composite shingles, one flat shingle … were insurable for up to 15 years. Then you have an architectural clapboard in which you see a small dimension; these could be insured for up to 20 years. Tiled roofs were insurable between the ages of 40 and 50. Metal roofs were also 40 to 50 years old. (This year) the market average is that composite shingles can be insured for (up to) 10 years from the perspective of new business. Architectural clapboard is 15 years. For tiles there are some (carriers) that are 15 years old, but most of them are 25 years old (for) tiles. And metal is still a 40 to 50 year old material. The reason for (the) tile (change) is that it is so difficult to assign. “
50,000 policyholders will have to find new insurance coverage in the coming weeks and months. What do you recommend to them?
“Speak to your agent as soon as possible and see what he does to re-market your account. Ask if you need a new type of inspection to get a new policy. In Florida, you will often need to have a four-point inspection and a draft shield inspection. If so, you may need to plan and get that inspection back to establish a policy. You want to get started as soon as possible. If you notice a significant increase in price, consider additional (coverage) options. Start with your current (insurance) agent who will help you (and) already has all of your documents. “