- Revised - Commissioner McCarty Urges Floridians To Purchase Flood Insurance
Tallahassee - (04/30/2007) Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty urged Floridians to purchase flood insurance to protect their homes. McCarty's warning comes on the eve of the 2007 hurricane season which officially begins June 1. The Commissioner also warns Floridians, in most circumstances, there is a standard 30-day waiting period before coverage takes effect.
"If Floridians want flood insurance by the beginning of hurricane season -- they need to purchase it by May 1," Commissioner McCarty warned. "We learned several lessons from the 2004-2005 hurricane seasons, one of those lessons was that many people were unaware that flood damage is not covered by homeowners' policies. Buying flood insurance is easy, affordable, and provides an extra layer of security in the event of a catastrophic event."
During the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, one research report cited up to 80% of properties damaged in Mississippi, and 60% of properties in low-lying New Orleans did not have flood coverage. This also spawned litigation, whether specific damage was caused by hurricane force-winds or the accompanying storm surge. Some litigation in the gulf coast states is still pending.
"In Florida nearly one-third of Florida's homes do have flood insurance, but that still leaves two-thirds of families without this coverage. Even people outside of the flood hazard areas should consider obtaining coverage," McCarty adds. A Rand Corporation study showed one-third of all floods occurred outside standard flood hazard areas; however, only one percent of people outside the flood plains buy insurance.
Florida consumers can purchase flood insurance for up to $250,000 for property damage, and $100,000 for personal contents. While a building and contents policy for the maximum level of coverage in a high flood risk area not on the water may be over $2,000, many low to moderate risk areas with the same coverage would cost less than $325.
Information about the National Flood Insurance Program can be found at the Federal Emergency Management Agency's website at: http://www.fema.gov/nfip
. In addition, consumers can check their relative flood risk by visiting http://www.floodsmart.gov
and entering specific property information. The tool provides consumers with the relative flood risk of a property and links to flood insurance resources.