Clearwater, FL (PRWEB) July 24, 2013
Hurricane season is well underway and federal forecasters predict it will likely be more active than usual. The forecast calls for 13 to 20 named Atlantic storms, with seven to eleven of such storms strengthening into hurricanes, and three to six that go on to become major hurricanes (1). Despite the fact that the Sunshine State has not experienced a major hurricane in seven years, Florida is seeing an increasing hike in insurance rates in anticipation of the damage associated with potential hurricanes. Because of Floridas propensity for natural disasters, Largo insurance agency Solace Insurance encourages residents to seek insurance coverage to ensure the safety of their homes and businesses, and gives tips to navigate exorbitant rate hikes.
Florida is known as a risky insurance market: 79% of its insured residential and commercial property lies in coastal areas vulnerable to both wind damage and flooding. The fragile nature of the industry has previously been exposedfirst beginning with Hurricane Andrew in 1992, which caused $ 26 billion in damages in Miami-Dade County, and continuing with the series of storms that hit Florida in 2004 and 2005 (2). With the states insurance rates steadily increasing as a result, the arguments over higher rates are sharply divided. Advocates of the increases say that residents are still paying less than they should, while opponents maintain that the states hurricane catastrophe fund and the reserves of insurance giant Citizens Property Insurance Corp. have built up billions of dollars in reserves to handle the next mega-storm (3).
Solace Insurance asserts that despite the rate hikes, Floridians have no choice but to retain insurance coverage. CEO of Solace Insurance and long-time industry veteran, Bob Childress, advises a better safe than sorry mentality, and pushes Floridians to begin insurance hurricane preparations now. Because many insurance plans are not all-inclusive, Childress suggests considering the following when securing or modifying insurance coverage for hurricane preparation:
Flooding. Even homes that are not in high-risk flood areas can potentially experience severe flooding. Many homes that suffer water damage during hurricane season are in areas that are not considered to be at risk of flooding. Remember that low-risk does not equal no-risk. Anyone can be financially vulnerable to floods. People outside of high-risk areas file over 20% of NFIP claims and receive one-third of disaster assistance for flooding (4).
Hurricane Deductibles. Many insurance policies have a separate, higher deductible for hurricanes (typically 2%), meaning that the policyholder is responsible for the first damages worth 2% of the homes value. For example, if a home is insured for $ 400,000, a 2% percent hurricane deductible leaves the homeowner on the hook for $ 8,000 in damages before the insurance kicks in. Be cognizant of a policys restrictions with regard to deductibles.
Wind. Ensure that wind is not excluded or restricted from the insurance policythere are often set parameters by which damage from wind can be claimed. If a policy omits wind damage from its coverage, it is best to obtain a separate wind only policy.
Childress maintains that the key to surviving Floridas hurricane season without severe financial turmoil is by being proactive with wise insurance investmentsrather than looking for the cheapest policy, residents should work to navigate the rate hikes while still ensuring security in the event of a disaster. He suggests that the right questions need to be asked when purchasing insurance, to ensure that a claim, if ever filed, will result in the protection that the homeowner truly needed:
1.Do I have the right type of coverage? Insuring everything, all property and valuables with one agency, though not required, is highly recommended for the most comprehensive evaluation of insurance needs and the best method for guarding against gaps in coverage.
2. Do I have the right amount of coverage? Insurance is a balancing actfailing to carry the proper amounts of insurance leaves policyholders facing an almost certain monetary loss, while too much coverage is a waste of money. The right amount of insurance is critical when protecting home and property.
3.Can I prepare for a claim ahead of time? Talk to your insurance agent ahead of time to obtain the best phone numbers to call when attempting to file a claim. Have all the necessary information on handits best to create a disaster plan before a disaster occurs. Check to see if your agent or agency has online claim filing capabilities.
4.Are temporary living expenses covered? Many policies cover living expenses if the policyholder is temporarily displacedcheck the policy, because there are often limits on how much a company will pay, and for how long. This coverage is not available on a flood insurance policy. Having money set aside to cover this expense is highly recommended.
The public can reduce their exposure to large financial loss caused by significant damage with adequate insurance coverageby preparing for the worst, Floridians will have all bases covered and will be able to endure hurricane season with peace of mind.
Solace Insurance consists of a team of professional agents who cultivate national relationships with carrier companies and have access to designated underwriters, allowing the agency to provide the best possible insurance coverage and pricing available in the market today. Childress advises Floridians to seek the assistance of professionals when looking to obtain comprehensive insurance policies.
The answer to emerging relatively unscathed from hurricane season is to minimize the riskcatastrophic plans are essential and should be obtained as soon as possible, said Childress. Having a strong protective foundation is the only way to weather the storms, and experienced insurance providers can help people attain the best safeguard for their homes or businesses.
Solace Insurance has been the recipient of many prestigious awards, most recently including its recognition by Safeco Insurance as a Premier Partner for its quality service and commitment to customers.
For more information about Solace Insurance and its services, visit http://www.restinsured.com.
About Solace Insurance:
As an independently-owned, full-service agency based out of Largo, Florida, Solace Insurance has provided quality insurance products to customers for over 30 years. Solace is a licensed insurance agency, with over one billion dollars in property insured, and has been recognized by many as a top performing agency. This status is what allows Solace to offer its customers the most competitive and economical programs available, all while providing expert advice and quality service. From standard auto policies to the more complex multi-tiered insurance programs, Solace has the depth of resources to find just the right policy for each individual and company. For more information, visit Solace online at http://www.restinsured.com.
1.No Hurricanes, but Floridas Insurance Rates Keep Rising. tbo.com. The Tampa Tribune, 27 May 2013. Web. 09 July 2013. tbo.com/weather/no-hurricanes-but-floridas-insurance-rates-keep-rising-b82496625z1.
2.Adams, David. Analysis: As Hurricanes Loom, Florida Insurance Lives on Borrowed Time. News.yahoo.com. Yahoo!, 01 June 2013. Web. 09 July 2013. news.yahoo.com/analysis-hurricanes-loom-florida-insurance-lives-borrowed-time-121045974.html.
3.Harrington, Jeff. The Constant Storm over Insurance Rates in Florida. Tampabay.com. Tampa Bay Times, 17 May 2013. Web. 10 July 2013. tampabay.com/news/business/banking/annual-battle-over-insurance-rates-more-predictable-than-hurricanes/2120420.
4. “Flooding & Flood Risks.” Floodsmart.gov. Nationa