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Wind and Hail Insurance

Hurricanes - Does Condo Insurance Cover Your Unit?

This most dangerous storm is often called the "Killer Storm".

A Category 5 hurricane with winds of 155 miles per hour or more can cause catastrophic damage, but tropical storms with winds of 74 miles per hour or less, can be just as deadly. The difference is in the type of homeowners or condo insurance that is needed to pay for the damages.

When the massive Hurricane Andrew hit Florida, it left nearly 50 dead in its wake. By contrast, Tropical Storm Gordon killed more than 2,400 people as it wound its way through the Caribbean and the United States. Most people died of drowning.

Weather experts and emergency planners alike have been stressing for years that the most dangerous storm is the one you are in at the time!  At the very least, failure to take any storm seriously can cause a major inconvenience, but it could just as easily cost you or those around you their lives.

As the southeast becomes more populated, and the coastline is being saturated with condos just a few feet from the ocean, the burden on emergency services, utilities, transportation and communications increases. Even a small storm under the right circumstances could cut off those services for days, even weeks.  Taking the time to plan now can make a considerable difference in how well you survive any storm.

Regular homeowners insurance does not cover a hurricane if you are on the coast in what is called a "Wind Zone". Condo insurance directly on the oceanfront does include wind and hail, but property that the state deems outside of the oceanfront yet still in a likely high damage zone is covered by a separate state insurance policy known as Wind and Hail Coverage. In addition, flood is not covered by either - so be sure you discuss your coverage with your agent to be sure before a storm hits. It goes without saying that hurricane insurance for your condo or home is paramount, but being prepared, and taking the proper steps to evacuate and protect your property EARLY is also a requirement when it comes to serious weather activity.

EVACUATING

Whether to evacuate or not during a storm is a difficult decision. Most emergency planners recommend leaving early. Last minute evacuations could be more dangerous as roads become clogged with traffic or become impassible. During Hurricane Andrew there were reports of miles long lines of traffic traveling at 10 to 15 miles per hour. Many of these motorists could have found themselves trapped in their own vehicles.

The time to plan a possible evacuation is before a storm threatens. Evacuating could mean traveling a few miles to an approved shelter, to a friend's home on higher ground, or out the area entirely. Or local officials may recommend staying where you are. When a storm approaches, monitor your local radio and television stations for specific instructions on evacuations.

If you are forced to leave your home, you will need something to sleep on. Folding beach chairs make good choices. They are light, fold flat for easy storage and transportation and can double as a chair or bed. According to the Red Cross shelters will usually allow you to keep whatever will fit in 18 square feet, just slightly larger than the space for each beach chair. Your supply tubs will easily fit under the chair in the space provided.

Take these items with you when evacuating:

  • Prescription medications and medical supplies;
  • Bedding and clothing, including sleeping bags and pillows
  • Bottled water, battery-operated radio and extra batteries, first aid kit, flashlight
  • Car keys and maps
  • Documents, including driverís license, Social Security card, proof of residence, homeowners and hurricane insurance policies, wills, deeds, birth and marriage certificates, tax records, etc.
    DON'T FORGET YOUR HOMEOWNER'S INSURANCE INFO!

Gathering Supplies

  • First aid kit and essential medications.
  • Canned food and can opener.
  • At least three gallons of water per person.
  • Protective clothing, rainwear, and bedding or sleeping bags.
  • Battery-powered radio, flashlight, and extra batteries.
  • Special items for infants, elderly, or disabled family members.
  • Written instructions on how to turn off electricity, gas and water if authorities advise you to do so.
    (Remember, you'll need a professional to turn them back on.)

Know What to Do When a Hurricane WARNING Is Issued

  • Listen to the advice of local officials, and leave if they tell you to do so.
  • Complete preparation activities.
  • If you are not advised to evacuate, stay indoors, away from windows.
  • Be aware that the calm eye is deceptive; the storm is not over. The worst part of the storm will happen once the eye passes over and the winds blow from the opposite direction. Trees, shrubs, buildings, and other objects damaged by the first winds can be broken or destroyed by the second winds.
  • Be alert for tornadoes. Tornadoes can happen during a hurricane and after it passes over. Remain indoors, in the center of your home, in a closet or bathroom without windows.
  • Stay away from flood waters. If you come upon a flooded road, turn around and go another way. If you are caught on a flooded road and waters are rising rapidly around you, get out of the car and climb to higher ground.

Know What to Do After a Hurricane Is Over

  • Keep listening to NOAA, Weather Radio or local radio or TV stations for instructions.
  • If you evacuated, return home when local officials tell you it is safe to do so.
  • Inspect your home for damage.
  • Use flashlights in the dark; do not use candles.

Condo Insurance - Hurricane Insurance - Florida Homeowner's Insurance

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