What you need to know about home insurance before a hurricane hits
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – With a potential hurricane hitting Florida next week, the window for buying home insurance is closed or closing.
WPTV looked at how the insurance industry is preparing for the potential impact of a storm and what you as a homeowner should be doing right now.
If you’re closing on a new home in the next few days, check with your insurance company to make sure your wind and flood coverage is still in effect.
Finding homeowners insurance has been a nightmare for many homeowners in our area, but it’s times like these that you’re relieved to have it.
“Take pictures of everything around your house, even inside your house,” said Jeff Dobbins, public fitter.
Speaking from experience as a lifelong Floridian, Dobbins said he’s run the gamut of emotions when it comes to finding homeowners insurance.
“My insurance broker went to about 15 different insurance companies,” Dobbins said. “As my roof is 25 years old, there was hardly anyone who was going to take me.”
This summer, he joined about a million other Florida homeowners when he got a policy by Citizens Property Insurance Corporation, the public insurance company. But insurance experts said citizens’ policyholders shouldn’t worry.
“Basically, if citizens were in a situation where they needed to get some extra money, the way citizens are structured, they can go to other auto and home insurance policies in the state of Florida to get the extra funding,” Michael Barry with the Insurance Information Institute, a consumer education organization.
Barry said it’s important to take a look at your wind and flood insurance coverage now, but be aware that the window to make changes or add coverage is likely closing, if it isn’t already. do.
“If you’re in the spaghetti model cone, they won’t write your policy,” Dobbins said.
“It makes sense if I’m a home insurer, I probably don’t want to take on a new client today because all the signs point to a storm and potential damages coming in the middle of next week,” Barry said.
In the current state of the market, some insurers could find themselves in their own cone of uncertainty.
Barry said a storm hitting any part of South Florida could cause further damage to an already fragile industry.
“I think the concern here is what a major storm would do to change market dynamics,” Barry said. “Would that cause other companies to reduce their exposure or leave the state altogether?”
One thing you can do right now is take pictures of your home inside and out, especially your roof and ceilings. This will help you if you need to file a claim.