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Hurricane DedutibleWith the devastation and damage left by past hurricanes, it is important to note some of the nuances that apply to homeowners coverage. Did you know that if you have hurricane coverage on your homeowners’ policy, you most likely have a separate hurricane deductible? A hurricane deductible is the amount a homeowner must pay (or is deducted from total claims payout) before insurance will cover the damage caused by a hurricane.

Many homeowners don’t realize that hurricane deductibles are separate from regular homeowners’ insurance deductibles and are based on a percentage of the home’s value, typically two to 10 percent. That percentage, along with details about a policy’s hurricane deductible, usually appears on the first page of your policy.

Nineteen states and the District of Columbia have hurricane deductibles. Florida laws are very specific regarding when the hurricane deductible applies, for what duration of time, and how many can be applied in a calendar year.

In Florida, hurricane deductibles apply for damage that occurs from the time a hurricane watch or warning is issued for any part of Florida, up to 72 hours after such a watch or warning ends, and anytime hurricane conditions exist throughout the state.

Most deductibles apply on a calendar year basis (some are per occurrence). Therefore, policyholders should always file claims even when the cost to repair the windstorm damage is less than the hurricane deductible. If you file the claim, the insurance carrier has a record of the amount of credit that should be applied towards the hurricane deductible for the second or subsequent claim resulting from a hurricane. For example, in 2004, some areas of Florida were hit by three major hurricanes in about 40 days.

Hurricane damage is usually extensive. Even though a $10,000 deductible may seem steep, it pales in comparison to the cost of rebuilding your home from the ground up without the financial help hurricane coverage offers.

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out to Gulfshore Insurance, we are here to keep you informed.

Andrea Pelletier, CPRIA, CPIA is Client Advisor and Partner at Gulfshore Insurance specializing in Private Risk Services. Andrea works with successful individuals and their families on creating and customizing package insurance solutions in the areas of luxury homes, car collections, jewelry, fine arts, watercraft, and personal excess liability. Comments and questions are welcome at apelletier@gulfshoreinsurance.com

Personal Lines Hurricane ChecklistAs you continue to take precautions to keep yourself and your family safe from the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to stay prepared for other disasters like hurricanes.

The Atlantic hurricane season began on June 1st. Last month we shared tips on preparing for the hurricane season during COVID-19, but we’ve also created a helpful hurricane checklist that includes COVID-19 considerations such as:

  • Including items in your “go kit” that can help protect you and others from COVID-19, such as hand sanitizer, or bar or liquid soap if not available, and two cloth face coverings for each person.
  • Make sure to give yourself more time than usual to prepare your emergency food, water, and medicine supplies as some items may be out of stock last minute due to the need during COVID.
  • When checking on neighbors and friends, be sure to follow social distancing recommendations to protect yourself and others.

 

Download the Hurricane Checklist

While there are many questions that remain about how this hurricane season will play out, we will continue to provide information and updates to keep you in the know. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out to me.

Ron Lazarto, CPRIA is Client Advisor and Partner at Gulfshore Insurance specializing in Private Risk Services. Ron specializes in offering customized property and casualty insurance solutions for successful individuals and their families. Comments and questions are welcome at rlazarto@gulfshoreinsurance.com

Personal Lines Minimize Damage After a HurricaneAfter a hurricane hits, it’s important that you keep your safety in mind before you begin assessing the damage that was done to your property. Do not return to your home until it is confirmed by authorities that it is safe for you to do so. With the danger of dangling power lines, fallen trees, flooding and more, you’ll want to keep these 8 things in mind when safely returning to your home or assessing it for damage:

  1. Check your power lines
    Beware of loose or dangling power lines and report them immediately to the proper authorities. If you see a power line that’s down, move away from it and beware of any water or other objects touching the lines.
  2. Don’t use your water
    Use your emergency supply of water or boil water before drinking until officials have given word that it’s safe.
  3. Operate a generator safely
    If you’ve lost power, make sure to operate your generator outside your home in a well-ventilated area. Do not operate generators or gas, propane or charcoal grills indoors or near your home’s ventilation areas.
  4. Protect the exterior
    If your home has sustained damage, cover the roof with tarps and your windows with plywood if it is safe for you to do so.
  5. Clean items left indoors
    Dust items with a soft brush and wipe metal objects with a soft, lint-free cloth.
  6. Assess interior damage
    If you have wet or damaged artwork, blot off excess moisture, remove wet backings, mats and frames and keep them in an air-conditioned room. Take pictures of any damage and contact professionals for assistance.
  7. Inspect your car
    Wash any debris from your car and take photos of any damage.
  8. Use caution while driving
    Be aware of fallen power lines, debris on the road, missing signs, or broken traffic lights. Be cautious of any moving water before driving through it, and make sure you have a spare tire.

For more tips on what to do before, during, and after a hurricane, check out these resources from Ready.gov. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out to me.

Andrea Pelletier, CPRIA, CPIA is Client Advisor and Partner at Gulfshore Insurance specializing in Private Risk Services. Andrea works with successful individuals and their families on creating and customizing package insurance solutions in the areas of luxury homes, car collections, jewelry, fine arts, watercraft, and personal excess liability. Comments and questions are welcome at apelletier@gulfshoreinsurance.com

Personal Lines Preparing for Hurricane Season During COVID 19

Atlantic hurricane season starts on June 1, and this year’s hurricane season is predicted to be more active than normal, with a higher likelihood of a major hurricane touching down on the U.S. coastline. These predictions compound potential issues for homeowners already stressed and sheltering in place due to the coronavirus pandemic. Given indications that the outbreak will continue into the hurricane season, this situation requires a new kind of planning. Among the many issues to be considered:

Evacuation will have extra complications

There is much we still do not know about how officials will handle evacuations considering the pandemic. Florida officials are considering adjusting the state’s hurricane-response plans to prepare for the possibility of an early storm season intersecting with the COVID-19 pandemic. With the dramatic decrease in airline schedules, getting out of the way in case a hurricane is headed your way is set to become even more difficult. Staying at a hotel or with friends or family who live farther inland will likely be better options than relying on a large emergency shelter.

Stocking up on supplies and food

Since shortages of various items are increasingly common these days, experts are urging homeowners to proactively line-up defenses and be ready for heightened storm activity, before the rush that occurs when hurricane and tropical storm forecasts threaten our area. Household stocking of supplies may be even more critical than normal to get through the hurricane season. Stock up early on items such as batteries, flashlights, a battery-operated radio, fully charged back up cell phone chargers, first aid kits, nonperishable food and medicine.

Protecting valuable property 

Once personal safety is addressed, your plan should also consider protecting property. Who is going to be responsible for installing storm shutters or testing sump pumps and making sure there’s sufficient battery backup? In addition, valuable collections that previously were able to wait until a warning had been issued to call a service to pick up and store may no longer be a feasible option. Consider preemptively removing some property out of harm’s way while you have the resources available.

While there are many questions that remain about how this hurricane season will play out, we will continue to provide information and updates to keep you in the know. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out to me.

Andrea Pelletier, CPRIA, CPIA is Client Advisor and Partner at Gulfshore Insurance specializing in Private Risk Services. Andrea works with successful individuals and their families on creating and customizing package insurance solutions in the areas of luxury homes, car collections, jewelry, fine arts, watercraft, and personal excess liability. Comments and questions are welcome at apelletier@gulfshoreinsurance.com

Personal Lines Protect Your Home Before Hurricane Season V2

With the start of hurricane season approaching, now is the best time to take a look at your properties’ vulnerability to extreme spring and summer weather like storm surge, flooding, and wind.

Here is a checklist to make sure you’re prepared:

  1. Plan Your Evacuation Route. Start by figuring out if you live in a hurricane evacuation area. Contact your local government/emergency management office or by check the evacuation site website. In the event of a major storm, you may be asked to evacuate, so it’s  wise to create your evacuation plan well before a disaster strikes. Don’t forget to take your pets into account.
  2. Organize a Basic Supply Kit. Check emergency equipment, such as flashlights, generators and storm shutters.
  3. Write or Review a Family Emergency Plan: Before an emergency happens, sit down with family or close friends and decide how to get in contact with each other, where you will go, and what to do in an emergency. Keep a copy of this plan in an emergency supplies kit or another safe place where it can easily be accessible in the event of a disaster.
  4. Review Your Insurance Policies. Take a moment to review your policies and ensure that there is adequate coverage for your home and personal property. If you are unsure, send me a message and I will be happy to review your current policies.

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out. We are here to help.

Ron Lazarto, CPRIA is Client Advisor and Partner at Gulfshore Insurance specializing in Private Risk Services. Ron specializes in offering customized property and casualty insurance solutions for successful individuals and their families. Comments and questions are welcome at rlazarto@gulfshoreinsurance.com