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June Chore No. 1: Check Insurance Coverage, Inventory Home

Flooding? It’s not covered by standard homeowners insurance policies. Owners should also create a video inventory of household possessions in case they must make a claim.

SEBRING, Fla. – June is here; that means sunscreen, bathing suits, sweet tea and yes, hurricane season. Hurricane season starts June 1 and runs through Nov. 30.

State Farm Public Affairs Specialist Jose Soto has urged homeowners to take a look at their homeowner’s insurance before the season starts to determine if the policy is up to date. Homeowners want to make sure they know what their policy covers and what it doesn’t.

Sound drastic? Any Floridian who has been through a major hurricane such as Irma, Michael or Andrew can attest to the damage a storm can do. Ask any Floridian who has ever had a blue roof – or still does – and they will probably tell you the importance of checking out your policy.

Those in the Panhandle know too well how important insurance was after Michael and how important it was to have policies in a safe place after the storm leveled many areas in October 2019.

“State Farm received over 11,600 total Florida claims (approximately 5,090 homeowner claims and 6,520 automobile claims) from Hurricane Michael,” Soto said. “The number of Floridians impacted by Hurricane Michael serves as a strong reminder of the importance of having appropriate insurance coverage in place.

“Homeowner’s insurance does not cover floods,” he said.

Soto said many people assume a homeowner’s policy covers water damage associated with hurricanes and related flooding, but only flood insurance covers that kind of damage. Many people may only be able to purchase flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program through the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

“There is a 30-day waiting period when it comes to a flood policy,” Soto said. “Any new policy added to a home will have a 30-day waiting period. If the home was a new purchase, there would be no waiting period for flood insurance.”

Soto also said if a house was refinanced and a flood insurance policy was added, there would still be a 30-day waiting period. Named storms or hurricanes will affect home purchases.

“Insurance companies won’t write homeowner policies when there is a named storm,” Soto said. “Once a storm has been named, that’s it.” (Insurers’ policies vary, but none will write a new policy once a storm actively threatens a wide area, even if a specific area of Florida doesn’t appear to be threatened.)

Renters should also check their renter’s insurance policy.

Soto also said that homeowners and renters should take a digital inventory of their valuables. In a press release, Soto said to take pictures or videos of items, especially high-dollar items. Taking pictures of receipts and serial numbers is a good idea for replacing items that get lost in a hurricane or stolen from a home.

Keep the videos or lists of valuables, along with copies of the insurance policy in a fireproof/waterproof safe.

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