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Insurers warn Floridians to prepare for tropical storm

in Apolitical/Top Headlines by

A tropical storm stands an excellent chance of hitting South Florida this weekend. An insurance industry group wants Floridians to start getting ready.

The Property Casualty Insurers Association of America on Wednesday recommended Floridians review their policies now, to make sure they’re covered against storm damage, or add coverage, if necessary.

“Flood insurance is not covered by your standard homeowners policy; however, additional coverage can be purchased through the National Flood Insurance Program or your insurance company,” said Logan McFaddin, PCI’s Florida regional manager. “Florida is unique in that some insurers are offering flood insurance coverage, unlike other states, so it’s important to contact your agent or company right away.”

There’s a caveat: “Just be aware that there is typically a 30-day waiting period between the date of purchase and when the actual flood coverage goes into effect,” she said.

A tropical disturbance — called Invest 99 — was situated in the Lesser Antilles as of midday Wednesday, moving on a track that forecasters believe could bring it within range of the Florida Keys and later could threaten the Gulf Coast.

“Invest” is short for “investigation,” meaning the National Hurricane Center is monitoring developments. If the system develops into a tropical depression or storm, it would be named Hermine.

Here’s what McFaddin recommended:

— Review your policy, especially the declarations page. Does it cover replacement costs or actual cash value for a loss?

— Inventory household items, photographing or videotaping them for documentation. Keep these records and your policy in a safe place.

— Keep the name, address and claims-reporting telephone number of your insurer handy, in a safe place.

— Deploy hurricane shutters or board your windows, and move vehicles and patio furniture indoors. Secure your boat.

— Keep any receipts for repairs so you can be reimbursed.

The Association offers additional recommendations and resources here.

Michael Moline is a former assistant managing editor of The National Law Journal and managing editor of the San Francisco Daily Journal. Previously, he reported on politics and the courts in Tallahassee for United Press International. He is a graduate of Florida State University, where he served as editor of the Florida Flambeau. His family’s roots in Jackson County date back many generations.

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