The federal flood program is no longer the only option for Floridians.
The number of insurers now offering private flood insurance in Florida has increased by 45 percent since 2017, as regulators work to expand the market and help more homeowners protect themselves from the costly risk that threatens the entire state.
In a recent statement, Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis and Florida Insurance Commissioner David Atlmaier urged Floridians to start preparing for the 2019 Hurricane Season now, which starts from June 1. Homeowners are encouraged to review to their insurance policies, understand their coverages and secure flood insurance as soon as possible, as there is typically a 30-day waiting period before a flood policy takes effect.
According to the statement, the number of insurers eligible to write private flood insurance in Florida increased from 20 to 29 since June 2017.
Private carriers have written more than 62,000 personal primary flood insurance policies in Florida, a 169 percent increase since 2017. The coverage is usually offered at rates similar to or lower than those of the National Flood Insurance NFIP, the statement said, providing more choice to consumers and an alternative to the federal program.
Most standard homeowners insurance policies in Florida do not include coverage for flooding, and this coverage must be purchased separately through a private insurance company or the federally-administered NFIP. Flood insurance coverage can often be purchased directly from a consumer’s existing insurance agent or company.
“The 2017 Hurricane Season impacted virtually every county in Florida, with Hurricane Irma resulting in more than $8.6 billion in insured losses. Last year, Hurricane Michael caused more than $6.3 billion in insured losses in the Panhandle alone,” Patronis said.
“It is important to start preparing now and understand your insurance coverages and needs. Review your policy and add any coverage you think you may need, such as flood insurance. Remember, flooding is not just a coastal concern and just one inch of water in your home can cause over $25,000 in repair damages.”
Altmaier said, “If you live in Florida, you are subject to flooding and are at risk of falling victim to one of the costliest types of disasters.
“According to the NFIP, the average flood insurance claim payment in 2017 was more than $90,000 and a vast majority of homeowners are not adequately covered for flood damages. Floridians must review their insurance policies, understand their coverages and secure flood insurance as they prepare for the 2019 hurricane season.”