panama city beach hurricane weather storm

The Atlantic hurricane season is underway with two named storms already in the books, but one-in-three (34 percent) Florida residents don't make advanced preparations, according to a recent AAA Consumer Pulse survey.

Colorado State University predicts a near-average hurricane season with twelve named storms, five hurricanes and two major hurricanes this year. But if a named storm sparked evacuation warnings, nearly 18 percent of residents say they won't leave their homes. Of those who would evacuate, 58 percent say they would only leave for a category three hurricane or greater.

"Residents should stay vigilant and be prepared for a major weather event," said Gene Calkins, Vice-President of Insurance Agency, and AAA, the auto club group. "Part of that preparation includes having a storm kit, evacuation plan and proper insurance coverage, which includes flood insurance."

Floods are the No. 1 disaster in the United States, and homes in low risk zones account for nearly 20 percent of yearly flood claims. Just two inches of water in a 2,000 square foot home, can cause as much as $21,000 or more in damage.

However, 71 percent of Florida residents do not have flood insurance, which is separate from homeowners insurance.

"The majority of residents in Florida do not know there is normally a 30-day waiting period for a new flood policy to take effect," says Josh Carrasco, spokesperson, AAA – The Auto Club Group. "If you wait until a storm is named and heading in your direction, you will be too late. Now is a great time to check with your insurance agent to ensure you are covered before the busy storm season begins."

AAA hurricane preparation tips

  • Secure your home
    Inspect your home for minor repairs needed to roof, windows, down spouts, etc. Trim trees or bushes that could cause damage in case of high winds.
  • Make a plan
    Develop a Family Emergency Plan that includes ways to contact each other, alternative meeting locations, and an out-of-town contact person. Identify a safe room or safest areas in your home. Research your evacuation route. Be sure and include plans for pets.
  • Take inventory
    Update your home inventory by walking through your home with a video camera or smart phone. Keep a record of large purchases including the cost of the item, when purchased and model and serial numbers as available.
  • Stock emergency supplies
    Plan for a week's worth of non-perishable food and water. Be sure and have flashlights, extra batteries, battery-powered radio, medications, first aid kit, blankets, toiletries, diapers, etc. You may also want to prepare a portable kit and keep in your car should you evacuate.
  • Protect your property
    Review your homeowners insurance with your insurance agent to determine if you have adequate protection. Discuss your deductibles. Be aware that flood insurance is not typically covered under a homeowners policy. Flooding to an automobile is available under the Physical Damage coverage.

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