The state of Florida is still navigating the aftermath of one of the most devastating hurricanes in recent history. Hurricane Ian is still the center of many people’s lives as they sift through their losses. 

Too many people are coping with losing pretty much everything. At the very least, everyone has suffered some inconveniences or discomfort after Ian. Nearly everyone has questions, and not everyone you turn to is prepared to be honest with those who are looking for help.

A few weeks after the disaster, we’re here to provide you with an update on what the state of Florida and the insurance landscape looks like. 

What has been happening in Florida since Ian hit?

Driving through Florida likely doesn’t look the same as it did before Ian. What you see on the news might not be the full extent of the damage, but here are a couple highlights people have been focusing on:

  • Sanibel Causeway: Approximately five sections of the Sanibel Causeway were washed away in the hurricane. This left the residents of Sanibel Island stranded either away from their homes or on the island. What would have normally taken months to repair was provided a temporary fix in just a couple weeks, with teams of workers working around the clock to restore access to the island.
  • Flesh-eating bacteria: It’s likely few Floridians thought to worry about flesh-eating bacteria prior to the hurricane, but the rise in the bacteria has been affecting areas that were hit by Ian. The bacteria, necrotizing fasciitis, is found in warm, brackish water. Although it’s safe unless it enters the body through a wound, the mortality rate for those who are infected is about 20%
  • Agriculture loss: The hurricane is believed to have caused at least $1.2 billion in damage to the Florida agriculture industry. Nearly half of all citrus acres in the state were hit by the hurricane. If you’re experiencing a price hike in your typical OJ or other grocery items, Ian’s likely responsible.
  • How this affects Florida’s economy: Although the hurricane will put a damper on Florida’s economy for the remaining quarter of the year, natural disasters don’t typically have a large negative impact on economies. The real damage comes to individuals and small businesses that have been devastated by the hurricane, and it’s these people who will have the hardest uphill battle post-Ian.

With all these scenarios stacked on top of each other, it’s easy to see that not everyone will stay calm while navigating the aftermath of the storm. Some people or companies will be motivated by fear or desperation to take action after the storm. Keep this in mind as you make decisions about your home or insurance in the next couple weeks.

Related: Everything You Should Know About Hurricane Damage Claims

Hurricane Flooding Damage

The insurance scene post-Ian

Many Floridians still struggle to pay for their homeowner’s insurance. Unfortunately, too many people are now finding out that this same insurance they’ve been struggling to pay does not cover the damage of flooding from the storm.

Here’s what you need to know about the current landscape of Florida’s insurance market:

Flood insurance

As stated, many people are only now finding out that their homeowner’s insurance does not cover damage caused by flooding. This is leaving many people having to prove that their damage was caused by hurricane winds, rather than floods. However, flooding from a hurricane can devastate a home or building due to the mold growth that inevitably comes.

Homeowners insurance stopped covering flooding in the 1960s, because the risk of damage during a flood is high, nearly inevitable. FEMA was created as a result.

There are several areas in Florida that are considered “flood zones” and require people to have flood insurance if they own property in those areas. Only 15% of households in Florida have flood insurance.

85,000 Floridians had just dropped their flood insurance last year. Insurance companies are now asking these customers to pay at least part of their claims out of pocket, even though they were told by their agents that they were covered.

FEMA did just announce that they are extending the grace period for those affected by Hurricane Ian and whose policy recently expired. You can read more details here.

The extension is being made in response to the number of policyholders who have been unable to access their homes due to flooding and other post-storm damages. The extension will also allow additional time for policyholders who are still waiting on an adjuster or other necessary information from their insurance companies.

The extended deadline applies only to homeowners and commercial policies affected by Hurricane Irma. It does not apply to flood insurance policies purchased through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

Most people get about $5k in aid. This should help cover living expenses and anything you need as you’re waiting to get an insurance agent out to inspect the damage.

Related: 9 Water Damage Insurance Claims Tips To Help You Get Covered

Hurricane Flood Damage Claims

Homeowners insurance

Florida homeowners already pay significantly more for their coverage than nearly any other state in the US. With the devastation from Hurricane Ian, premiums will likely increase by 20-30% next year.

Proving that the damage to a home is caused by the hurricane winds is what many people are working towards now, since wind damage is covered by homeowner’s insurance.

A private study predicts that many local insurance companies will have to file for bankruptcy due to the devastation from Hurricane Ian

What’s not being said by insurance companies outright is that they will be doing everything they can to pay as little as possible to the people affected by the hurricane. Remember, they are a business trying to stay afloat during a crisis. Many have said that they can’t afford to pay what they owe everyone.

Hurricane Ian Waves Breaking

Florida going forward

So, everyone is wondering, what does the future of Florida look like? Here are the predictions we have so far.

Florida has had one of the biggest housing booms in the nation for the last couple years. Will this continue in a post-Ian Florida?

Even before Ian hit, the housing boom as a result of the pandemic was already starting to slow down. Hurricane Ian will likely slow down the market, but the desire to live in Florida isn’t going anywhere, even considering the risks.

If you’ve experienced damage, you need to contact your insurance carrier as soon as possible to assess the damage. Have a Public Adjuster at the ready, because you will likely need to debate your case.

Lastly, if you’ve made it out of Hurricane Ian relatively unscathed, there are several organizations you can donate to in order to help. Here are some we recommend:

One of the best things you can do during this time is to make sure that you are getting what you’re owed for the damage you’ve suffered. If Florida is going to rebuild, its homeowners and business owners can’t be struggling to raise funds for repairs they’ve already insured.

If you or someone you know needs an advocate to help your case, get a Public Adjuster on speed dial. A well-qualified Public Adjuster is skilled at negotiating the ins and outs of your policy, especially during times of crisis.

For professional advice, reach out to us at dependableresolutions@gmail.com

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