Informing Floridians about flood insurance come hell or high water

by | Dec 18, 2017

Insurers would be required to inform policyholders that their homeowner’s insurance doesn’t include flood insurance under legislation filed in the Florida Legislature. The proposal would also require policyholders to initial a statement saying they’ve been made aware of that fact.

The bill’s sponsors say the intent of the legislation is to encourage policyholders to discuss their options for coverage with their insurance agents.

“After Hurricane Irma, many Floridians are still trying to piece their lives back together. It’s crucial that the often confusing, fine-print-details of insurance policy don’t add to the difficulties and stress of the recovery process,” stated House Democratic Leader Janet Cruz, D-Tampa, one of the sponsors of the measure. “Insurance policies are long and complicated, but no Floridian should be ambushed by insurance technicalities while they’re trying to protect their family and home in the aftermath of a hurricane.

A report released last week by the National Hurricane Survival Initiative, a group that advocates for hurricane preparedness, said more Floridians should consider purchasing flood insurance since it’s not covered under a standard homeowner’s policy.

The initiative conducted a survey that showed many Floridians tried to purchase flood insurance when Irma was approaching Florida, but only 1 in 3 said they were able to add it in time.

“When Hurricane Andrew hit, my parents’ neighborhood was flooded and I saw the immense difference between those who had flood insurance and those who didn’t. Twenty-five years later, when Hurricane Irma made landfall, this discrepancy hadn’t changed,” said Senator Annette Taddeo, D-Miami, who is sponsoring the bill in the Senate. “I’ve met many constituents who had no idea that their hurricane coverage did not include protections when their homes flooded.”

Taddeo says not having flood insurance is especially a problem in South Florida which has seen a rise in sea levels and stronger storm surges from hurricanes and tropical storms.

“When your most important investment is at stake, it is critically important that homeowners know what their risks and coverages are when buying insurance,” Taddeo said. “This measure ensures that they receive full transparency.”

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