It seems like hurricane season just ended, doesn’t it? Well surprise! It’s just around the corner. 2018’s hurricane season begins on June 1. That’s about a month away. And actually, it’s less than a week away for preparation. Time’s a’ ticking! Become familiar with the different flood policies available and their wait times. Know the different types of flood insurance available and remember, the wait times for coverage to kick in differs widely depending upon the insurer. Times a’ ticking!
Experts are predicting that the 2018 hurricane season will be active. Maybe even as active (or more) than 2017 was. That should give us all food for thought as 2017 brought us three unforgettable hurricanes – Harvey, Irma and Maria. And that wasn’t all 2017 brought – there were a total of 15 named storms and seven hurricanes. It’s all too easy to get storm amnesia when you go years without experiencing a direct impact. Hurricane Irma changed that for most of Florida. Irma also brought to light how many people were not well versed in what their flood zone really meant.
FEMA has designated flood zones based on geographic areas by their level of risk. If you aren’t sure of your flood zone designation, FEMA has a flood map service center where you can search by your address. Go to https://msc.fema.gov/portal/search and plug in your address. Next, familiarize yourself with your local evacuation routes. They are well posted on local government sites and on the roads.
Here are some helpful county links:
- Pinellas County: Know Your Zone
- Hillsborough County: Evacuation & Zone Information
- Pasco County: Emergency Management
- Manatee County: Evacuation Routes
Hurricane Irma taught a lot of us Floridians about evacuation and destruction. We may have thought we were well prepared, but many found out the opposite. For instance, lots of people evacuated to areas certain that they wouldn’t lose power and packed accordingly. In reality, many lost power for up to a couple of weeks. Roads and yards were littered with debris that all had to be moved aside for work on the power lines to begin. It was a long couple of weeks. And many more weeks before all of the debris was removed.
Hopefully we won’t experience that again anytime soon. But, there are no guarantees. Now is the time to:
- Review your flood insurance policy
- Inspect your emergency kit(s) and restock items as needed. Plan on not being somewhere with power and pack accordingly.
- Plan your evacuation route. Inform your family of your plans in case phone service isn’t available.
- If you decide not to evacuate, plan to get sandbags. Remember to bring your own shovel and bags to community sand locations.
- Make your window board-ups early and store them in a dry place. During Irma, most home improvement stores ran out of plywood a week before Irma hit.
2017 was a good wakeup call for all of us and we learned a lot. Make an appointment to see your insurance agent to talk about your flood zone and insurance needs. They will have lots of information about preparation and recovery to share with you. In case 2018 brings a strong hurricane season, you’ll be glad you took the time now to assess your needs and make plans.
A Look Ahead
Just to brighten the mood, here is a list of the 21 official 2018 Storm Names released by the National Hurricane Center for the Atlantic. Did you know? This list is recycled every 6 years, so this list should look familiar to those who were interested in the names in 2012. Deadly or costly storms are not recycled, ever.
This information is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as professional advice. Should you have any questions or would like to discuss your risk exposure with your flood insurance, please contact the insurance pros at ARCW Insurance. We are here to help.