Tropical Storm Danny is expected to strengthen into the first Atlantic hurricane of the season and although it is churning miles away from the Florida coast, now is the time to prepare. For most, this means stocking up on food, water, candles, plywood or fuel. Although this is an important measure, now is also the time to review your property insurance policy to ensure you have proper coverage for a windstorm event. As Benjamin Franklin once said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
Some of the most common mistakes a property owner can make are not having enough, or any, coverage for certain items such as screen enclosures, flood or the increased cost to repair a property due to the enforcement of a building code. Many property owners are also caught off guard by their hurricane deductible which can be in excess of 2% of the total policy limits.
If you own a business, take the time to identify the critical functions of your business and create a plan to implement those functions in the event of a hurricane. The plan should address crisis communications, key personnel, access to funds, information technology and the minimum requirements to keep your business running. You should also test the critical functions of your business that are most vulnerable during a hurricane including servers, workstations, network, building security, phones, supply chain, staff procedures, etc. It is also prudent to review your insurance policy to determine whether you have sufficient business income and extra expense coverage in the event you must temporarily cease operations due to a hurricane.
Although there are still opportunities to change your insurance coverage, those opportunities become limited if a hurricane watch extends over Florida. Once the National Hurricane Center issues a hurricane watch or warning for Florida, insurance companies will not issue or increase coverage. This action is taken to avoid extending insurance immediately before a hurricane and exposing the insurance company to a very high risk of loss. If you find that your policy is not as comprehensive as you thought, contact your insurance agent to discuss your options.