As Hurricane Michael approached the state of Florida, insurers of homeowners stopped writing new policies. The last company to suspend policy writing was Citizens Property Insurance on Oct. 8. The company has around 443,000 customers.

According to the company's website, when the National Weather Service issues a hurricane or tropical storm watch or warning for anywhere in the state of Florida, the company must cease its policy writing. This only affected new applicants and not people who already had existing insurance. This is often people who are trying to get a mortgage that includes a condition that they must have an insurance policy. A spokesman for the company said that as soon as the watch or warning was over, the company would resume writing new policies.

The Personal Insurance Federation of Florida advised residents to review their policies as the storm approached and to contact their insurance agents with any questions. A PIFF vice president also advised homeowners to consult their insurance companies or agents about any damages before embarking on repairs. She pointed out that after such a storm, unscrupulous people might go door to door offering quick free repairs such as fixing roofs. This could be the case even for residents who were not directly in the storm's path.

After a natural disaster like Hurricane Michael, good insurance can be critical. It may help people rebuild or repair their homes and start to recover from loss suffered during such a severe storm. However, in some cases, homeowners may submit what they believe to be justifiable claims only to have them denied. An attorney may be able to assist a homeowner in filing an initial claim after such a storm or in pursuing an appeal.

Source: tbo, "Insurers begin to stop writing new homeowners policies ahead of Hurricane Michael," Malena Carollo, 10/8/2018

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