Florida property owners misled by outdated flood maps

Florida property owners who rely on FEMA maps to identify whether their homes and businesses are at risk of flooding may be at a disadvantage. Outdated flood maps mark a number of places as low risk in Florida that have been hit hard in recent years by hurricanes. The maps have not been updated in a decade. For some areas, such as parts of Escambia County, it has been more than 15 years.

Hurricane Irma flood compensation tops $1 billion

In the time since Hurricane Irma struck Florida in 2017, the National Flood Insurance Program, run through FEMA, has paid out over $1 billion in flood insurance claims. Over 21,900 claims were made by policyholders, including Florida homeowners and business owners, who suffered property damage as a result of flooding caused by Irma. The devastation caused by the major storm inspired state officials to once again encourage residents to ensure that they have flood insurance for their properties lest they face additional damages from another storm.

Natural disasters can cost homeowners a lot of money

A homeowners insurance policy could help those who live in Florida pay for damages caused by a hurricane. However, it may not be enough to pay for all of the damage. This is because insurance companies may include a hurricane deductible, which can be as much a 5% of the home's value. Furthermore, water damage may not be covered unless an individual has a flood insurance policy.

Hurricane damages exceed $6.65 billion

Florida homeowners continue to struggle with their losses in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael. According to the state's Office of Insurance Regulation, losses covered by insurance are greater than $6.65 billion. The October 2018 storm led to the filing of 147,877 insurance claims. Nearly 15% of these claims remain open. The storm hit land in Mexico Beach and caused severe damage throughout Northwest Florida. Rated as a Category 5 hurricane, Michael destroyed homes, businesses, public lands and government facilities. Many people continue to rely on temporary housing or shelter and have not yet experienced the full restoration of utilities and services.

Many Floridians unfamiliar with lasting hurricane damage

While Florida residents who lived through Hurricane Michael are deeply aware of the extent of the damages caused by the storm, many people outside the region do not realize how much the hurricane continues to impact the lives of people in the area. Residents who continue to deal with cleanup, debris and unpaid insurance claims are angry at the lack of support they are receiving as well as the limited attention paid to the lingering effects of the storm. According to a survey of 1,000 Florida voters across the state, only 57% knew that continuing damages from Hurricane Michael continue to harm areas impacted by the hurricane.

Do you know what is inside your home?

You work hard for the things you have in life. Whether you collect fine art, love comfortable furniture or simply have an eclectic blend of belongings, you probably feel like you are intimately familiar with your things. Still, if you must file an insurance claim, are you confident that you can identify everything you own? 

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