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Peak hurricane season is here. It’s a good time to evaluate your insurance

Here are some areas you might consider for coverage.

Hurricane season is ramping up, and updated forecasts still project a particularly active year. While you’re building up your hurricane supplies to weather the actual storm, consider what you will need to rebuild if your home or replace belongings if a storm hits.

And do it before the next named storm is announced, said Mark Friedlander, Florida representative for nonpartisan industry group the Insurance Information Institute.

“Don’t wait until you hear there’s a storm out in the Atlantic or the Gulf and it’s coming our way,” he said.

Here are some types of insurance and questions to consider:

Home

Renters’ insurance: While a landlord is responsible for the exterior of a rented property, renters are responsible for all of their belongings and the cost of any damaged furniture, clothing or other valuables. Renters insurance does not always cover flood, so check with your provider about options if you would like flood coverage.

Prices, Friedlander said, are “very reasonable for apartments,” sometimes as low as $8 per month.

Flood insurance: There are two main avenues homeowners can take for flood insurance: the federal National Flood Insurance Program, and the private market. The federal program provides up to $250,000 in coverage for the home’s structure and $100,000 for interior contents. Policies typically take up to 30 days to go into effect. Coverage in the private market depends on a homeowner’s need and the carrier, but homeowners can often get more coverage in the private market than the federal program, and policies can go into effect in as little as a week. Many in the federal program receive subsidized rates. Homeowner lose that subsidy if they switch to the private market for a period and tries to rejoin the federal program.

Regardless of the program, Friedlander suggests choosing one instead of relying on disaster coverage through the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

“FEMA programs are not made to replace flood insurance,” he said. “You’re going to be in limbo for a long, long time.”

Auto

Comprehensive auto coverage: Roughly 80 percent of drivers nationally purchase comprehensive auto coverage, Friedlander said. Comprehensive covers damage that isn’t caused by collision, such as flooding, hail, vandalism, and fallen rocks or trees. It can even be helpful for cars that are parked in a garage.

“If the garage door gets blown off and flood water inundates you enough and seeps into your garage, it (could) get into your car,” he said.

Are you good with being in the 20 percent foregoing coverage for lower premiums?

Business

Business interruption insurance: This insurance covers lost income if a business is shut down or if the surrounding neighborhood is damaged enough to prevent customers from visiting. According to Friedlander, just 30 percent of businesses around the country have interruption coverage.

“If you don’t know you have it, there’s a good chance you don’t have it,” Friedlander said.

Already have insurance? Check to see if your policy covers:

Temporary accommodations: Many insurance policies cover temporary lodging and food while a policyholder’s home is being repaired or rebuilt. Friedlander recommends considering having a year’s worth of such expenses in your policy.

Replacement: For policies that help you replace your belongings, check whether your policy will give you the actual cash value of the item or the replacement cost. The actual cash value is the depreciated value of the item from when you purchased it, but the replacement cost is the amount you would need to buy that item new.

“Replacement cost coverage is about 10 percent more in premiums you’ll pay,” Friedlander said, “but it will give you as much as 30 to 50 percent more for a claim in recovery.”

• • •

2020 Tampa Bay Times Hurricane Guide

HURRICANE SEASON IS HERE: Get ready and stay informed at tampabay.com/hurricane

PREPARE FOR COVID-19 AND THE STORM: The CDC's tips for this pandemic-hurricane season

PREPARE YOUR STUFF: Get your documents and your data ready for a storm

BUILD YOUR KIT: The stuff you’ll need to stay safe — and comfortable — for the storm

PROTECT YOUR PETS: Your pets can’t get ready for a storm. That’s your job

NEED TO KNOW: Click here to find your evacuation zone and shelter

Lessons from Hurricane Michael

What the Panhandle’s top emergency officials learned from Michael

‘We’re not going to give up.’ What a school superintendent learned from Michael

What Tampa Bay school leaders fear most from a storm

Tampa Bay’s top cops fear for those who stay behind

• • •

2020 Tampa Bay Times Hurricane Guide

HURRICANE SEASON IS HERE: Get ready and stay informed at tampabay.com/hurricane

PREPARE FOR COVID-19 AND THE STORM: The CDC's tips for this pandemic-hurricane season

PREPARE YOUR STUFF: Get your documents and your data ready for a storm

BUILD YOUR KIT: The stuff you’ll need to stay safe — and comfortable — for the storm

PROTECT YOUR PETS: Your pets can’t get ready for a storm. That’s your job

NEED TO KNOW: Click here to find your evacuation zone and shelter

Lessons from Hurricane Michael

What the Panhandle’s top emergency officials learned from Michael

‘We’re not going to give up.’ What a school superintendent learned from Michael

What Tampa Bay school leaders fear most from a storm

Tampa Bay’s top cops fear for those who stay behind

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