Sarasota News Press
Note to readers: Casey Logan, a business reporter for The News-Press, didn’t know much about homeowners insurance until recently, because it was a subject he had never covered. He did lots of research, in an effort to provide insights heading into the 2016 hurricane season. There’s so much information out there about insurance, it’s impossible for a homeowner to know everything. To make it easier, he compiled this list of 13 things to know.
1. First, let’s start with the basics. The Atlantic hurricane season runs June 1-Nov. 30. Most longtime residents of Southwest Florida, particularly Lee County and north, remember Hurricane Charley, which made landfall Aug. 13, 2004, as a Category 4 storm. Among areas hard hit: Punta Gorda, Port Charlotte, Captiva, Pine Island, Sanibel, Fort Myers Beach and parts of Cape Coral.
2. The Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund, better known as the CAT Fund, is in the best shape ever. The state-created fund should have $17.4 billion available this hurricane season. The fund has been building up for 10 years because a hurricane has not made landfall in Florida. The last one was Hurricane Wilma, a Category 3 storm just south of Naples on Oct. 24, 2005. The fund was created in 1993 during a special legislative session after Hurricane Andrew. Its purpose is to protect the state’s interest in maintaining insurance capacity by providing reimbursements to insurers for a portion of their catastrophic hurricane losses.
3. Hurricane deductibles are percentage or dollar deductibles that are higher than for other causes of loss. They are calculated as a percentage of the dollar amount of coverage on the dwelling or as a flat dollar amount like a standard deductible. By Florida law, the application of hurricane deductibles is triggered by windstorm losses resulting only from a hurricane declared by the National Weather Service. Hurricane deductibles apply for damage that occurs from the time a hurricane watch or warning is issued for any part of Florida, up to 72 hours after such a watch or warning ends and anytime hurricane conditions exist throughout the state.