Every year, from August through November, Florida residents face another hurricane season, and many wonder if they’ll come through the season unscathed. Take, for example, the devastation in South Florida caused by Hurricane Andrew in August 1992. That monster left 40 people dead and nearly $30 billion in property damage.
But, coastal cities are not the only vulnerable locations during hurricane season. Remember the series of storms that zigzagged across Central Florida, several years ago? They damaged homes and businesses within the interior of the state. Some of those folks were totally unprepared.
Start by Preparing Your Roof
If there’s one part of your house that is the most vulnerable, it’s your roof, says Kevin McDonald, principal at The McDonald Agency, an insurance and financial services company in Ocala and The Villages. McDonald offers these tips to ensure minimal damage:
- “Make sure all trees near the house are cut back, so limbs won’t brush up against the house when the wind picks up,” McDonald says. “Ideally, you want no limbs overhanging the roof of your home.”
- “Don’t allow leaves to pile up, because they can collect water, resulting in decay and rot.”
- “If your roof is 15 to 20 years old, consider saving for replacement. Remember, sun in Florida is tough on roofs, too.”
- “Consider a metal roof. They cost three times as much, but they last forever.”
- Read the McDonald Agency’s guide to Hurricane Roof Preparation.
12 Ways to Prepare for a Hurricane in Ocala:
- Store your financial and personal records in a water-proof case.
- Keep your cell phone and laptop computer charged.
- Invest in some cheap walkie talkies.
- Have on hand two or three flashlights and a store of batteries.
- Fill up your vehicle’s gas tank, and purchase jumper cables and a mobile inverter that can connect to a car’s battery or cigarette lighter.
- Keep enough non-perishable food on hand to last three or four days.
- Stockpile toilet paper and paper towels.
- Load up on plastic garbage bags. (They also can be used to cover broken windows.)
- Clean your bathtubs and fill them with water.
- Keep a few hundred dollars in cash on hand.
- Purchase sandbags.
- Pick up a generator.
- Download the Hurricane Preparation Guide from the McDonald Agency.
Does Homeowners’ Insurance Cover Hurricanes?
Don’t wait until you’re standing amid the debris to find out what kind of insurance policy you have. When you first purchase insurance, make sure you have coverage for all aspects of bad weather, including flooding, wind damage and lightning strikes. You may need to get separate coverage for those damages.
Also consider what might affect replacement coverage:
- The cost of building supplies can increase during hurricane season, sometimes by as much as 15 % to 20 %.
- Construction labor also may cost more.
- Building codes can increase as much as 10 %.
- Your deductible portion may not be sufficient.
Check with Your Ocala Insurance Agent
Homeowners insurance in Florida is somewhat complicated due to the threat from hurricanes, tropical storms and the subsequent flood and wind damage that can occur with these storms. The McDonald Agency is here to help you. Let’s discuss your insurance options and needs regarding hurricane, flood, windstorm or other homeowners insurance. Insurance is an essential part of hurricane preparation. We have two Ocala locations, and one in Summerfield and one in The Villages. For immediate insurance information, call (352) 622-2333.