In Florida, discussion about hurricane insurance often focuses more on what isn’t covered than what is covered.
Did water rise up through your sliding glass door and damage your wood floor and drywall? Sorry, you need flood insurance for that.
Damaged roof tiles didn’t exceed your $6,000 deductible? Whip out the credit card.
Evacuating and need gas and lodging? Hit the ATM on the way out of town.
Now, homeowners can buy coverage that fills in those gaps. A new insurance product has emerged in Florida that reimburses out-of-pocket expenses not covered by traditional insurance.
Homeowners can purchase up to the amount of their hurricane deductible, capped at $100,000. The coverage can be used for a wide range of hurricane-related expenses, including food spoilage, generators, gasoline, damaged fencing, downed trees, flood damage from storm surge, damaged car ports, evacuation expenses and more.
After Hurricane Irma’s journey through Florida last year, nearly a third — or 297,000 — of 924,400 insurance claims were closed with no payment, according to the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation. Many of those were because the estimated cost to repair damage fell short of policyholders’ deductibles, leaving policyholders to make up the difference.
In April, Ormond Beach-based Security First Insurance Co. submitted a proposal to offer supplemental Hurricane Expense Coverage for items that have been excluded from their policies.
Depending on what customers choose, coverage would kick in when a loss is caused by sustained hurricane force winds of at least 74 mph or gusts of at least 96 mph.
Benefits would include removal of debris by the company, payment of up to $500 for evacuation expenses and food spoilage, plus payment for damage to awnings, fences, docks or other structures over water, outbuildings, screen enclosures, pool cages and carports.
Security First’s proposal is under review by the Office of Insurance Regulation, according to Karen Kees, spokeswoman for the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation.