Hurricane season: Are you ready? Survey says many Floridians are not

ORLANDO, Fla. — It’s baaaaack. Get ready to hunker down -- hurricane season has arrived.

If you haven’t been thinking about your 2023 preparations, you’re not alone.


AAA just released its annual hurricane season survey.

On the heels of 2022′s monsters, Ian and Nicole, the auto club was quick to remind folks that the threat of storms is real here in Florida.

The massive amount of water dumped on the Sunshine State, including parts of Central Florida, illustrated that not living in a “flood zone” doesn’t automatically exempt a homeowner from taking on water.

READ: Disturbance in the Gulf to bring wet, windy weather to Central Florida; see timing

“Even if your property is not considered ‘high risk’, remember that flooding can happen anywhere in Florida. All it takes is the right amount of rainfall to put your property in peril,” Jennifer Pintacuda, president of AAA’s Florida-based insurance companies, said.

Considering flood insurance is one aspect of preparing for hurricane season. AAA’s survey found that 52% weren’t aware that there’s a 30-day waiting period before homeowners can secure flood insurance.

SEE: Storm names for the 2023 Atlantic hurricane season

It’s just one reminder of why it’s important to get ahead of the game, while the tropics are relatively quiet.

But AAA said roughly 1 in 5 Floridians don’t make advanced preparations for hurricane season.

In the 2023 survey, 24% of residents said they would not evacuate in the event of a hurricane warning. And of those who would evacuate, 56% said they wouldn’t leave home if the storm was weaker than a Category 3.

READ: Hurricane season 2022: How it impacted Central Florida, a look back at the numbers

Here’s data from AAA showing why Floridians said they would ignore evacuation warnings:

  • 40% − Want to stay in case there’s damage to their home or property that they can fix.
  • 30% − Can’t bring their pets / Don’t have a safe option for them.
  • 22% − Believe the storm will turn away from their direction.
  • 18% − Don’t know where to go.
  • 17% − Fear looting after the storm.
  • 15% − Cite financial reasons, like not being able to afford a hotel.

“Staying in the path of a potentially deadly storm is just not worth the risk. Take steps now to develop an evacuation plan for your family and pets,” AAA’s Mark Jenkins said.

READ: Wilbur-by-the-Sea man, 89, recalls riding out Hurricane Nicole in beachside home

“If you’re worried about property damage, contact your insurance advisor. Having adequate coverage will give you peace of mind in knowing that anything damaged while you’re gone can be repaired or replaced,” Jenkins added.

When considering different types of insurance policies to help protect you in the event of a hurricane, AAA offered these important facts:

  • Homeowner’s insurance covers your property from wind damage. It does not cover flood damage created by rising water that enters your home.
  • Flood insurance is a separate policy. This does cover losses created by rising water that enters your home. This is an annual policy with a 30-day waiting period for new activations.
  • Comprehensive auto coverage helps if a tree falls on your vehicle, or it is damaged by flooding or hail. Vehicle damage is not automatically covered under your homeowner’s policy.
  • Travel insurance is important for anyone planning a vacation. There are policies that will reimburse you for losses associated with flight delays and cancellations, as well as hotel deposits.

Hurricane season runs from June 1 to Nov. 30.

READ: Hurricane tips: What you should do to prepare

It’s here and AAA said homeowners should take these important steps now:

  • Review your homeowner’s insurance with your licensed agent to determine if you have adequate protection.
  • Store your insurance and flood policy numbers on your phone. Document your insurance provider’s phone number for filing a claim.
  • Find out if your provider allows you to file a claim on a website or mobile app. Doing so can speed up the filing process.
  • Take Home Inventory. Document your belongings by walking through your home with a video camera or smartphone.
  • Keep a record of large purchases including receipts, the cost of the item, purchase date, and model and serial numbers.
  • Store important documents in a portable waterproof container. Documents could include birth certificates, social security cards, insurance policy information, and more.

To see the full AAA 2023 hurricane season survey, click here.

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