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New survey reveals a surprising number of Floridians would ignore hurricane evacuation warnings

ORLANDO, Fla. — As we head into the 2022 Atlantic Hurricane Season, a new survey reveals that 1 in 4 Floridians would ignore hurricane evacuation warnings.

The survey, conducted by AAA, also revealed that while a growing number of Floridians are more concerned about this year’s hurricane season, there is still a large number of residents who do not have an emergency plan.

According to the survey, 27% of Floridians are more concerned about this year’s hurricane season than they were about last year’s, up 5% from last year, 29% do not make advanced preparations and 44% do not have an evacuation plan.

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The survey also showed that 60% would leave for a Category 3 hurricane or stronger.

“When a hurricane approaches, things can get chaotic, but developing a plan now will help alleviate some of the stress,” said Jennifer Pintacuda, president of AAA’s Florida-based insurance companies. “AAA urges residents to review their insurance policies, document belongings, gather supplies, and develop a family plan in case they need to evacuate.”

One of the reasons that could factor into decisions this year is high gas prices.

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Two-in-5 respondents, 42%, said that high fuel prices would make them less willing to evacuate their home, even if recommended to do so.

“Prices at the pump are likely to remain high throughout the summer,” said Mark Jenkins, spokesman for AAA – The Auto Club Group. “So, if you’re worried about evacuation costs, it may be a good idea to start setting aside some money now.”

Read: Holiday travel ends with record gas prices in Florida

Here are the top reasons that residents said would keep them from evacuating:

  • Can’t bring pets/don’t have a safe option for them (30%)
  • Don’t know where to go (28%)
  • In case there’s damage to my home/property that I can fix (25%)
  • Financial reasons (e.g., can’t afford a hotel – 23%)

“Preparation is key to making sure you aren’t stuck in the path of a deadly storm,” Jenkins said. “Now is the time to develop a few options for your pets. Keep in mind there are various pet-friendly hotels and shelters. And if you’re worried about property damage, contact an insurance professional now to review your policies. Having adequate coverage will give you the peace of mind in knowing that anything damaged while you’re gone can be repaired or replaced.”

Read: AAA: warns Florida homeowners about post-disaster scams

AAA also wants people to know that there are things you can do right now to prepare for the upcoming storm season:

  • Review your insurance coverage. Review your homeowner’s insurance with your licensed insurance agent to determine if you have adequate protection. Discuss your deductibles.
  • Get flood insurance. Flood damage is not covered under your homeowner’s policy. There is a 30-day waiting period for new flood policies, so do not wait until a storm is approaching.
  • Review your auto policy. Do you have comprehensive coverage? Storm damage to your car is not automatically covered by your homeowner’s policy. Comprehensive coverage is not required in Florida but would help if your vehicle is damaged by hail, is flooded or if a tree falls on it.
  • Store your insurance policy number and claim phone number in your phone in case you need to make a claim after the storm.
  • Take an inventory. Document your belongings by walking through your home with a video camera or smartphone. Keep a record of large purchases including the cost of the item, purchase date, and model and serial numbers.
  • Store important documents in a portable waterproof container. Such documents could include birth certificates, social security cards, insurance policy information, and more.

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Flooding is the number one disaster in the United States.

“Unfortunately, many homeowners do not realize until it’s too late that their homeowners’ policy does not cover flooding,” Pintacuda said. “We encourage residents to look into a flood policy now. There’s a 30-day waiting period for all new flood insurance policies. So if you wait until a storm is approaching, it will be too late.”

A quarter of Floridians are unaware that most homeowners’ insurance policies do not cover flood damage. While 3 in 5, 61% , said they are concerned about experiencing a flood at their home and only 1 in 4 claims to have a flood insurance policy.

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