Florida homeowners are continuing to suffer from the aftermath of Hurricane Michael, even six months after the storm hit the state with 155 mph winds. Forty-nine people were killed by the hurricane as it blew through 12 Florida counties, and the emotional and economic recovery period is continuing to linger on. A number of houses were destroyed and have not been rebuilt, while road damage and downed trees also persist in some areas. Some homeowners are even experiencing delays related to their insurance claims for storm damage.
In 2017, Hurricane Irma made landfall in the state of Florida. After more than a year, some homeowners are still waiting for their insurance companies to pay for damage that the storm did to their homes. One man says that his entire house needs to be gutted and rebuilt before he and his family can move back in permanently. While the man says that rebuilding efforts started after the storm, they had to stop because of mold.
The Florida Panhandle suffered widespread devastation when Hurricane Michael made landfall Oct. 10, 2018. The Category 4 storm carried peak winds of 155 mph and produced a storm surge of more than 20 feet. In addition to flooding and wind damage that occurred in Florida and neighboring states, the effects of Hurricane Michael could be felt as far away as Maryland.
One of the impacts of climate change could be that insurance will be too expensive for many people in Florida and throughout the country to afford. Climate change was cited as the reason why insurance companies lost $24 billion after wildfires burned portions of California. In addition to fires, increasing global temperatures could result in hail, rain and other significant weather events. Generally speaking, the more risk an insurance company has to take, the more it will charge for coverage.
The damages caused by Hurricane Michael continue to haunt people in Florida and cause significant damage to their pocketbooks. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, over $957 million in federal assistance has been provided to Florida as a result of the hurricane, five months after it was declared a disaster. This aid has taken several forms, including that of grants, loans and insurance payments for individual homeowners, business owners and state and local governments.
A couple in Florida claimed that their insurance company did not pay them enough to fix damage caused by Hurricane Irma in 2017. While they did eventually get the insurance company to increase its payout to $17,647, the couple says that the check still has not arrived. The couple claims that the roof still needs to be fixed and could start to leak at any time.
A Florida roof that's over 15 years old could lead to an increase in homeowners' insurance. Furthermore, a homeowner could be denied a policy completely if a roof was installed 19 or more years ago. However, most roofing materials are designed to last for at least 30 years or more. Therefore, rushing to put up a new roof could be a waste of money.
Many Florida homeowners have suffered greatly as a result of hurricane damage in recent years. Now, they may face higher insurance rates as insurance companies cite unprecedented levels of growing losses after Hurricane Irma. In addition, industry experts said that their costs related to assignment of benefits (AOB) lawsuits and loss investigations are driving up their expenses.
Florida's next state budget may include a number of proposals to address damages caused by Hurricane Michael. Legislators have proposed repairs to the Mexico Beach Pier and Florida State University among over 100 projects that aim to repair damage caused by the October 2018 hurricane that swept through Northwest Florida. Over $500 million in budget requests have been made dealing with hurricane-related problems as well as proposals to bolster building safety in case of future damaging storms.
Florida residents who have been impacted by a hurricane could experience significant commercial or residential property damage. While insurance companies may cover some or all of the cost of such damage, this isn't always true. The first step a property owner should take is to read his or her policy to determine what is covered and what isn't. Generally speaking, flood insurance is sold separate from homeowners or similar policies.