Lightning … Floods … Tornadoes … Oh my! So far, 2016 is shaping up to be one crazy year for weather.
In recognition of Florida Severe Weather Awareness Week, we’re sharing the following expert tips on how to defend against severe weather hazards that feast on vulnerable Florida homes.
With an average of 1.4 million cloud-to-ground lightning strikes every year, Florida has been deemed the lightning capital of the U.S. How does this impact homeowners? According to the Insurance Information Institute, Florida is the leading state for lightning-related home insurance claims, with insured losses totaling nearly $74 million in 2014.
Defend Your Home: While there’s no way to reduce the chance of your home being struck by lightning, you can install lightning rods to reduce the risk of a fire caused by lightning.
Anywhere it rains, flooding is a potential hazard. Florida is especially vulnerable to flooding caused by hurricanes and tropical storms, which produce heavy rain over a short period of time. Homes located along Florida’s 2,200-mile stretch of tidal shoreline are also prone to coastal flooding caused by storm surges or heavy onshore winds.
Defend Your Home: Add Florida Flood Insurance to your home insurance policy to ensure complete protection of your home in the event of a flood. In some flood zones, you can purchase flood insurance at an affordable rate of $1.40 per day (average is $503 per year) and the U.S. government provides a 100% guarantee. Call us today to discuss your flood insurance needs: 1-866-972-1547
Florida has gotten off easy when it comes to hurricanes in recent years. Unfortunately, it looks like our good luck may be running out. According to Global Weather Oscillations Inc., a leading hurricane cycle prediction company, the 2016 hurricane season will produce a total of 16 named storms, including seven hurricanes, four major hurricanes, and three landfalls.
Defend Your Home: Installing storm shutters is one of the best ways to protect your home from a hurricane or tropical storm. You can also outfit your home with wind mitigation features that help withstand or increase resistance to high winds. While there are upfront costs involved, outfitting your home with these features can result in significant long-term savings.
In addition, we recommend taking the following steps before a storm strikes:
- Put away all objects that are outside your house and not attached to the ground, like barbecue grills, trashcans, umbrellas, patio furniture, and flag posts.
- Trim your trees to reduce the risk of a tree falling down or catching wind, potentially causing damage to your home.
- Prevent an entryway chandelier from becoming a projectile by disconnecting it or securing it to a stable structure (for example, a concrete pole holding up a portico).
A tornado is a powerful wind cyclone that typically develops from a severe thunderstorm, and is capable of reaching wind speeds of more than 200 mph. While it typically lasts just a few minutes, a tornado can wreak havoc on homes and neighborhoods – destroying everything in its path.
As we’ve seen in recent weeks, strong El Niño conditions have contributed to an increase in tornadoes this year, causing devastation and destruction across Florida.
Defend Your Home: If you live in a tornado-prone region, you should consider hardening your home against extreme winds and flying debris. In addition, it’s also important to consider personal safety. Since evacuating is not an option during the short life of a tornado, you should designate a “safe room” located near the center of your home that your family can use for protection should a twister hit.
The Sunshine State is certainly no stranger to thunderstorms. Florida leads the nation in the volume of thunderstorms, experiencing as many as 105 days of thunderstorms every year.
While thunderstorms alone don’t pose much of a threat, they do produce several dangerous and destructive weather hazards that can cause significant damage – things like lightning, tornadoes, hail, strong winds, and heavy rain.
Defend Your Home: There is very little that can be done to defend your home against thunderstorms directly. To be safe, we recommend taking the same precautions that you would for tornadoes, flooding, and lightning.
While wildfires can occur at any time of the year, Florida experiences peak activity from January to June. In 2014, a total of 2,436 fires burned more than 101,000 acres of land in Florida, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.
Wildfires can start naturally, but humans are responsible for most wildfire-related incidents – from arson and yard waste burns … to carelessly discarded cigarettes … to campfires and bonfires.
Defend Your Home: The best way to defend your home against wildfire is to make it more resistant to embers and radiant heat. Preventative steps you should take include cleaning your roof and gutters to get rid of dead leaves and debris, moving flammable materials away from the exterior of your home, and removing anything stored underneath your backyard deck or front porch.
We’re here when you need us. If you’re a policyholder and your home is impacted by a severe weather event, Call People’s Trust First at 1-877-333-1230. Our affiliated general contracting company, the Rapid Response Team, is ready to deploy 24/7 to mitigate damage to prevent further loss and make emergency repairs. They will then work to coordinate the process of repairing the damage and restoring your home to pre-loss condition.
*24/7 Emergency Response from the Rapid Response Team is available only for People’s Trust policyholders and their covered losses. Rapid Response Team (FL-CGC#024735), an entity affiliated with People’s Trust Insurance Company, may coordinate or provide all repair services in conjunction with our Better Way approach. Participation in the Better Way approach requires the selection of the Preferred Contractor endorsement form E023. Our Better Way approach is subject to policy and product terms, exclusions, and limitations. Availability and coverage levels of some plan features are subject to state laws and underwriting requirements. Coverages, discounts, and features subject to individual eligibility and to availability. Coverage exclusions and limitations may apply. For more information on this insurance and related programs, contact People’s Trust Insurance.