Tips for Homeowners for Hurricane Season – Part I: Creating an Emergency Plan

Florida homeowners have not experienced a hurricane since 2005, which makes this the longest stretch without a hurricane in Florida in more than a century.  The last time Florida went 5 consecutive years without a hurricane was 1851.  However, public safety experts worry that some homeowners may have developed a false sense of security even though Florida is due for one or more serious hurricanes.  Hurricane preparedness can be a vital factor in mitigating damage to your home by taking precautions.  While this prolonged period without a hurricane has been welcomed by Florida homeowners, it was not so long ago that we were plagued by three hurricanes in a six week period of time.  Miami insurance claims attorney J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo, who represents individuals in insurance claims disputes involving damage suffered in hurricanes, has provided some key information that can help people prepare for hurricane season.

Creating an Emergency Plan for Your Family

If you are engaged in hurricane preparations for your family, you will want to prepare a meeting location, evacuation plan and disaster supply kit.  Hurricanes can strike suddenly so that families are separated.  A meeting location and contact person in another state should be prearranged so that family members can locate each other and communicate if they are separated and communications networks are down.  Families also should be familiar with potential evacuation routes. 

Another important preparation is the creation of an emergency supply kit, and the cost of this resource can be defrayed by the hurricane sale tax holiday declared by Gov. Rick Scott from May 31 through June 8.  During this period, Florida homeowners will not be charged sales tax when purchasing items for their hurricane preparation kit.  Sales tax will be waived on the following emergency supplies:

  • 9-volt and 6-volt batteries ($30 or less)
  • Portable lights that are self-powered ($20 or less)
  • First aid kits ($30 or less)
  • Packages of  batteries (C-cell, D-cell and AA-cell)

Along with these items, the Florida Division of Emergency Management also suggests that the following supplies be included in a hurricane emergency kit:

  • Enough food for 3-7 days
  • Minimum of a gallon of drinking water per person for 3-7 days
  • Cooking tools and fuel source
  • Plastic utensils and paper plates
  • Important documents in a waterproof container: social security cards, bank account information, medical records, insurance policies/information, inventory of assets (videotaped if feasible)
  • Flashlight
  • Hygiene items
  • Appropriate apparel for cold stormy weather
  • Radio
  • Full gas tank for your car
  • Bedding materials
  • Cash
  • Basic set of tools

Because a severe hurricane could result in homeowners being displaced from their residence for a number of days, you will want to have your insurance policies and contact information with you so that you can promptly make a claim.  If you have questions about filing a homeowner's insurance claim or your insurance company is not treating your fairly, experienced Florida insurance attorney J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo can analyze your situation and advise you of your options.  Mr. Gonzalez-Sirgo handles disputed claims in Miami and throughout Florida.  The Law Firm of J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo, P.A. offers free consultations and case evaluations.  No Recovery, No Lawyer Fees.  Call 305-461-1095 or Toll Free 1-866-71-CLAIM.

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