South Florida residents who don’t have homeowners’, renters’ or flood insurance are probably out of luck as Hurricane Irma bears down.
Most insurers won’t be writing new policies with a Category 5 storm on the horizon, said Ting Pen, co-founder of consumer finance website ValuePenguin.
“It is unfortunately too late to get ... insurance in time for Irma for most people,” Pen wrote in an email. “Companies like State Farm, GEICO and Allstate aren't binding any coverage now. They'll either make your policy effective after 30 days, or they'll wait for the storm to pass to quote. In any event, this will be too late for most people.”
There are exceptions, Pen said: Renters who have just moved into a new home and homeowners who closed a house purchase within the last 45 days may be able to buy coverage. Tropical storm-force winds may arrive in South Florida as early as Friday.
If you do already have a policy, make sure it is paid, up to date and covers what you need. Homeowners and renters’ insurance generally covers damage from wind, but not rain and flooding. Flood insurance is a separate policy. Experts say you should store your insurance documents in waterproof plastic bags in case of flooding during the storm.
Hurricane Harvey is estimated to have caused as much as $37 billion worth of damage due to flooding, according to CNN. But an estimated 70 percent of that amount won’t be covered by insurance because homeowners didn’t have the necessary coverage in place.