TAMPA (CBSMiami) – Monday is the first day of hurricane season and according to a AAA survey, Floridians are increasingly concerned about the 2020 season and the coronavirus pandemic is one of the reasons why.
According to the AAA survey, nearly a third (31%) of Floridians are more concerned about the 2020 Hurricane Season than they were last year.
Two-of-five people (42%) say they are less likely to evacuate for a storm this year for fear of contracting the coronavirus. In fact, more than a quarter of residents (29%) say they would not leave their homes if they were warned to evacuate.
“The coronavirus just complicates matters even more for those preparing for what is forecast to be an active hurricane season,” said Mark Jenkins, spokesman, AAA – The Auto Club Group. “AAA urges families to develop an emergency plan now. Your plan should include several evacuation destinations, in case a shelter or hotel is closed due to the pandemic. Also be sure to utilize the 7-day tax free holiday to assemble a supply kit. This year’s kits should include cleaning supplies, to provide peace-of-mind for evacuees.”
That tax holiday is going on right now and ends on June 4.
Coronavirus aside, residents’ decision to evacuate often depends on the severity of the storm. Of those who would evacuate, four-of-five people (80%) would leave for a Category 2 hurricane or greater.
|What Category Hurricane Would Floridians Evacuate For?|
|Category 1||74-95 mph winds||8%|
|Category 2||96-110 mph winds||23%|
|Category 3||111-129 mph winds||29%|
|Category 4||130-156 mph winds||19%|
|Category 5||>= 157 mph winds||9%|
|Did not know||12%|
|Percentage denotes minimum strength of a storm that would cause them to evacuate|
The two biggest sources of hurricane damage are wind and torrential rain resulting in flooding. Flooding is the number one disaster in the United States. Despite the risk, two-thirds (65%) of Floridians do not have flood insurance, which is separate from homeowners insurance.
“Flooding should be a major concern for Florida residents, whether they live in a high risk flood zone or not,” said Peter Corrigan, President, Auto Club Insurance Company of Florida. “It’s important to make sure you have a flood insurance policy now, because if you wait until a storm approaches, it will be too late.”
- Just one inch of flooding can cause $25,000 in damage to your home (FEMA).
- 20% of annual flood claims come from homes in low risk zones.
- 54% of Floridians are concerned about experiencing flooding at their home.
- 18% of Floridians have experienced flooding at their home.
- 24% of Floridians are unaware that homeowner’s insurance does not cover flood damage.
- A ‘preferred risk’ flood insurance policy can cost less than a dollar a day for coverage of $75,000 in structural damage and $30,000 for damage to contents inside the home.
AAA’s Hurricane Preparation Tips
More than half (52%) of residents do not have an emergency plan. Here are some things people can do right now to prepare for the storm season.
Protect your Home
- Secure Your Home – Inspect your home for minor repairs needed to roof, windows, down spouts, etc. Trim trees or bushes that could cause damage to your home in case of high winds.
- Take Inventory – Update your home inventory by walking through your home with a video camera or smart phone. Keep a record of large purchases including the cost of the item, when purchased and model and serial numbers as available. Store important documents in a portable waterproof container.
- Stock Emergency Supplies – Plan for a week’s worth of non-perishable food and water. Be sure to have flashlights, extra batteries, battery-powered radio, medications, first aid kit, blankets, toiletries, diapers, cleaning supplies, etc. Prepare a portable kit to keep in your car should you need to evacuate.
- Identify a Safe Room – Identify a room where family members should gather, in case of emergency. This is typically an interior room with no windows.
- Protect Your Property – Review your homeowners insurance with your insurance agent to determine if you have adequate protection. Discuss your deductibles. Be aware that flood insurance is not typically covered under your homeowner’s policy. Flooding coverage for your automobile is available via an optional “comprehensive” inclusion to your auto insurance policy.
Prepare for Evacuation
- Make a Contact Plan – Identify ways to contact each other, alternate meeting locations, and an out-of-town contact person. Anticipate limited cell phone service.
- Know Your Evacuation Route – Visit FloridaDisaster.org to track the recommended evacuation route for your region.
- Choose Multiple Destinations – Identify several places you will go in an emergency, such as a friend’s home, in another town, a hotel or shelter. Choose destinations in different directions so you have options during an emergency.
- Research Shelter Availability – Check with local officials about the availability of evacuation shelters. Your regular shelter may not open this year due to COVID-19. If you evacuate to a community shelter, follow the latest guidelines from the CDC.
- Prepare your Pets – Identify a place to stay that will accept pets. Most public shelters allow only service animals.
- Prepare your Vehicle for Evacuation – Have your vehicle professionally inspected so it’s ready for evacuation. Plan to take one car per family to reduce congestion and delay.
- Gas Up – If an evacuation seems likely, ensure you have a full tank of gas. Do not hoard gasoline you do not need. The pre-storm surge in gasoline demand often leads to temporary fuel outages before the storm. After the storm, be aware that gas stations may be closed or unable to pump gas due to structural damage, or fuel or power outages. As a result, begin looking for a refueling option when your tank is half full.