The Insurance Information Institute recommends the following before disaster strikes:
Maintain copies of your household inventory and other documentation, including photos, videos, and receipts. This will assist the adjuster in assessing the value of the destroyed property.
Take precautions if the damage requires you to leave your home. Let your agent or insurance company know your temporary forwarding address and phone number.
Write down the name, address and claims-reporting phone number of your insurance company, which may differ from your agents contact information.
Keep this information, along with a copy of your policy, in a safe place, and make sure you have access to it if you are forced to evacuate your home.
By Florida statute, the application of hurricane deductibles is triggered by windstorm losses resulting from a storm system that has been declared to be a hurricane by the National Hurricane Center of the National Weather Service and remain in effect for the time period during which hurricane conditions exist anywhere in Florida, ending 72 hours following the end of the last hurricane watch or warning.
Hurricane deductibles in coastal Florida areas range from two to five percent. For homes valued at under $100,000, insurers offer a $500 hurricane deductible and a two percent of policy limits deductible. For homes valued in excess of $100,000, insurers must offer the two percent deductible, but the $500 deductible need not be offered if the insurer guarantees that it will renew the policy for another year. The maximum allowable deductible is two percent for homes valued under $100,000, five percent for homes valued between $100,000 and $500,000, and unlimited for homes valued in excess of $500,000.
Hurricane deductibles and their triggers are standard for the private or regular market as well as Florida's Citizens Property Insurance Corporation, the state-run program which provides homeowners insurance to consumers who can't find coverage in the private market. Citizens is the largest insurer in Florida for the hurricane risk.
For mobile homes, the law allows a hurricane deductible up to five percent of the value when there is a lien on the mobile home and up to ten percent for mobile homes when there is no lien.
The program operates in designated areas in 29 of Florida's 35 coastal counties, generally within 1,000 feet of the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, or Intercoastal Waterway and on barrier islands.