Here's what you need to know about home insurance before hurricane hits

'Take pictures of everything around your house, even inside your house,' public adjuster Jeff Dobbins says
Posted at 6:09 PM, Sep 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-23 18:19:34-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — With a potential hurricane hitting Florida next week, the window to purchase homeowners insurance has either closed now or is closing.

WPTV took a look at how the insurance industry is bracing for potential impact from a storm and what you as a homeowner should be doing right now.

If you're closing on a new home in the next few days, check with your insurance carrier that your wind and flood coverage is still taking effect.

Finding property insurance has been a nightmare for many homeowners in our area, but it’s at times like these you’re relieved that you have it.

Public adjuster Jeff Dobbins
Public adjuster Jeff Dobbins said if your home is already in the cone of a storm, an insurance company will not issue a new policy on your home.

"Take pictures of everything around your house, even inside your house," public adjuster Jeff Dobbins said.

Speaking from experience as a long-time Floridian, Dobbins said he has run through the gamut of emotions when it comes to finding homeowner's insurance.

"My insurance broker went out to about 15 different insurance companies," Dobbins said. "Since my roof is 25 years old, there was basically nobody that was going to take me."

This summer he joined about a million other property owners in Florida when he obtained a policy through Citizens Property Insurance Corporation, the state-run insurance corporation. But insurance experts said Citizens' policyholders should not worry.

"Basically, if Citizens were in a situation where it needed to get additional money, the way that Citizens is structured, they can go to the other auto and homeowners insurance policies in the state of Florida to secure the additional funding," Michael Barry with the Insurance Information Institute, a consumer educational organization.

Barry said it's important to take a look at your wind and flood insurance coverage now but beware that the window to make any changes or add coverages is likely closing, if it hasn't already.

"If you're in the spaghetti model cone, they will not write your policy," Dobbins said.

Michael Barry, Insurance Information Institute, a consumer educational organization
Michael Barry with the Insurance Information Institute wonders if a major storm hitting Florida will only hurt the number of companies willing to do business in the state.

"It makes sense if I'm a home insurer, I probably don't want to take on a new customer today since all signs point to a storm and potential damage occurring come the middle of next week," Barry said.

In the current state of the market, some insurers might be in their own cone of uncertainty.

Barry said a storm hitting any part of South Florida could cause further damage to an already fragile industry.

"I think the concern here is what would a major storm do to change the dynamics in the marketplace," Barry said. "Would it prompt additional companies to reduce their exposure or potentially leave the state altogether?"

One thing you can do right now is to take photos of your home inside and out — especially your roof and ceilings. That will help you should you have to file a claim.