Volume 3 Number 13
March 27, 2006

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HOME MITIGATION FOR SAFETY AND SAVINGS

When it comes to hurricanes and tropical storms, Floridians know it pays to be prepared. To help, we have posted information on the FLDFS website designed to help you lessen the impact of a major storm or hurricane.  Whenever a tropical storm or hurricane takes aim at our state, Florida's Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher activates a special consumer helpline for assistance on any insurance matter. The number is 1-800-22-STORM, or 1-800-227-8676. Hearing-impaired residents may use a TDD to call 1-800-640-0886.

Hurricanes can cause severe damage.  Before hurricane season, you should take steps to protect your property and provide for your own safety.  The Department of Financial Services' Natural Disaster guide can help you prepare for disasters. In Florida, you may be entitled to discounts on your insurance premiums if you take measures to strengthen your home against potential hurricane damage.

Why invest in hurricane-resistant building techniques?

Wind insurance incentives are available to Florida homeowners for building features that mitigate or reduce damage during high wind events like hurricanes. Methods that reduce wind damage include improved roof shingles, strong roof decks, hurricane clips/straps, impact resistant glazing or shutter protection for windows, roof shape and other construction techniques. These features can be added to an existing structure or incorporated by building code in a new structure.

Florida Statute 626.0629 requires insurance companies to offer Florida homeowners "discounts, credits, or other rate differentials..." for construction techniques that reduce damage and loss in windstorms.

Many existing houses may already have construction features that qualify for insurance discounts. Houses built after 1994 in Miami-Dade or Broward counties and after 2002 building code changes in the rest of the state have wind-resistive construction features and will likely qualify for credits.  Construction Features

Floridians can reap the benefits of investing in building techniques that strengthen their homes against hurricane damage in four ways:

1) Homes built to withstand catastrophic storms are safe havens, allowing homeowners to avoid costly evacuations from hurricane-prone areas.

2) Discounts on insurance premiums are available for certain mitigation measures, reducing insurance cost to homeowners.

3) Homes built with to these standards are at a lower risk of sustaining extensive damage, making more attractive risks for the private market to insure.

4) Overall loss of homes and business can be reduced in the event of a catastrophic storm, helping our state avoid a negative economic impact.

You can build to save your family and your money by investing in hurricane-resistant building techniques. To find out about your potential mitigation discounts, go to the page linked below. Use the drop-down menu to find your insurance company for an explanation of your company's discounts for different types of mitigation, and how you can qualify.

Click here to go to the mitigation discount page.

You will also find useful information on handling claims and obtaining help. Then contact your insurance agent to inquire about discounts on your property insurance. And take the necessary steps to improve your property for safety and savings.

If you have a problem with a claim, you can file a request for assistance online with the Florida Department of Financial Services and, you can look up licensing information on insurance agents and adjusters.