Lack of flood insurance could impact Idalia
survivors looking to rebuild
Idalia hit a less populated
area than Ian. But the damage caused by rising water during
Idalia could pose the biggest financial threat to survivors
looking to rebuild.
Article Courtesy of Channel 6 NBC South Florida
By Alina Machado
September 5, 2023
Hurricane Idalia lashed Florida’s
Nature Coast with unrelenting wind, rain and storm surge. According to
the Insurance Information Institute, early insurance losses for the
powerful storm are believed to be about $10 billion, a number that is
much lower than the $60 billion in losses caused by Hurricane Ian last
“It’s a significant storm event for
Florida and the Southeast, but not on the scale of Ian,”
said Mark Friedlander, a spokesperson for the Institute.
Friedlander said Idalia hit a less populated area than Ian.
But the damage caused by rising water during Idalia could
pose the biggest financial threat to survivors looking to
“It’s going to be very challenging,” he said.
The percentage of homeowners with flood insurance in some of
the hardest hit areas was about 5%, much lower than the
state average of 18%, Friedlander said.
“These rural communities have very low
take-up rates,” he said. “In most cases, homeowners that
have flood losses are not going to have coverage for that.”
Even if flooding is caused by a
hurricane, the resulting damage will not be covered by a
regular homeowner’s insurance policy.
Idalia hit a less populated area than Ian. But the damage caused by
rising water during Idalia could pose the biggest financial threat
to survivors looking to rebuild.
“The only way to have full protection from hurricanes is to have both
levels of coverage,” he said. “A lot of people think, 'We bought
property insurance and it includes windstorm damage for hurricanes, I am
protected.' You’re partially protected. There’s no guarantee the storm
will only bring wind damage.”
That’s why Idalia and the major flooding event we saw unfold in Broward
earlier this year should serve as a warning to homeowners who don’t have
a separate flood policy, he said.
“We still have so many homeowners here in Florida, 82%, that don’t have
a flood insurance policy,” he said. “All they need to do is take a look
at what’s happening around them.”
If you are thinking of getting flood insurance, ask your agent to shop
around for coverage. But keep in mind that there’s usually a 30-day wait
period before the coverage kicks in.
As far as how Idalia could impact car insurance premiums, Friedlander
said it was too soon to know for sure. But Florida has already seen the
highest year-over-year increase of any state at $421, and the average
car insurance premium in Florida is $3,121, which is well above the
national average of $2,014.