Was Hurricane Ian a wake-up call for island & South Florida residents who might not have windstorm or flood insurance? | Real Estate


After watching scenes unfold of devastation and flooding occur from the Fort Myers area through many parts of central Florida, there was no doubt some area residents on Key Biscayne and Miami were researching their coverage limits and some were more convinced than ever to renew their policies, which likely reflected major spikes in premiums this year.

And this Friday’s heavy waves which eroded Key Biscayne and Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park beaches provided island residents a reminder of what storm surge could bring to the island.

“I always recommend having coverage vs. not having it,” said manager Jaden McCart, at the family-owned McCart Insurance Agency in Palm Bay, just north of Vero Beach, anther area that was battered by Hurricane Ian.

For properties with a mortgage, most lenders require windstorm and flood insurance.

Key Biscayne escaped most of the harmful effects of Ian, with nearby winds recorded as high as 60 mph out in Biscayne Bay, according to the National Weather Service in Miami. Only minor flooding took place, even with King Tides in play.

“I always recommend having the wind coverage because you never know when a tornado might hit,” McCart said. “The hurricane might not be a direct hit, but a microburst or tornado can (cause major problems), even with the newest materials and best building codes, concrete block, anything ,,, can destroy a house.”

Settling for a traditional insurance policy (which includes fire and personal property) saves about 65%, said McCart, who operates an Allstate agency, yet, as a broker, offers policies through partnering companies as well.

Flood insurance is a separate policy under the FEMA umbrella, and it is now unveiling its new rating system, 2.0, using a “risk rating” that “we’ve seen, is sometimes 3-4 times more expensive for certain homes that used to be simple, preferred policies in Flood Zone X.

People close to the water may be paying $600 this year, but now they might be paying $2,000 to start a new policy.

“I’ve always wondered why the people way out in Palm Bay and Melbourne would have to pay the same price in Flood Zone X and got the same price as in Satellite Beach (along the Atlantic Ocean),” McCart said. “Now it’s based on being closer to the water, or ‘tidal water,’ they call it, in rivers or the ocean.”

Much has been discussed and analyzed regarding the storm surge in Fort Myers; to the street flooding in Orlando and Kissimmee; to the ocean washing into St. Augustine; and what is anticipated from the St. Johns River that could affect those living as far as 3 or 4 miles away downstream.

“If it’s not required by a mortgage company, I know of some people who are opting out, “McCart said.

But, maybe, not for long.



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