Damage appears to be minor around Southwest Florida

Aug 20, 2008

Fort Meyers News-Press--August 19, 2008

Official assessments are just beginning in areas where the worst of Tropical Storm Fay has passed, but little significant damage has been reported.

“We aren’t getting reports of significant damage and we certainly hope that we don’t,’’ said Sam Miller, executive vice president of the Florida Insurance Council.

There have been isolated reports of structural damage, including some to an equine hospital in Palm Beach County, and more is possible as the storm churns through Florida, Miller said.

Lynne McChristian, Tampa-based representative for the Insurance Information Institute, said residents in central and northern Florida are still bracing for the storm, so it is too early to say what the total impact will be.

“If nothing else, this is kind of a readiness alert to let people test if they are as prepared as they thought they were for storms like this,’’ McChristian said.

McChristian said Floridians whose property has been damaged by wind and flooding from Tropical Storm Fay should contact their insurance company immediately.

Since Fay made landfall as a tropical storm, standard deductibles will apply instead of hurricane deductibles, McChristian said.

Windstorm damage is covered under standard homeowners, renters and business insurance policies. Standard homeowners insurance policies also include coverage for additional living expenses to pay the additional costs of temporarily living away from your home.

Flood damage is excluded under standard homeowners and renters insurance policies. Flood coverage, however, is available in the form of a separate policy both from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and from a few private insurers. Florida leads the nation in the number of flood policies in-force, according to the NFIP. Yet the 2.2 million NFIP policies sold in Florida represent less than half of the owner-occupied homes in the state.