DELRAY BEACH, Fla. – Hurricane Nicole brings new awareness to the importance of having flood insurance.
Less than half of Florida homeowners actually buy it, according to the Insurance Information Institute. And that’s with Florida being ranked as the most hurricane-prone state in the United States.
“I’d say nine out of 10 buyers don’t get it,” said Brent Colby, a Brent Colby Group estate agent in Wellington.
Colby sees what happens when his clients decide not to protect their home.
“Once you get water into your house and it starts going over that baseboard line and into the drywall, it does a lot of damage,” Colby said.
The real estate broker said just because you’re not in a flood zone doesn’t mean you don’t need flood insurance.
“Even with Hurricane Ian, the majority of claims came from areas that weren’t in the flood zone,” Colby said.
Colby added that many of his clients are afraid of the cost. However, he said the price of insurance is usually much lower than the cost of damage caused by devastating storms.
“If you’re not in a flood zone, it can cost as little as $500 a year,” Colby said. “If you’re in a flood zone, sure, it might be a bit more, but even for my multi-family home on the Intracoastal [Waterway], about five lots from the Intracoastal, that’s about $1,500 a year. For me, it’s one of those properties that I’ll always carry. It’s just too close to that water, and I’ve seen what it can do,” Colby said.
According to the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation, Palm Beach County reported 2,650 insurance claims after Hurricane Ian.
“It comes back to risk tolerance again,” Colby said. “We live in South Florida. You just have to be careful.”
For some homeowners, like Jerome Calderone, the devastation caused by Hurricane Ian was a reason to purchase insurance.
“I bought flood insurance two weeks ago,” Calderone said. “Just in time.”
The Delray Beach resident said he was grateful to have coverage as Hurricane Nicole slammed into South Florida Wednesday through Thursday, causing flooding for many residents of the historic Marina district.
“That’s the reality we live with, this storm surge can be brutal,” Calderone said. “My heart is with them.”
Calderone’s house was not damaged by the storm.
“It went well,” said Calderone, a window cleaner from Delray Beach.
Knowing that his house is only 3 km from the coast, he is always grateful to have taken out insurance before the next storm.
“It’s kind of obvious,” Calderone said. “For the little money it is, the protection is good value for money.”
Colby recommends that his clients do their research before purchasing flood insurance and find out which policy is right for them.
“Every buyer and owner is a little different,” Colby said.
Colby added that doing your research and consulting with a real estate agent can help residents find the best policy at the right price. Click here to learn more about flood insurance.