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People have been living in Florida for at least 12,000 years, and European colonization began with Juan Ponce de Leon in 1513.
This southern state was particularly attractive to Virginia plantation owners who moved to the region for the sub-tropical climate.
Admitted to the Union in 1845, Florida was spared much of the devastation of the Civil War. It’s currently one of the top agricultural centers in the nation, and it’s a vacation destination for people around the globe.
If you are looking to move to Florida and want the best auto insurance rates, start comparison shopping by entering your ZIP code above!
The Sun Doesn’t Always Shine
One of the perils of being in Florida is the risk of natural disasters.
Florida is commonly called the lightning capital of the world, and this moniker isn’t far from the truth.
In fact, Florida is the lightning capital of the United States, and the swatch of land from Tampa to Titusville is known as “Lightning Alley” because there are so many lightning touchdowns in this region.
The frequency of electrical storms means that injuries and fatalities caused by lightning are common. Lightning is the leading cause of weather-related deaths in the state.
Electrical storms are frequent and occur an average of 100 days each year. Residents are warned to be wary of these storms and to seek shelter when necessary.
Another hazard of life in Florida is the risk of tropical storms, tornadoes, wildfires, and floods.
Hurricane Matthew delivered significant damage to the state, including five deaths. More than one million people lost power during the storm, and schools had to remain closed while repairs were made throughout the different regions.
If you choose to live in or just to visit Florida, then you should be prepared for the unpredictable and extreme weather. In addition to the hot weather, residents learn how to handle all types of weather activity and natural hazards.
These storms start out over the warm moist waters in the ocean and can gain strength as they drift towards land.
The one good thing about hurricanes is that you have plenty of warning and may be able to evacuate before the storm strikes.
However, there’s not much you can do to protect your home and other belongings.
Evacuation decision brochures are available to help you decide if you’ll ride out the storm at home or head to safer areas.
Whether you travel or stay home, you’ll want to protect your windows with boards or storm shutters, move loose items in the yard into a garage or shed, and stock up on your emergency kit at home.
If you’re moving to the state, try to look for housing that’s further inland. Homes along the coast will be at a much higher risk for damage, and you may find that your property is harder to insure in these areas.
There’s something terrifying about the thought that the ground you’re standing on can just open up into a cavernous pit.
The state is riddled with voids and cavities where regular erosion can occur. With sinkholes, the structure below continues to erode until it’s simply too weak to support the earth above it.
Sinkholes don’t give any warning that they exist, so you’ll need to do your research before buying a home. Hillsborough County is particularly active for sinkholes with more than 500 reported since 1974.
The regular lightning strikes in Florida are responsible for starting all types of wildfires. A lightning strike in one region can spark plants and other combustible materials that can then be carried on the wind to a dry area where a wildfire will start.
Like hurricanes, the best response to a wildfire is to simply get out of the way.
You may have some warning that a wildfire is heading in your direction, and you should take that seriously. Follow your emergency evacuation plan to get your family to safety if necessary.
These are spawned in thunderstorms, so it’s no surprise that Florida sees its own share of twisters.
During severe weather, watch for alerts and move to safer areas. You should determine your sheltered area ahead of time so that you can quickly go there.
In a home, choose an interior room or closet with no windows. If you live in a mobile home, you’re advised to leave the building completely and take shelter in a ditch or ravine.
Flood waters can rise as the result of storms and rising waters in coastal areas. On a more local level, flooding can occur when heavy rains move through and the storm sewers become overwhelmed.
Before buying property, research to see if the home is located in a flood plain or an area known to flood on a regular basis. If severe flooding is expected, then you may want to move your valuables to the attic and try to evacuate the family.
In the event that the flooding is unexpected and you find yourself trapped in the area, then follow these flood safety tips:
- Go to higher ground whenever possible
- If you’re inside the home, the retreat to the second floor, attic, and even roof if necessary
- Never attempt to walk or drive across flooded roadways because the current can pull you under and debris in the water is a serious hazard
- As soon as water starts entering the home, shut down the gas lines and your electricity
- If you do come into contact with floodwaters, wash the affected areas with soap and clean water
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Tips for General Natural Disaster Safety
Residents of Florida know that they need to be prepared for the unexpected, and the unexpected includes storms that can appear with very little notice.
In order to move quickly when the time comes, you’ll need to get yourself prepared ahead of time. Here’s what you should put in place today so that you can be ready for a storm tomorrow:
- Know the evacuation routes for your area. This will help you save time trying to get the information later
- Make arrangements with friends or family ahead of time in the event that you need to evacuate. If you don’t have people within driving distance, then keep a list of hotels and resorts that are a safe distance away
- Assemble the disaster preparedness kit. This can be a plastic bin out in the garage, and it should include flashlights, emergency radio, first aid kit, copies of critical information, batteries, cash, and bottled water
- Keep your home ready for a storm by staying on top of maintenance, including keeping gutters clean and secured to the eaves
- Buy the plywood for your windows, cut it, label it with the corresponding window, and keep it stored in the garage or shed. When the storm comes, you won’t have to worry about the stores selling out because you’ll already have your wood.
- Install a backup generator or buy a portable generator to deal with power outages. If you go with a portable model, then keep the necessary extension cords with it. Any generator should be tuned up annually to ensure that it’s ready to go when the storms arrive
- Consider building a storm shelter that can keep your family safe from high winds or floods
Get the Right Car Insurance
With so much focus on how homes are affected by natural disasters, people tend to forget about their cars. If you want your car insurance to cover storm damage such as a limb falling on your car, then you’ll need to invest in comprehensive coverage.
When shopping around for different plans, be sure to look at the company’s customer service ratings and see how good they are about paying claims.
Unfortunately, you’re more likely to have weather-related claims in Florida, so you’ll want to be sure you have a responsive company that will take care of you.
It’s also important to note that your insurance rates are likely to be higher in Florida because of the inclement weather and other factors. Broward County has the highest rates, but the fees are a little lower as you move into the northern areas.
Neighborhoods that are just a few minutes apart can present potential homeowners with drastically different rates. If you’re torn between two homes, take a look at the insurance premiums for each address to see if that can help you make a decision.
You can also save on your plan by maintaining a clean record and asking about available discounts.
Check Your Options and Your Coverage
Ensure that you have the right coverage by reviewing your policy carefully.
You can save more by shopping around with different companies, but you still want a solid plan that includes comprehensive coverage to protect your investments from natural disasters.
Start comparison shopping today for auto insurance rates by entering your ZIP code below!