MANATEE COUNTY -- Hurricane Season has arrived. Use the resources on our Hurricane Readiness Center to prepare a plan that you can quickly turn to if a hurricane threatens the area. With a solid plan in place, you can minimize stress and loss and prepare your family for a safe hurricane season.
What to do Before Hurricane Season Begins
To successfully navigate the unpredictable hurricane season, certain issues need to be addressed before the season even starts. Don't wait until a storm threatens- a little planning early on relieves a lot of stress later if a hurricane does strike.
Review, Understand, and Update Your Insurance Policy
Do I need flood and windstorm coverage?
Standard homeowner’s policies DO NOT cover flood damage, defined as “a temporary condition during which water partly or completely covers the surface of normally dry land.” You should carefully check special maps, called FIRM maps, kept by the Manatee County Building Department that show floodplains. If you live in a flood-prone area, contact your agent about obtaining flood insurance. You may qualify for the National Flood Insurance Program.
WARNING: This process involves a 30-day waiting period between the time you purchase the insurance and the time it takes effect.
Some homeowner’s policies cover damage caused directly by wind or hail, while others don’t. A careful review of your policy can show whether it includes this coverage. Your coverage may be placed through the Florida Windstorm Underwriting Association
WARNING: Insurance companies do not accept new applications or requests to increase you coverage once a hurricane reaches a certain distance from Florida.
What does my policy cover and exclude?
Standard homeowners’ policies usually limit coverage on valuables such as jewelry, silverware, guns, antiques, boats and other items. You should also check the deductible amounts contained in your policy. All policies include deductibles for “perils” or causes of possible loss such as fire, hurricane, hail, etc.
The “Hurricane Insurance Affordability and Availability Act” offers a broad range of deductibles for homeowners to choose. For more information, review your policy and other materials sent by your company.
Will my policy pay “replacement cost” or “actual cash value” for a covered loss?
Most insurance on the contents of your home (i.e. personal belongings) is written on an actual cash value basis. You should keep receipts when you buy high-value items such as televisions, computers, stereos, etc. You may need this information to verify original purchase dates and price.
What about additional living expenses?
The additional living expense feature of most homeowners policies pays some expenses for covered losses that leave homes so damaged that residents can’t live there during repairs. Such expenses could include limited motel, restaurant and warehouse-storage costs. Keep all receipts during this period. This feature does NOT apply to flood insurance.
Manatee County sometimes issues a mandatory evacuation order which affects thousands
of residents. Some wonder if this coverage applies when neighboring homes are damaged but yours is not and the County won’t allow re-entry to the area. Most policies will provide coverage when a civil authority prohibits the use of a residence due to direct damage to neighboring homes by a covered threat.
What else can I do to prepare?
Make an itemized inventory of your belongings including costs, purchase dates and serial numbers. Attach receipts to the inventory sheet.
What about policy changes?
If you want to make policy changes, do so before the hurricane season.
Have I written down the name of my insurance company, policy and phone numbers?
The name of your insurance company may differ from that of your agent, agency or underwriter.
How can I safeguard my records?
Keep a copy of your important insurance records in a safe deposit box or with a relative or friend. You should also include inventory records phone numbers, videos and photos of your property along with your important personal documents like marriage, divorce, birth and death certificates.
Plan for Your Pets
Make sure your pets have current immunizations and take these records with you if you need to evacuate. If you plan to go to a motel, determine in advance whether pets are welcome and what special rules may apply. See if your veterinarian will accept your pet for boarding in an emergency.
All pets should have secure carriers, or collapsible cages. Carriers should be large enough for the pets to stand comfortably and turn around. Familiarize your pets with the carrier ahead of time. The carrier will be a secure and comforting refuge if the animal is required to live in it for days or weeks after the storm.
Develop a pet survival kit:
Proper ID collar and rabies license tag
Carrier or cage
Water and food bowls
Food supply to last about 2 weeks
Newspapers/plastic bags for waste disposal
Toys and comfort items
Muzzles, if necessary
Manual can opener
Proper ID on all belongings
Arrange for a safe place to stay with your pets. Remember to develop a plan now. Review your family plan and restock your family disaster supplies too!
Do not leave your pet in your home or tied outside your home while you leave for a shelter. Do not leave your pets in vehicles while you are housed in a shelter.
Residents with Special Medical Needs
The Special Needs Program is designed to provide hurricane evacuation assistance to individuals who have no alternative for transportation or shelter from the storm.
If a hurricane threatens Manatee County and you are pre-registered as a eligible Special Needs Client, a representative will call you to confirm your transportation need.
The County will attempt to provide transportation to a emergency public shelter only.
Manatee County has very limited resources and when possible you should make your own transportation and sheltering arrangements.
The following information is provided to explain Special Needs eligibility requirements. If you feel you are eligible, download and print the application at the bottom of this page (or contact Manatee County Emergency Management for a copy), complete it, and mail it to the Emergency Management Office.
Group evacuation of a nursing home, adult living facility or other similar facility is the sole responsibility of the facility's management. Non-emergency transportation is your responsibility.
Special Needs Eligibility
Any Manatee County resident whose physical condition, based on triage criteria,
requires special care but does not require an acute care setting, and who fits into any of the following categories, regardless of age, is eligible.
Special Needs Ineligibility
Those whose conditions do not warrant admittance to the Assisted Care Shelter.
Construct a Hurricane Kit
This is a list of recommended items in a hurricane kit. It can be difficult to find some of these items immediately prior to a hurricane due to high demand, so it is best to begin preparing a hurricane kit early.
Ear Phone for the Radio
Florida State Road Map
Dry (Powder) Beverages
First Aid Kit
Medication for 30 Days
Personal Phone Book
Non-perishable (can) Foods
Plastic Eating Utensils
Extra Work Clothing
Personal Hygiene Items
Magazines and Books
Items for Young Children
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