Tropical Storm Gordon teased us. Regardless of your length of Florida residency, don’t forget it’s hurricane season. Sooner or later we will get hit. When Jimmy Buffett wrote “Trying to Reason with Hurricane Season” smartphones and satellite radar were science fiction. While forecasting is much more accurate than decades ago, you still have to plan. The best time for planning is when the sun is shining.
It seems every year Florida amends the state’s disaster planning website, www.floridadisaster.org. At first glance, it disappointed me, but I learned something new. In a storm’s aftermath, text instead of calling. Text messages go through when phone calls won’t. If you do call and the call gets dropped don’t immediately redial; it ties up the tower. Wait 10 seconds before another attempt. Familiarize yourself with the website. Disclaimer: Floridadisaster.org has nothing to do with FSU football.
Have enough food and water for three days minimum, one gallon per person per day. For some of us, manual can openers are the standard operating procedure. If you don’t have one, get one. Keep plenty of cash; ATMs may not be working. Work on an evacuation plan and notify relatives or close friends. If you have medical needs, address them now. Don’t forget to plan for your animals.
Don’t use candles; they are messy and a fire hazard. Locate your flashlights; grandkids have a way of playing with them when you aren’t looking. Make sure you have plenty of batteries on hand for flashlights and radios. Today we rely on modern technology, but radios don’t depend on cell towers. If you live on the coast, a battery-operated radio is essential. Fully charge all electronic devices.
Review your current insurance policies. Be aware flood claims may be difficult to coordinate with wind claims. Automobile comprehensive coverage extends to damage caused by wind and flooding. Wind damage from hurricanes has much higher deductibles. Ordinance coverage cover mandated code upgrades. Before the storm take digital pictures of your home, personal property, and automobiles. Email them to someone you trust or store them online.
After a storm, take reasonable steps to limit the additional loss of personal property and further damage to the structure. Report damages to the agent and insurance company as soon as possible. Document all expenses, living expenses may be covered under your homeowner's policy but not if the loss is solely from flooding.
During hurricane season Libertarians vanish. No one is a Libertarian during hurricane season. Federal taxes subsidize (heavily) flood insurance. Government employees, civilian and military, track hurricanes, not private industry. Disasters show the constraints of private charities. After Hurricane Harvey, Marketwatch’s Rex Nutting wrote, “Individual responsibility has its limits when we face common dangers.”
You can’t always get what you want, but Buz Livingston, CFP can help figure out what you need. For specific recommendations, visit livingstonfinancial.net or come by the office in Redfish Village, 2050 Scenic 30A, M-1 Suite 230.