First Alert Weather Alert: Flood Warning expires at 10:04 PM on 4/24, issued at 10:04 PM Blackshear, GA | Bristol, GA | Mershon, GA | Millwood, GA

Continued Stormy... Hurricane Insurance... A Little Nature (Photography)

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Updated: 7/24/2013 11:10 pm
An early bout of rain Wed. -- thanks to an upper level disturbance -- choked afternoon t'storms, but it was the 6th straight day of measurable rainfall for many in NE Fl. & SE Ga.  We'll go back to morning sun Thu. followed by afternoon storms that will produce locally heavy downpours.  Storms will be moving more west to east through Fri. (vs. NW to SE)....then more southwest to northeast over the weekend.

The tropics have awakened...sort of.  I say "sort of" because "Dorian" will have to battle a good deal of dry mid & upper level air as well as pockets of at least moderate shear between now & early next week (see the 2nd & 3rd images below).  For daily tropical updates, go to "Talking the Tropics With Mike" - click ** here **.

Speaking of the tropics.........
CEO of Solace Insurance and long-time industry veteran, Bob Childress, advises a “better safe than sorry” mentality, and pushes Floridians to begin insurance hurricane preparations now.  Because many insurance plans are not all-inclusive, Childress suggests considering the following when securing or modifying insurance coverage for hurricane preparation:
●   Flooding.  Even homes that are not in high-risk flood areas can potentially experience severe flooding.  Many homes that suffer water damage during hurricane season are in areas that are not considered to be at risk of flooding.  Remember that “low-risk” does not equal “no-risk.” Anyone can be financially vulnerable to floods. People outside of high-risk areas file over 20% of NFIP claims and receive one-third of disaster assistance for flooding (4).
●   Hurricane Deductibles.  Many insurance policies have a separate, higher deductible for hurricanes (typically 2%), meaning that the policyholder is responsible for the first damages worth 2% of the home’s value.  For example, if a home is insured for $400,000, a 2% percent hurricane deductible leaves the homeowner on the hook for $8,000 in damages before the insurance kicks in.  Be cognizant of a policy’s restrictions with regard to deductibles.
●   Wind.  Ensure that wind is not excluded or restricted from the insurance policy—there are often set parameters by which damage from wind can be claimed.  If a policy omits wind damage from its coverage, it is best to obtain a separate “wind only” policy.
Childress maintains that the key to surviving Florida’s hurricane season without severe financial turmoil is by being proactive with wise insurance investments—rather than looking for the cheapest policy, residents should work to navigate the rate hikes while still ensuring security in the event of a disaster.  He suggests that the right questions need to be asked when purchasing insurance, to ensure that a claim, if ever filed, will result in the protection that the homeowner truly needed:
1.      Do I have the right type of coverage? Insuring everything, all property and valuables with one agency, though not required, is highly recommended for the most comprehensive evaluation of insurance needs and the best method for guarding against gaps in coverage.
2.      Do I have the right amount of coverage?  Insurance is a balancing act—failing to carry the proper amounts of insurance leaves policyholders facing an almost certain monetary loss, while too much coverage is a waste of money.  The right amount of insurance is critical when protecting home and property.
3.      Can I prepare for a claim ahead of time?  Talk to your insurance agent ahead of time to obtain the best phone numbers to call when attempting to file a claim.  Have all the necessary information on hand—it’s best to create a disaster plan before a disaster occurs. Check to see if your agent or agency has online claim filing capabilities.
4.      Are temporary living expenses covered?  Many policies cover living expenses if the policyholder is temporarily displaced—check the policy, because there are often limits on how much a company will pay, and for how long. This coverage is not available on a flood insurance policy.  Having money set aside to cover this expense is highly recommended.

Time for a little "nature".  Photos below were pictures I snapped.  The first one is a Zebra Longwing butterfly -- Florida's declared state butterfly (1996)....the 2nd pic I snapped at nearly the same time while doing yard work -- a walking stick.  The last photo is from Tera Barz, one of our Action News anchors.  It's a black racer & apparently Action News husband Mike is not at all comfortable around snakes(!).  But a racer is harmless & can be beneficial in the yard.

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