AAA study: 1 in 5 would not evacuate for hurricane

Majority would only leave for Catetory 3 or higher

By Bruce Hamilton - The Morning Show anchor
Headline Goes Here Eric Fiegel/CNN

Tourists in Kill Devil Hills, N.C., pack up to avoid Hurricane Irene on Aug. 25. There is a mandatory evacuation in the Outer Banks for visitors.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Hurricane season begins Sunday, but a recent AAA survey found that 29 percent of Florida residents do not make advanced preparations.

Colorado State University predicts a below-average hurricane season with nine named storms, three hurricanes and one major hurricane this year.

If a named storm moved toward Florida, nearly one in five Floridians say they would not leave their homes. Of those who would evacuate, the majority (65 percent) say they would only leave for a Category 3 hurricane or greater.

"Residents should stay vigilant and be prepared for a major weather event," said AAA's Mark Jenkins. "Part of that preparation includes having a storm kit, evacuation plan, and flood insurance. Every home is in a flood zone, whether you live near the coast or not."

Floods are the number one disaster in the United States. Homes in low risk zones account for 25 percent of flood claims every year. Just two inches of water in a 2,000 square foot home, can cause as much as $21,000 or more in damage. However, only three in ten Floridians have flood insurance, which is separate from homeowners insurance. A preferred risk flood insurance policy costing 85 cents a day will cover $100,000 in structural damage and $40,000 for damage to contents inside the home.

"Only half of people know there is a 30-day waiting period for a new flood policy to take effect," Jenkins said. "If you wait until a storm is named and heading your direction, you will be too late. Now is a great time to check with your homeowner's insurance provider to ensure you are covered before the busy storm season begins."

Florida lawmakers are making storm preparation more affordable. The government approved a holiday that temporarily lifts the sales tax on items like first aid kits, weather radios and generators. The nine day tax-free holiday runs Saturday through June 8.

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