FEMA: Sign up for flood insurance before it's too late

Just an inch of flooding could cost you more than $25,000 in repairs

By Garrett Pelican - Digital executive producer, Jennifer Ready - Reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Is your home insured for flood damage?

There’s perhaps no better time than now to check because the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's forecasters predict we could see up to eight hurricanes this season.

That’s why the Federal Emergency Management Agency and National Flood Insurance Program are calling for Jacksonville residents to take steps to prepare for a storm before it’s too late.

Hurricane preparations checklist

Here are some of the steps you can take right now to prepare for a hurricane. 

  • Clear debris from your gutters and drains
  • Move valuables and documents to a safe place
  • Stock up on storm supplies (Build-A-Kit That Fits)
  • Plan and practice your flood evacuation route
  • Make a hurricane plan for your pets
  • Elevate any devices above the ground

Source: FEMA/FloodSmart.gov

Chances are you already have hurricane insurance. So why get flood insurance? For one, your existing policy likely doesn’t cover flood damage. Also, an inch of water could cost over $25,000 in repairs.

Insured losses from Hurricane Michael have topped $6.6 billion in Florida, according to figures provided by the Office of Insurance Regulation. Losses from Irma the year before that exceeded $11 billion.

If you’ve purchased flood insurance, it can help you or your business rebound much faster from a storm. If you haven’t, you might want to sign up because policies typically take 30 days to begin.

For one inch of water, it can cost roughly $25,000 to fix.

John Tipton's home in Jacksonville Beach flooded during Hurricane Matthew. Tipton said in more than 20 years, his home never sustained any major flooding from a hurricane until Matthew. After the storm, his home had major water damage and had to be completely rebuilt.

“There were waves. There were roughly 3.5 feet of water in the yard, breaking up against the house and the water obviously went in the house,” Tipton explained. 

He said they had to raise the floor more than 3 feet. Tipton said fortunately, they did have flood insurance to help cover the cost of the damage. 

“If we didn’t have flood insurance, we would be really struggling,” Tipton said.

Aside from insurance, now’s also a good time to make sure you’ve got an evacuation plan, you’re stocked up on three days’ worth of storm supplies and you’ve compiled all your key paperwork.

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