84k Homes Now at Risk of Hurricane Michael

October 10, 2018

Hurricane Michael gained strength early Wednesday to a powerful Category 4 storm that is threatening to become the strongest storm ever to strike the Florida Panhandle. The storm is expected to make landfall Wednesday afternoon, bringing destructive winds and flooding rain throughout the day.

If the storm continues its intensity and makes landfall as a Category 4, CoreLogic, a real estate data firm, predicts that about 84,200 homes in the Florida Gulf Coast will be at risk. Reconstructive costs could total up to $17 billion, as places like Crestview, Fort Walton Beach, Destin, Panama City, and Tallahassee face the brunt of the hurricane.

Two hands sheltering image of house drawn in chalk from rain

© Arijit Mondal - Moment / Getty Images Plus

Homeowners are bracing for impact, and if past hurricanes can offer a lesson, they would be well advised to check their homeowners insurance policies. “Most people fail to read their insurance contract to understand what’s covered and what’s not, and then they’re surprised after an event when they discover they didn’t have the coverage,” Lynne McChristian, a consultant to the Insurance Information Institute, told CNBC.

Flood damage is not covered under standard homeowners insurance policies, which means homeowners must get supplemental flood insurance through the federal government or private channels.

While homeowners in Michael’s path are unable to make insurance changes now, others in hurricane-prone areas should take events like this as a reminder to update their policies, McChristian says. The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to Nov. 30. Just three weeks ago, Hurricane Florence pummeled the Southeast and caused widespread flooding and wind damage in North and South Carolina.

The National Association of REALTORS® has a disaster preparation resource page to help homeowners and real estate professionals in the path of such storms, including Transaction Guidance After Natural Disaster and links to assist those filing a flood insurance claim.