Is Your Florida Home Covered by Flood Insurance?

While your house in Florida can be your most important asset, sometimes it can also be a huge liability.  Therefore, you should take care of it by providing long-term safety and upkeep.  At times, it can be hard to understand if there’s a separate policy for flood insurance, or whether your homeowner’s insurance covers these damages or not.

Why is a Florida home at risk?

There are many misconceptions about flood and home insurance in Florida, but with this post, you’ll understand when to have the right insurance that covers calamities.  Here’s a quick guide that helps determine the need of flood insurance coverage for your home.  Some important points will ensure the security of your property.

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Florida’s Increasing Flood Insurance

Florida’s Increasing Flood Insurance

Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act became in effect on 1st April, 2005.  Specifically in Florida, this Act will result to the rising of flood insurance in flood-zone areas for thousands of Florida residents. This is appropriate to those properties situated along the coastal areas and families near rivers, bays and lakes in Florida.

Unfortunately, this  Act has been coming for a long time. And inevitably, various coastal inhabitants understood the increasing cost of flood insurance.  This is the cost of living along the coastal areas, as said by the Vice President of Great Florida Insurance, Ellsworth Buck.

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Florida Insurance Industry: Now Ready to Face Hurricane Season

Florida Insurance Industry: Now Ready to Face Hurricane Season

This year’s Atlantic hurricane season has opened. With that, a mixture of estimates for less-than-the-average storms, including the highest financial resources level to pay claims may assist businessmen and homeowners to take out their worries.

Florida, the most dangerous state in the US for hurricane hits, experienced 9 years without hurricanes. This allowed Florida insurance companies to establish more record capital reserves. However, that good fate may end any time this year, based on the condition of the Mother Nature.

Florida can sleep easier at night, according to Robert Hartwig, Insurance Information Institute President. At last, the insurance industry is financially rock solid.

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State of Florida: Ranks 5th among the Most-Expensive States to Insure a New Car in 2015

State of Florida: Ranks 5th among the Most-Expensive States to Insure a New Car In 2015

Drivers in the State of Florida who try to get their car insurance will be paying $1,742.00 on average, or nearly 33% greater than the national average. This is in accordance with the current study done by Insure.com on car insurance rates among the different states in the US.

This ranks the Sunshine State from the 5 most-expensive states on new cars that need to be insured. Drivers in Ohio, Idaho and Maine will pay third, less than the car insurance in the national average. By far, motorists from Michigan will pay the most rates in car insurance.

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Tropical Storm Targets South Florida

 

System aiming at South Florida becomes Tropical Depression 16; could be Tropical Storm Nicole in hours

by Eliot Kleinberg

The system on a collision course with Florida, arriving as early as this afternoon, became Tropical Depression 16 at 11 a.m. today. At 2 p.m., top sustained winds were near 35 mph, just below tropical storm strength, and the system is expected to become Tropical Storm Nicole later  this afternoon. But the official forecast calls for a 60 percent chance that Palm Beach County never will see tropical storm force winds. And the National Weather Service’s Miami office says there’s a “very low” chance. It says top sustained winds in Palm Beach County will be in the 25 mph to 35 mph range, with gusts up to 45 mph, although it said stronger winds still are possible depending on the system’s path. 

mflwindthreat_smA tropical storm warning is in place from Jupiter Inlet south to the Keys and a tropical storm watch north to Sebastian Inlet as well as for southwest Florida.

Also, a flood watch is set to be posted at 4 p.m. today and run through 2 p.m. Wednesday for Palm Beach County and points south. While heavy rains should start tonight, it’s most likely tropical storm force winds won’t affect Palm Beach County until Wednesday, if ever, the National Weather Service’s Robert Molleda said this morning. As much as 8 inches of rain could fall on South Florida, with the heaviest rains expected south and southeast of Lake Okeechobee, according to water managers at the South Florida Water Management District. They said Broward and Miami-Dade counties likely will see more rain than Palm Beach County. 

The heaviest rains are expected late this afternoon and tonight and then overnight, with a good chance they’ll make Wednesday morning’s commute an unpleasant one. The center of the system was expected to near southeastern Florida by Wednesday afternoon and east of Boynton Beach around 8 p.m. Wednesday. The system should be gone by Thursday morning. National Weather Service forecaster Brad Diehl said. At  2 p.m., the depression’s center was about 370 miles south-southwest of Miami. It was moving north-northeast at 10 mph. 

There's less than a 40 percent chance of tropical storm force winds for PB County There’s a 40 percent chance of tropical storm force winds for PB County 

145212w_sm1With the strongest winds east and south of the system’s center, if it stays right at or near the coast, tropical storm force winds would stay off shore, Molleda – warning coordination meteorologist at the weather service’s Miami office – said this morning. “Since it’s such a disproportionate distribution of wind and rain, if the system tracks offshore, even if it’s by a few miles, that’s the different between getting tropical storm force winds and not getting any at all,” he said. If the storm stays off shore, that also could reduce the projected deluge, Molleda said. But with the storm so close, and its status changing nearly hourly, “we’re walking a big of a tightrope,” he said. 

Assistant Palm Beach County administrator Vince Bonvento said the county does not expect to go into full storm mode but is watching the storm’s progress. He said the county’s final budget meeting still is set to go on at 6 p.m. Palm Beach Schools officials said at midday they’ll decide later today whether the storm will affect schools on Wednesday. The system is forecast to dissolve into a front on Thursday. Post staff writers Christine Stapleton and Jennifer Sorentrue  contributed to this report. 

Four to six inches of rain could fall on Palm Beach County

by Eliot Kleinberg

Four to six inches of rain, perhaps more in spots, could fall across Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast from Tuesday afternoon to late Wednesday as a result of a weather system now in the Caribbean, the National Weather Service said today.

The atmosphere is loaded with water at historic levels, and rain bands could drop 2 to 4 inches over an area in as many hours, meteorologist Dan Gregoria said today from the weather service’s Miami office.

The heaviest rain will be from Tuesday night through Wednesday afternoon.

A flood watch might be issued early Wednesday for coastal urban areas.

Rainfall could be a little less pronounced along the Treasure Coast, but the threat also extends inland over Lake Okeechobee and west to the Gulf of Mexico, Gregoria said.

“We are concerned about heavy rain in a short time,” he said.

And it might not be the end. One to two more waves of saturated atmosphere might move through later in the week.

Thunder and lightning will be isolated, there’s a minimal tornado threat, and whether strong winds accompany the deluge will depend on whether the system develops tropical characteristics before moving over the peninsula, Gregoria said.

The National Hurricane Center’s 2 p.m. tropical weather outlook upped to 40 percent the chance the storm will do just that, and become a tropical depression or Tropical Storm Nicole, by Wednesday afternoon.

A National Science Foundation jet that flew into the system found it did not yet have a well-defined center of circulation, but conditions are favorable for more development, the outlook said.

The outlook mentioned two other systems way out in the Atlantic, but chances were low either will develop into anything in the next 48 hours.

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This entry was posted on Monday, September 27th, 2010 at 2:12 pm and is filed under 2010 season storms, Developing storms, Nicole, Season forecasts, South Florida weather. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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15 things you didn’t know your car and home insurance policies cover

15 things you didn’t know your car and home insurance policies cover

By Insure.com

Last updated Aug. 29, 2010

Your insurance policies probably include coverage you’ve never thought about. In order for you to get the most value from your policy, check out these things that may already be included for your premium payments:

1. A lawyer for your problem

Americans have a 10 percent chance of being sued in any given year and a 33 percent chance of being sued in their lifetimes, according to IFG Trust Services Inc., an international investment firm. Both your home and car insurance will provide you with legal defense if you’re sued for an incident that’s covered by your policy. For example, your home insurance company will provide a lawyer if you are sued because someone is injured on your property — whether it’s inside your home or outside on the sidewalk.

If a court finds you negligent and awards damages to the other party, your insurance will pay up to the liability limits defined by your policy. If you have assets to protect, such as a house, savings or investments, consider buying an umbrella policy. Umbrella coverage, which provides liability coverage above and beyond your home and car insurance, typically starts at $1 million. Read how umbrella policies extend your coverage.

2. Your naughty dog

home insurance for dogs

Say your normally mild-mannered tail-wagger has a bad day. One of your neighbor’s children wants to play but your pooch isn’t in the mood and responds negatively. The bite causes the child an injury that requires hospitalization. Your neighbor sues you, seeking reimbursement for the child’s medical bills. Depending on what breed of dog you own, where you live and your insurance company, home insurance may have you covered. Some home insurers have lists of breeds and crossbreeds they will not insure; other insurers consider such breeds on a case-by-case basis, or charge more for certain “biting” breeds such as pit bulls. Check your policy or call to see if you have coverage. For more, read home insurance for dog lovers.

11. Flat tires, lockouts and more A number of things can go wrong with your car. Maybe you hit a pothole on your way to work and suffer a flat tire. Perhaps you mindlessly locked your keys inside your car. It’s possible that your gas gauge malfunctioned and you ran out of gas. If you added roadside assistance coverage to your car insurance policy, you’re covered for most of these things. For example, Progressive’s Emergency Roadside Assistance coverage includes towing, flat-tire changes, battery jumpstarts, emergency fuel and fluid delivery and locksmith service. Roadside assistance coverage is optional and relatively cheap.

12. Bad checks, fake cash and other fraud 

If someone writes you a bogus check, your credit card is stolen or you unknowingly accepted counterfeit cash, you could be covered. According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), home insurance coverage can include unauthorized use of credit cards, forged checks and counterfeit cash. However, policy limits are generally very low, such as $500.

13. Family grave markers 

If a grave monument on a family plot has been vandalized or otherwise damaged, such as struck by lightning, it may be covered, depending on your insurance company. Many companies provide up to $5,000 for damage to a grave marker, including headstones, monuments and urns, according to III. However, policies generally exclude damage resulting from a catastrophe, such as a hurricane. There’s no additional charge for this coverage.

14. Trees, plants & your lawn 

Many home insurance policies automatically cover damage to trees, shrubs, plants and lawns on your property. Damage can be the result of theft, vandalism, an aircraft crash, riot, explosion, fire or lightning. Generally, there’s a $500 limit for any one tree, shrub, plant or re-sodding a lawn.

15. Spoiled Food 

If the food in your refrigerator spoils due to a power outage from a covered peril, you may be covered — depending on your insurer and where you live. However, the power outage must be the result of a covered peril such as windstorm, lightning, fire or hail. Some companies automatically include this under your homeowners policy. Others sell food spoiler coverage as a separate endorsement.

3. An injured pet

Car accidents are dangerous not only for people but also the pets riding with them. And because pets don’t have the benefit of seat belts, even a minor collision can result in pet injuries and major veterinary bills.

Depending on your insurance company and where you live, your auto insurance could pick up the bill. For example, Farmer’s Insurance will pay for pet medical costs up to $600 if you have comprehensive and collision coverage — in some states. You don’t pay extra for this coverage. Coverage applies in the event of your pet’s death or injury in a car accident, hijacking or theft (exotic animals not included). Here’s more about insurance coverage for pets in car accidents.

4. Terrorism

If a group like Al-Qaeda bombs your neighborhood, your property is covered under both your home and car insurance policies. Standard homeowners insurance policies include coverage for damage to property and personal possessions resulting from an act of terrorism. If your car is damaged or destroyed in a terrorist attack, your car insurance policy will cover the damage if you have purchased comprehensive coverage. But if you carry only liability coverage, your car would not be covered.

While terrorism is covered, acts of war are excluded. After an attack, the government would declare whether it is terrorism or war and your insurance will respond accordingly. Note that biological and nuclear attacks are not covered. Here’s how insurance takes cover from war and biological attacks.

5. Your stolen gun

Say your teen invites a few friends to your home and later you discover that your .40 caliber semiautomatic handgun is missing. You would report the theft and your home insurance will likely cover it. Most standard policies cover theft of firearms for up to $1,500. If you own an extensive collection of guns, consider purchasing extra coverage.

6. Your drunk friends

If you’ve just hosted a rollicking party but one of your guests left drunk and caused an accident, the finger of blame could point at you. In most states, you can be held responsible for his actions and find yourself in court. If a civil claim is filed against you, your home insurance pays for your legal representation and any damages the court awards — up to the limits of your policy. See where you could be held liable under “social host liability” laws. It’s important to have adequate liability coverage. Most insurance agents recommend buying liability coverage between $300,000 and $500,000.

7. Those reckless friends

If you loan your car to a friend for a few hours and he crashes it, your own insurance policy will come to your rescue. (It doesn’t matter whether or not your friend is insured, because your policy kicks in on your car.) Your policy insures your vehicle plus “you, any relative and anyone else using your car if the use is with your permission.” Even if your friend has his own car insurance, your insurance will pay for damage caused to others and, if you carry collision insurance, for damage to your car. However, you’ll have to pay your deductible for any collision claim. For more, read about what happens when your friend crashes your car.

8. Stolen gifts

We’ve all stashed purchases in our car in a mall parking lot and gone back in for more shopping. But car insurance does not cover personal possessions that are stolen from your vehicle. Fortunately, theft of personal property is covered under your home insurance. You’ll need to file a police report and pay a deductible to make a theft-related insurance claim. If your receipts are stolen along with your gifts, you will need to document your purchases, perhaps by obtaining duplicate receipts from the stores.

9. Your lost luggage

home insurance for lost luggage

Any trip can turn sour if your luggage does not return with you. Fortunately, many home insurance policies will reimburse you for lost or stolen luggage. Loretta Worters of the Insurance Information Institute says that this falls under “off-premises coverage” in some home insurance policies. Sometimes coverage is automatic, but some insurance companies may charge extra, she says.

If you made expensive purchases while on vacation that are gone with your luggage, you won’t recoup your expenses. Generally, you will be reimbursed only up to $500 for loss of personal property in luggage. If you know you will be making expensive purchases, you should probably have certain items insured separately.

10. Your child’s college dorm

If a thief robs your child’s college dorm, your home insurance policy should have you covered. Most home insurance policies will extend coverage to theft of personal belongings in your child’s dorm. However, coverage does not extend to an off-campus apartment rented by your child; for that you’ll need renter’s insurance. Also, your child must be a full-time student and be considered your dependent for coverage to apply.

The basics of renters insurance

The basics of renters insurance

By Insure.com

Last updated May 23, 2010

When disaster strikes, it doesn’t differentiate between rented buildings and owned homes. Renters face the same risk as homeowners. Your landlord or condo association may have insurance, but it only protects the building structure, not the personal items inside. Renters insurance can protect your belongings in case of disaster.

What standard policies cover

There are several types of residential insurance policies. The HO-4 policy is designed for renters, while the HO-6 policy is for condo owners. Both HO-4 and HO-6 cover losses to your personal property from 16 types of perils:

  1. Fire or lightning
  2. Windstorm or hail
  3. Explosion
  4. Riot or civil commotion
  5. Damage caused by aircraft
  6. Damage caused by vehicles
  7. Smoke
  8. Vandalism or malicious mischief
  9. Theft
  10. Volcanic eruption
  11. Falling objects
  12. Weight of ice, snow, or sleet
  13. Accidental discharge or overflow of water or steam from within a plumbing, heating, air conditioning, or automatic fire-protective sprinkler system, or from a household appliance
  14. Sudden and accidental tearing apart, cracking, burning, or bulging of a steam or hot water heating system, an air conditioning or automatic fire-protective system
  15. Freezing of a plumbing, heating, air conditioning or automatic, fire-protective sprinkler system, or of a household appliance
  16. Sudden and accidental damage from artificially generated electrical current (does not include loss to a tube, transistor or similar electronic component)

Floods and earthquakes aren’t on the list. If you live in an area prone to either, you’ll need to buy a separate policy or a rider. In some coastal regions, where hurricanes might pose a threat, you might also need to buy a separate rider to cover wind damage.

Actual cash value vs. replacement cost

Always tell your agent about the valuable items you own.

One thing to consider is whether the insurance company will offer “actual cash value” (ACV) or “replacement cost coverage” for your belongings. As the name implies, ACV coverage will pay only for what your property was worth at the time it was damaged or stolen. So, if you bought a television five years ago for $500, it would be worth significantly less today. While you’d still need to spend about $500 for a new TV, your insurance company will pay only for what the old one is worth, minus your deductible.

Replacement cost coverage, on the other hand, will pay what it actually costs to replace the items you lost (minus the deductible). In some regions, most insurers write ACV coverage. In others, they’ll quote you replacement cost coverage by default. Replacement cost coverage will cost you more in premiums, but it will also pay out more if you ever need to file a claim. Let your agent know about any particularly valuable items you have. Jewelry, antiques and electronics might be covered only up to an amount that won’t pay for their replacement.

If you have some items that are unusually expensive, such as a diamond ring, you’ll probably want to purchase a separate rider. Without riders for expensive items you can’t recover the full loss if it’s beyond your policy limit.

Take inventory

To ensure you’re compensated for any belongings you lose from a fire, storm or other catastrophe, you should inventory all of your personal belongings. List each item, its value and serial number. Photograph or videotape each room, including closets, open drawers, storage buildings and your garage. Keep receipts for major items in a fireproof place. To make things easier, the Insurance Information Institute has free inventory software that helps you create a room-by-room inventory of your personal possessions. For more information, go to KnowYourStuff.org.

When your home is unlivable

If your apartment or condominium becomes uninhabitable due to a fire, burst pipes or any other reason covered by your policy, your renters insurance will cover your “additional living expenses.” Generally, that means paying for you to live somewhere else.

Additional benefits

Liability protection is also standard with most renters and condo policies. This means if someone in your unit slips and falls, you’re covered for any costs, up to your liability limit. If this person sues you, you’re covered for what they win in a court judgment as well as legal expenses, up to your policy’s limit.

Keeping your premium low

Just like any other type of homeowners insurance policy, your renters insurance premium depends on a number of factors: where you live, your deductible, your insurance company and whether you need any additional coverage.

There are ways to reduce your renters or condo owners insurance bill. Increasing your deductible (the amount you pay before your coverage kicks in) is one strategy. Make sure you can afford whatever deductible you choose. If you’re thinking about getting a dog, you might want to think twice. Some insurance companies are reluctant to write policies for owners of certain breeds.

Most insurers offer a discount for “protective devices” including smoke and fire detectors, burglar alarms and fire extinguishers.

Some insurers might offer discounts to policyholders who are over age 55 and retired. Others might offer a discount if you buy both an auto and renters policy (called a multiline discount).

The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale

The Saffir-Simpson Team (Timothy Schott, Chris Landsea, Gene Hafele, Jeffrey Lorens, Arthur Taylor, Harvey Thurm, Bill Ward, Mark Willis, and Walt Zaleski)

The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale is a 1 to 5 categorization based on the hurricane’s intensity at the indicated time. The scale – originally developed by wind engineer Herb Saffir and meteorologist Bob Simpson – has been an excellent tool for alerting the public about the possible impacts of various intensity hurricanes

 

1. The scale provides examples of the type of damage and impacts in the United States associated with winds of the indicated intensity. In general, damage rises by about a factor of four for every category increase2. The maximum sustained surface wind speed (peak 1-minute wind at the standard meteorological observation height of 10 m [33 ft] over unobstructed exposure) associated with the cyclone is the determining factor in the scale. (Note that sustained winds can be stronger in hilly or mountainous terrain – such as the over the Appalachians or over much of Puerto Rico – compared with that experienced over flat terrain3.) The historical examples provided in each of the categories correspond with the observed or estimated maximum wind speeds from the hurricane experienced at the location indicated. These do not necessarily correspond with the peak intensity reached by the system during its lifetime. It is also important to note that peak 1-minute winds in hurricane are believed to diminish by one category within a short distance, perhaps a kilometer [~ half a mile] of the coastline4The scale does not address the potential for other hurricane-related impacts, such as storm surge, rainfall-induced floods, and tornadoes. It should also be noted that these wind-caused damage general descriptions are to some degree dependent upon the local building codes in effect and how well and how long they have been enforced. For example, building codes enacted during the 2000s in Florida, North Carolina and South Carolina are likely to reduce the damage to newer structures from that described below. However, for a long time to come, the majority of the building stock in existence on the coast will not have been built to higher code. Hurricane wind damage is also very dependent upon other factors, such as duration of high winds, change of wind direction, and age of structures. . For example, Hurricane Wilma made landfall in 2005 in southwest Florida as a Category 3 hurricane. Even though this hurricane only took four hours to traverse the peninsula, the winds experienced by most Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach County communities were Category 1 to Category 2 conditions. However, exceptions to this generalization are certainly possible.

Earlier versions of this scale – known as the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale – incorporated central pressure and storm surge as components of the categories. The central pressure was used during the 1970s and 1980s as a proxy for the winds as accurate wind speed intensity measurements from aircraft reconnaissance were not routinely available for hurricanes until 1990

5. Storm surge was also quantified by category in the earliest published versions of the scale dating back to 197261

H. S. Saffir, 1973 in The Military Engineer; and R. H. Simpson, 1974 in Weatherwise . However, hurricane size (extent of hurricane-force winds), local2

R. A. Pielke, Jr. and colleagues, 2008 in Natural Hazard Review.3

C. A. Miller, and A. G. Davenport, 1998 in Journal of Wind Engineering and Industrial Aerodynamics.4

P. J. Vickery and colleagues, 2009 in Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology.5

R. C. Sheets, 1990 in Weather and Forecasting.6

National Hurricane Operations Plan, 1972.bathymetry (depth of near-shore waters), topography, the hurricane’s forward speed and angle to the coast also affect the surge that is produced

7,8

. For example, the very large Hurricane Ike (with hurricane force winds extending as much as 125 mi from the center) in 2008 made landfall in Texas as a Category 2 hurricane and had peak storm surge values of about 20 ft. In contrast, tiny Hurricane Charley (with hurricane force winds extending at most 25 mi from the center) struck Florida in 2004 as a Category 4 hurricane and produced a peak storm surge of only about 7 ft. These storm surge values were substantially outside of the ranges suggested in the original scale. Thus to help reduce public confusion about the impacts associated with the various hurricane categories as well as to provide a more scientifically defensible scale, the storm surge ranges, flooding impact and central pressure statements are being removed from the scale and only peak winds are employed in this revised version – the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. (The impact statements below were derived from recommendations graciously provided by experts [Bruce Harper, Forrest Masters, Mark Powell, Tim Marshall, Tim Reinhold, and Peter Vickery] in hurricane boundary layer winds and hurricane wind engineering fields9,10.)Category One Hurricane (

Sustained winds 74-95 mph, 64-82 kt, or 119-153 km/hr). Very dangerous winds will produce some damagePeople, livestock, and pets struck by flying or falling debris could be injured or killed. Older (mainly pre-1994 construction) mobile homes could be destroyed, especially if they are not anchored properly as they tend to shift or roll off their foundations. Newer mobile homes that are anchored properly can sustain damage involving the removal of shingle or metal roof coverings, and loss of vinyl siding, as well as damage to carports, sunrooms, or lanais. Some poorly constructed frame homes can experience major damage, involving loss of the roof covering and damage to gable ends as well as the removal of porch coverings and awnings. Unprotected windows may break if struck by flying debris. Masonry chimneys can be toppled. Well-constructed frame homes could have damage to roof shingles, vinyl siding, soffit panels, and gutters. Failure of aluminum, screened-in, swimming pool enclosures can occur. Some apartment building and shopping center roof coverings could be partially removed. Industrial buildings can lose roofing and siding especially from windward corners, rakes, and eaves. Failures to overhead doors and unprotected windows will be common. Windows in high-rise buildings can be broken by flying debris. Falling and broken glass will pose a significant danger even after the storm. There will be occasional damage to commercial signage, fences, and canopies. Large branches of trees will snap and shallow rooted trees can be toppled. Extensive damage to power lines and poles will likely result in power outages that could last a few to several days. Hurricane Dolly (2008) is an example of a hurricane that brought Category 1 winds and impacts to South Padre Island, Texas.

Category Two Hurricane (

Sustained winds 96-110 mph, 83-95 kt, or 154-177 km/hr). Extremely dangerous winds will cause extensive damage7

Jelesnianski, C. P., 1972 in NOAA Technical Memorandum NWS 46.8

J. L. Irish, D. T. Resio, and J. J. Ratcliff, 2008 in Journal of Physical Oceanography.9

F. Masters, P. Vickery, B. Harper, M. Powell, and T. Reinhold, 2009 in Engineering Guidance Regarding Wind-Caused Damage Descriptors.10

T. Marshall, 2009 in On the Performance of Buildings in Hurricanes – A Study for the Saffir-Simpson Scale Committee.There is a substantial risk of injury or death to people, livestock, and pets due to flying and falling debris. Older (mainly pre-1994 construction) mobile homes have a very high chance of being destroyed and the flying debris generated can shred nearby mobile homes. Newer mobile homes can also be destroyed. Poorly constructed frame homes have a high chance of having their roof structures removed especially if they are not anchored properly. Unprotected windows will have a high probability of being broken by flying debris. Well-constructed frame homes could sustain major roof and siding damage. Failure of aluminum, screened-in, swimming pool enclosures will be common. There will be a substantial percentage of roof and siding damage to apartment buildings and industrial buildings. Unreinforced masonry walls can collapse. Windows in high-rise buildings can be broken by flying debris. Falling and broken glass will pose a significant danger even after the storm. Commercial signage, fences, and canopies will be damaged and often destroyed. Many shallowly rooted trees will be snapped or uprooted and block numerous roads. Near-total power loss is expected with outages that could last from several days to weeks. Potable water could become scarce as filtration systems begin to fail. Hurricane Frances (2004) is an example of a hurricane that brought Category 2 winds and impacts to coastal portions of Port St. Lucie, Florida with Category 1 conditions experienced elsewhere in the city.

Category Three Hurricane

(Sustained winds 111-130 mph, 96-113 kt, or 178-209 km/hr).Devastating damage will occur

There is a high risk of injury or death to people, livestock, and pets due to flying and falling debris. Nearly all older (pre-1994) mobile homes will be destroyed. Most newer mobile homes will sustain severe damage with potential for complete roof failure and wall collapse. Poorly constructed frame homes can be destroyed by the removal of the roof and exterior walls. Unprotected windows will be broken by flying debris. Well-built frame homes can experience major damage involving the removal of roof decking and gable ends. There will be a high percentage of roof covering and siding damage to apartment buildings and industrial buildings. Isolated structural damage to wood or steel framing can occur. Complete failure of older metal buildings is possible, and older unreinforced masonry buildings can collapse. Numerous windows will be blown out of high-rise buildings resulting in falling glass, which will pose a threat for days to weeks after the storm. Most commercial signage, fences, and canopies will be destroyed. Many trees will be snapped or uprooted, blocking numerous roads. Electricity and water will be unavailable for several days to a few weeks after the storm passes. Hurricane Ivan (2004) is an example of a hurricane that brought Category 3 winds and impacts to coastal portions of Gulf Shores, Alabama with Category 2 conditions experienced elsewhere in this city.

Category Four Hurricane

(Sustained winds 131-155 mph, 114-135 kt, or 210-249 km/hr).Catastrophic damage will occur

There is a very high risk of injury or death to people, livestock, and pets due to flying and falling debris. Nearly all older (pre-1994) mobile homes will be destroyed. A high percentage of newer mobile homes also will be destroyed. Poorly constructed homes can

sustain complete collapse of all walls as well as the loss of the roof structure. Well-built homes also can sustain severe damage with loss of most of the roof structure and/or some exterior walls. Extensive damage to roof coverings, windows, and doors will occur. Large amounts of windborne debris will be lofted into the air. Windborne debris damage will break most unprotected windows and penetrate some protected windows. There will be a high percentage of structural damage to the top floors of apartment buildings. Steel frames in older industrial buildings can collapse. There will be a high percentage of collapse to older unreinforced masonry buildings. Most windows will be blown out of high-rise buildings resulting in falling glass, which will pose a threat for days to weeks after the storm. Nearly all commercial signage, fences, and canopies will be destroyed. Most trees will be snapped or uprooted and power poles downed. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last for weeks to possibly months. Long-term water shortages will increase human suffering. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months. Hurricane Charley (2004) is an example of a hurricane that brought Category 4 winds and impacts to coastal portions of Punta Gorda, Florida with Category 3 conditions experienced elsewhere in the city.

Category Five Hurricane (

Sustained winds greater than 155 mph, greater than 135 kt, or greater than 249 km/hr).Catastrophic damage will occur

People, livestock, and pets are at very high risk of injury or death from flying or falling debris, even if indoors in mobile homes or framed homes. Almost complete destruction of all mobile homes will occur, regardless of age or construction. A high percentage of frame homes will be destroyed, with total roof failure and wall collapse. Extensive damage to roof covers, windows, and doors will occur. Large amounts of windborne debris will be lofted into the air. Windborne debris damage will occur to nearly all unprotected windows and many protected windows. Significant damage to wood roof commercial buildings will occur due to loss of roof sheathing. Complete collapse of many older metal buildings can occur. Most unreinforced masonry walls will fail which can lead to the collapse of the buildings. A high percentage of industrial buildings and low-rise apartment buildings will be destroyed. Nearly all windows will be blown out of high-rise buildings resulting in falling glass, which will pose a threat for days to weeks after the storm. Nearly all commercial signage, fences, and canopies will be destroyed. Nearly all trees will be snapped or uprooted and power poles downed. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last for weeks to possibly months. Long-term water shortages will increase human suffering. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months. Hurricane Andrew (1992) is an example of a hurricane that brought Category 5 winds and impacts to coastal portions of Cutler Ridge, Florida with Category 4 conditions experienced elsewhere in south Miami-Dade County.

Congress reinstates national flood insurance program

Congress reinstates national flood insurance program

 The U.S. Senate voted Wednesday night to reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program through Sept. 30, following a similar move by the House last week. President Barack Obama still needs to sign the legislation that would reinstate the program retroactively to June 1, when the program last lapsed.

 It was the third lapse in the program this year.

Congress failed to extend the National Flood Insurance Program which expired on May 30, 2010.  Hammering an already battered industry, many homeowners were unable to purchase new flood insurance policies, or renew existing policies, under the Federal program. As a result, many home buyers have been unable to close on their home purchases, especially in areas where private insurance is not available. In addition, those who had insurance in force could not be paid for a claim.

A longer-term bill that would extend the currently debt ridden flood insurance program through 2015 is still being considered in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., proposed a bill in April that would, among other things, allow the government to charge higher rates for residents in areas with a higher risk of flooding. It also would increase coverage limits for policies issued under the program.

Members of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, including Iowa Insurance Commission Susan Voss, sent a letter to Congress on Wednesday urging Congress to “consider the effects of the NFIP lapse on consumers trying to close on homes located in high-risk flood areas.”