Given that many families in the path of Hurricane Ian in Central Florida are without a flood insurance policy, they now face grim futures with their houses and properties destroyed. A number of people woke up to find their houses flooded, and their assets damaged, and they learned from insurance companies that they cannot be compensated for their losses.
Almost most homeowners insurance policies do not provide coverage for flooding incidents, most homeowners do not have separate flood insurance contracts in place to protect them. In counties like Lee and Sanibel Island of Central Florida, some single families may obtain some federal flood insurance coverage; this is not necessarily the case in Orange County and Polk County, among others.
The corporate communications director of Insurance Information Institute (III), Mark Friedlander), lamented that the major fallout of the hurricane and subsequent flooding incidents is the lack of flood insurance that many people will have to suffer for. Some people may qualify for financial aid from FEMA and Congress, but the amounts will be too small to really be of any significant benefit.
“The most concerning factor coming out of the storm and all the losses is the lack of flood insurance, particularly in the Central Florida area,” Friedlander said. “People are going to be really disappointed when they see what funds they get and how short they are in helping them recover.”
In Fort Myers on the southwest coast of Florida, and in Orlando through the northeast region, many people reportedly kayak through their houses to assess the levels of property damage. Houses packed in compounds and streets are covered in water, and the bottom floors of many buildings are submerged in floodwater.
Officials reported more than 5,200 damaged buildings in Seminole County; about 3,000 in Polk County; more than 1,200 in Orange County; at least 4,000 destroyed in Volusia County; Winter Springs has at least 2,000 destroyed homes; and much more in other counties. In some areas, damage assessment teams have not been able to visit to determine the extent of damage, while counties that have been assessed said their assessments are only preliminary and that damage may be much more.
In some areas, the damage is not as much from flooding but from wind and debris, typically covered by most homeowners’ insurance policies. A number of couples who said they are on student loans and looking forward to being debt-free said their hopes for financial freedom are now dashed by the damage to their homes and the need to rebuild them.
“It’s obviously a big setback,” said Amanda Trompeta, who lives in Winter Springs with her fiance. “We both have student debt. I was on track to be debt-free in a year (with the federal forgiveness program). Now we have to focus on rebuilding the house so that we have someplace to live.”