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  • When I moved to Florida five years ago, I had to learn how to prepare for hurricane season.
  • We pay nearly $2,600 a year for homeowners insurance, flood insurance, and an umbrella policy.
  • We also have a disaster supply kit with everything we need that we restock on an annual basis.

As a writer who lived in the Northeast for a decade, I never thought I’d live in Florida. There are alligators. It’s unbearably hot in the summer. And the hurricanes! No, thanks. But life often takes you to unexpected locales, and I’ve been a Florida resident for four nearly five years.

One thing that has been a significant shift change for our family is preparing for hurricane season. Everything from what type of insurance we have to how we prepare our home and our emergency kit has helped us make sure we’re covered for hurricane season.

We spend nearly $2,600 per year on our insurance coverage, on top of the cost of restocking our emergency kit, but it’s worth the cost.

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Our insurance coverage

You might be wondering what kind of hurricane insurance we have. The short answer? We don’t. There actually is no such thing as hurricane insurance. You can get flood insurance, windstorm insurance, and homeowners insurance. And when someone, especially a Floridian, talks about hurricane insurance, they’re usually talking about a combination of these policies.

We have a combination of homeowners insurance and federally-backed flood insurance through FEMA. Most people know that homeowners insurance covers incidents such as fire and theft, but most policies also cover structural and wind damage, which helps cover repairs in the event of a hurricane. Our deductible for our homeowners policy is 2% of total damages for hurricane damage and 1% for other occurrences.

On top of our homeowners policy, we also opted for flood coverage through FEMA, which covers up to $250,000 of water damage, the maximum coverage amount. According to FEMA, flooding accounts for more than 90% of all disaster-related property damage in the United States. If you’re in a flood zone, most mortgage lenders will mandate extra flood insurance, but we weren’t required to get that.

And, call us overinsured, but we also opted for a $1 million umbrella policy. That’s because it covers extra costs in case a claim is significantly more than our coverage amount. It also can help cover legal costs and settlements if someone sues you due to injury or death incurred on your property — that’s not hurricane-related, but it’s still nice to have nonetheless.

We pay $1,353.50 annually for our homeowners policy, while our umbrella policy costs $691 per year for $1 million of coverage. The maximum coverage from FEMA costs another $550 annually, making our total annual hurricane coverage costs $2,594.50, for an estimated $1,250,000 of coverage, plus any additional amount in damages covered under our homeowners policy.

Our emergency kit

But it’s not just insurance policies that need to be considered when it comes to hurricane season in Florida.

The Florida Department of Health recommends a disaster supply kit that contains water, food, first aid supplies, medication, clothing and bedding, tools and emergency supplies, and important family documents, all kept in airtight containers or bags.

Our kit contains one gallon of water per person per day, medications, a change of clothes per person, flashlights, lanterns, batteries, a weather radio, tarps, gloves, batteries, and lots of non-perishable (and kid-friendly) food and milk. Since we have a dog, we also have an extra leash and food and water for him, along with potential evacuation routes that include dog-friendly hotels.

We restock this kit every year toward the end of May, in addition to making sure our go-bags are packed and contain age and size-appropriate clothing.

Is hurricane prep the most exciting thing in the world? No, and at times it can be stressful and expensive. But it’s the price we pay for palm trees, year-round nice weather, and sunny beaches.