North Florida & Hermine

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Now, we know how mean Hermine was. It’s over, except for the cleanup and the lessons learned. Hopefully, residents in the northern parts of Florida learned renewed appreciation for the power of even a Category 1 hurricane. Winds of 75 miles an hour are nothing to disregard.

Tallahassee took a pounding. I bear witness. For more than four hours (seemed longer), the house took a beating, prompting a move to an interior room, away from the windows, in the wee hours of the morning. I heard one massive tree hit the ground with an impressive thud. The second tree must have been hit by lightning. I did not hear lightning last night, but thought a transformer blew since there was a huge flash of light, which burst bright against the darkened neighborhood. (Power went out two hours before the brunt of the storm arrived.)

Overall, property damage seems moderate. Tell it to the trees! Giant pines were felled in the most inconvenient places, like on someone’s roof or over the power lines and into the middle of street.

Driving the streets of Tallahassee is NOT a good idea now, as stoplights are out and far too many drivers don’t know that turns every intersection into a four-way stop. Kind of amazing (scary) to see two, three and four drivers barrel through a busy intersection with all the stoplights gone dark. It’s enough to make one turn around and go back home (which I did!).

Insurance covers the cost of tree damage if the tree fell on insured property. That means if the tree hit the house or a car parked nearby, your insurance will cover it. If the tree fell in the yard and hit nothing but grass, insurance does not apply – because no one has insurance on their grass.

Since Hermine was classified as a hurricane, the hurricane deductible applies. Even if you think the amount of damage you sustained is under the deductible, a call to your insurers to report the damage is recommended because there is a calendar year deductible for hurricane damage. If another storm comes through before the end of the year (heaven forbid!), the amount of damage from the first storm would count toward the deductible.

Insurers are already on the scene helping policyholders through the claims process. If you need advice on what to do or how your policy works, call your insurance professional for guidance. They want to help in your time of need.

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