If you’ve been affected by Hurricane Michael, you have been met with some of the most challenging times of your life. Not only do you have to deal with insurance, government bureaucracy and rising costs of restoration, but you are also now confused as to what the new NOAA classification means for you.

What does a Category 5 classification mean for policyholders?

In short: not much will happen from a policy perspective. It will confirm what you always knew to be the case, that Hurricane Michael was a category 5 hurricane that hit your area. Like you, our suspicions were confirmed when NOAA announced the designation. We were on the ground before, during, and after the storm helping policyholders prepare and navigate this catastrophic event. We’ve been through many major hurricanes, this was one of the worse. We knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that this was a category 5 storm. But, the confirmation just makes you say “I knew it!” or “I told you so” but in reality, it does very little for the policyholder aside from hopefully bring more attention and focus on the restoration.
Here are a few questions we received from residents affected by Hurricane Michael along with some helpful information.

Will my deductible now be returned because of the category 5 classification?

There is a lot of misinformation circulating the internet about deductibles being returned. Unless it is specifically stated in your policy, your deductible will not be returned regardless of hurricane category designation. Anyone who tells you otherwise should be met with skepticism. You should always seek professional opinions from certified and qualified Public Adjusters for hurricanes. They will know best.

So what does a Category 5 Classification mean to me and my community?

A Category 5 classification will hopefully be a catalyst for increased attention and legislative action which will alleviate bureaucratic challenges and release more federal and state funding for recovery. There has been a battle for funding at the highest levels while the people affected by the hurricane stand by and wait for help. Hopefully, this designation will help our elected officials in their fight for more funding to help us recover quickly.
Currently, the Florida House Bill 1610 is in appropriations. This could appropriate $300 million in needed aid.  Further aid could become available given the category 5 designation.

Does a Category 5 designation affect FEMA reimbursement?

In short, It would make it very difficult for the government (state and federal) to deny a 100% reimbursement from FEMA. While dealing with FEMA claims is difficult. The category 5 designation will help your case tremendously. If you are filing with FEMA it is important to get a professional to help you maximize your request. Navigating a FEMA claim can be extremely challenging and frustrating. An expert public adjuster will be able to help.