Missed lede in hurricane awareness poll story?

May 16, 2006

The blog ate my post (twice!) This morning I discovered that the comments I thought I had posted yesterday were not; only the title got posted. So I rewrote the post and clicked 'save' , which brought up a blank page. Clicked back and found the blank post that I had started with… sigh… 

The Miami Herald yesterday had a story covering the results of a Mason-Dixon poll conducted in Florida regarding hurricane awareness – Poll: Hurricane lessons ignored.

I don't have much to comment on the story itself except to offer a defense for the 30% who "still have not assembled a hurricane-survival kit". The state sales tax holiday on hurricane goods starts next week and there are people who are (reasonably) holding out until then to do their shopping.

The story helpfully included a link to the full hurricane awareness poll. The following Q&A jumped out at me:

QUESTION: To the best of your knowledge, does your homeowner’s insurance policy cover damage caused by flood, or not?

    Yes 35% No 51% Not Sure 14% 

QUESTION: To the best of your knowledge, does your homeowner’s insurance policy cover damage caused by water driven by hurricane-force winds, or not?

    Yes 57% No 18% Not Sure 25% 

The problem is that under a standard homeowner's policy, there is no difference as neither is covered. That point is the subject of post-Katrina litigation.  The large amount of people who don't know what their insurance actually covers could prove to be more troublesome than any other of the poll's findings.

LATER: Lots of stories  out today on the version of the poll that surveyed residents of all hurricane prone states. Unfortunatel, the full poll is not available, though there is a summary from the poll's sponsors. On the point I raised here, it states that more than half thought their policies covered flood damage.

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