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AAA Encourages Floridians to Prepare for Tropical Storm Elsa

AAA – The Auto Club Group offers tips to help residents prepare their family and properties for the storm

AAA Sound Bites for Media

Florida residents and visitors should keep a close eye on Tropical Storm Elsa. AAA – The Auto Club Group is providing tips to help residents prepare their family and properties for the storm, and offers insight on gasoline supplies.

Things residents can do now:

  • Develop an evacuation plan with multiple destinations
  • Review insurance policies and catalog belongings
  • Collect and safeguard critical documents and records
  • Prepare your home, inspect your roof, and trim trees and shrubs
  • Stock food, water, and emergency supplies for at least 3 days
  • Sign up for local weather alerts and warnings

"Behind the wheel is the last place you should be when Tropical Storm Elsa hits Florida," said Mark Jenkins, spokesman, AAA – The Auto Club Group. "Driving through severe weather endangers the lives of both you and the first responders who might need to come to your rescue."

"AAA urges Floridians to develop a plan now" Jenkins continued. "If you expect to evacuate, leave early. If you plan to hunker down at home, get the supplies you need now, so you don't need to make a last minute trip in severe weather."

AAA's Tips for Driving on Wet Roads

  • Slow down
  • Increase your following distance
  • Turn your headlights on
  • Turn your hazard lights off
  • Avoid using cruise control
  • Avoid flooded areas
  • If poor visibility, pull over to a safe place and wait for the rain to ease up

Do Not Ignore Evacuation Warnings

More than a quarter of Floridians (29%) would ignore evacuation warnings, according to a recent AAA Survey. Sixty percent of those who would evacuate say they'd only leave if the hurricane was a Category 3 or stronger.

Do Not Hoard Gasoline

AAA discourages drivers from hoarding gasoline ahead of the storm. Instead take only what you need.

"Gasoline outages" are always possible at filling stations when tropical systems are forecast to impact a destination. However, this is not the result of a "fuel shortage". These outages are due to the surge in demand.

Filling stations can only hold so much fuel at a given time. If every driver pulls up to top off a tank and fill an extra gas can, these pumps will quickly run dry.

Despite the storm's trajectory, refineries will continue making fuel and sending it to Florida. That gasoline sails into Florida's ports and is delivered via tanker truck to area gas stations. These deliveries will continue until the weather conditions make it unsafe to do so.

It's Too Late for Flood Insurance

The potential of storm surge and heavy downpours raise concerns of residential flooding. Because of a 30-day waiting period, it is too late to purchase flood insurance for this storm. However, there are a few things residents can do now to protect their property from rising waters.

Tips to prevent flooding at your home:

  • Place plastic sheeting and sand bags at doorway openings
  • Check for and seal openings in roof, windows and doors
  • Clear debris from gutters, drains and downspouts

Plan for Future Storms

"This the first of what could be many storms that target Florida over the next few months" said Jennifer Pintacuda, President of AAA's Florida-based insurance provider, Auto Club Insurance Company of Florida. "Once Elsa passes, we encourage Floridians to talk to an agent about a flood insurance policy, to ensure they're protected for the next major storm."

Top Reasons to Get Flood Insurance after Elsa Passes

  • There's a 30-day waiting period.
  • $69,000 was the average flood claim from 2005-2020.
  • Homeowner's insurance does not normally cover flooding.
  • Every zone is a flood zone; nearly 20% of annual flood claims come from homes in low risk zones.
  • Just one inch of flooding can cause $27,000 in damage to your home.

A 'preferred risk' flood insurance policy can cost around a dollar a day for coverage of $75,000 in structural damage and $30,000 for damage to contents inside the home.
*Coverage is subject to all policy terms, conditions, exclusions and limitations.

Only 13 percent of Florida households have flood insurance, though many more households are at imminent risk of flooding. New research shows more than 100,000 additional Florida properties are at substantial risk of flooding compared to FEMA's flood maps.

"Flooding should be a major concern for Florida residents, whether they live in a high risk flood zone or not," Pintacuda said. "Even low risk zones can flood if a hurricane hovers overhead for several days. It's important to make sure you have a flood insurance policy now, because if you wait until a storm approaches, it will be too late."

About the AAA Consumer Pulse™ Survey

The AAA Consumer Pulse™ Survey was conducted online among residents living in Florida from March 12 - 18, 2021. A total of 400 residents completed the survey. Survey results asked of all respondents have a maximum margin of error of ± 4.9% points. Responses are weighted by age and gender to ensure reliable and accurate representation of the adult population (18+) in Florida.

About AAA - The Auto Club Group

The Auto Club Group (ACG) is the second largest AAA club in North America with more than 14 million members across 14 U.S. states, the province of Quebec and two U.S. territories. ACG and its affiliates provide members with roadside assistance, insurance products, banking and financial services, travel offerings and more. ACG belongs to the national AAA federation with more than 60 million members in the United States and Canada. AAA's mission is to protect and advance freedom of mobility and improve traffic safety. For more information, get the AAA Mobile app, visit AAA.com, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.