FORT MYERS, Fla. — Southwest Florida is in the middle of hurricane season and if you're new to the area, this is a reminder to have a foolproof plan in the event of an emergency.
This week marks the three year anniversary of a storm that left behind costly damage and lifelong lessons for homeowners.
According to the Office of Insurance Regulation, more than one million claims were filed across Florida in the wake of Hurricane Irma. The estimated cost of insured losses are at more than 17 billion dollars.
They say most of those claims were filed in Lee, Collier, and Miami-Dade counties.
Property Damage Appraisers in Bonita Springs recalls the panic of Irma's wind and flood waters.
“The main thing is to take it seriously. A lot of people don’t. They’ll stay at home and they’re unprotected. They don’t have a plan. You’re taking your life in your hands," said Brian Davie, with PDA.
He suggests an emergency plan for this hurricane season, such as securing your property and boarding up windows.
Davie says to pack a checklist to quickly evacuate with important documents and policy numbers.
Florida's Office of Insurance Regulations offers an online checklist you can find by clicking here. They encourage people to record a detailed inventory of items in your home to help file claims in the event of a natural disaster.
FOIR also recommend separate flood insurance, which they say is the most common and costly natural disaster.
PDA says Floridians have a deadline of Sep. 10 to file a claim for Hurricane Irma.
For more information on PDA services, click here.
For more information on Florida's Office of Insurance Regulations, click here.