What would it cost to retreat from Tampa to Orlando as Hurricane Ian appraoches?

Hurricane Ian is forecast to destroy Tampa, Florida beginning tomorrow. “Hurricane Ian strengthens to Category 2 storm and could be ‘something that we haven’t seen in our lifetime,’ Tampa forecaster says” (CNN). “Hurricane Ian Targets Florida, Threatens Tampa Bay With First Direct Hit in a Century (WSJ).

To figure out how bad a risk is, I like to look at the insurance cost of protecting against the risk. In our area of the Florida Free State, annual insurance against a house being destroyed for all reasons, including hurricanes, is about 0.2% of the value of the house. In other words, if we discount the risk of fire to 0%, destruction by a hurricane is not expected more than once every 500 years.

Orlando is far enough inland that it is never seriously hammered by hurricanes, which require warm ocean water as fuel. Orlando is also 100′ above sea level, so it benefits from Obama having turned back the rising seas. The best insurance against personal risk from Hurricane Ian is a retreat to Orlando. I searched today on Orbitz, just 24 hours before Tampageddon begins in earnest, and found that a family can move into an Orlando condo or hotel room from tonight through September 30 for $100-200 per night.

What if a golden retriever intent on providing very late term abortion care to squirrels and rabbits in her jaw-shaped reproductive health care clinic needs to be included in the evacuation? Hyatt Regency time!

Prices were similar in the Miami area, expected to be almost entirely spared from this storm’s wrath.

What will you do in Orlando? It’s business as usual at Disney World, except for a couple of mini golf courses that are closed and the fake typhoon is replaced by a real typhoon:

The crowds should be thin and you can let me know if Disney has adopted my suggestion for delivering on its expressed corporate passion: Should Disney World offer a ride educating kindergartners on sexual orientation and gender identity?

Sometimes freedom-loving Californians and New Yorkers say that hurricane risk is holding them back from moving to coastal Florida. But it seems that setting aside $100 per year would be sufficient to avoid all personal risk (retreat to Orlando every 5-10 years). And, of course, one could always move to central Florida! Right next to Bok Tower Gardens would be my choice, which also happens to be convenient to Legoland.

Homeowners insurance in Florida is substantially more expensive than in other states, but it seems that lawyers are more aggressive than hurricanes. “Florida homeowners pay nearly 3x national average for homeowners insurance” (ABC):

The latest analysis from the Insurance Information Institute found Florida homeowners are paying an average premium of $4,231 for insurance, compared to the U.S. average of $1,544.

Florida as a whole had about 100,000 lawsuits against insurance companies last year, while other states combined had about 20,000. Insurance company CEOs have said these lawsuits are why so many companies are going bankrupt, raising premiums, and canceling coverage — sending more and more residents to Citizens.

There might be a minor issue with the above numbers, incidentally, because the average price of a house in Florida might not be the same as the average price of a house nationwide and the average in Florida is surely not the median due to all of the rich bastards in $20-100 million beach houses (not that I am envious).


13 thoughts on “What would it cost to retreat from Tampa to Orlando as Hurricane Ian appraoches?

  1. It’s amusing to watch the media’s approach to the hurricane and Ron DeSantis. They pretty much have to put him on TV, discussing plans to evacuate, etc. But the contrast with this young, vibrant, competent governor speaking extemporaneously versus the decrepit old fossil in Washington squinting his eyes to read what somebody else put on the teleprompter must be driving them nuts.

  2. I cannot understand why allegedly intelligent (and some definitely unintelligent and/or ignorant) people hate Ron DeSantis as a proxy for Florida: the inexpensive motels/hotels are cheaper than they are in my Deplorable Zone of MA, the more upscale hotel/resorts are not exorbitant, and it seems like everybody (except, I guess for NASA) gets things done and the place works pretty well. This without most of the virtue signaling and psychological baggage. I honestly wish I could move there, and it’s not hard to see why so many people have, despite all the seasonal tourists, transients and so forth.

    Even the SpaceX launches from Florida make Massachusetts just a little bit more interesting.


    I’m praying for everyone in the path of the hurricane, of course, but if there was any place I’d want to be in a hurricane, it’s actually Florida! People there understand better than most how to prepare for them and cope. My goodness you get one hurricane that hits New Jersey and people can’t get over it for a decade. There are still people crying in their beer over Hurricane Sandy.

  3. Just at a glance and with a sixth-grade math/science STEAM education, the color scheme of that map makes it appear that the coastal areas are actually a tall barrier of sorts, and the more inland parts of the entire country – are even lower elevation.

    The legend goes from RED as the highest —–> MEDIUM GREY “pepper” representing the costal areas, and then the entire inland area is DARK GREY, which apparently is so low it doesn’t even appear on the scale, and is just a little lighter than the nearly black ocean and lakes.

    So as I read the map, the entire inland portion of the United States is at risk of drowning in the “bowl” represented by the relatively higher ground of the extreme coastal areas. Am I wrong?

  4. “In our area of the Florida Free State, annual insurance against a house being destroyed for all reasons, including hurricanes, is about 0.2% of the value of the house.”

    Property insurance for my four properties on the east coast of FL, a bit north of WPB, each run exactly 0.5% of the market value of the house.

    “one could always move to central Florida!”

    I’m fond of Gainesville, and haven’t ruled our eventually retiring there. As I get older, I find the beach less and less desirable.

    • ^ “each run exactly 0.5% of the market value of the house”

      Not that I pay that; I self-insure two properties, and have dropped windstorm/hurricane insurance on two others.

    • DP: You have commercial insurance for rental properties? If so, that 0.5% figure also includes insurance for lot of liability risk. If these are straight personal policies, they include a fair amount of liability and also protection against having stuff stolen from inside the house. I don’t think you can consider the full 0.5% as destruction-of-structure insurance.

    • @philg: Not rentals. Family members living in them. But, yes, right, the liability cost would be a part of that 0.5%.

  5. I cursed the insurance companies every time I wrote a premium check but my insurer stepped up and paid the face value (waived deductible!) when it became obvious our repair cost was going to exceed. The company avoided about half the temporary lodging benefit so it was not all altruism.

  6. Ron DeSantis is a very capable guy, but a lot of his talent is directed toward the baser elements of elected life. I would hate to think my cushy future depended on faithfully impersonating a weirdo like The45Guy.
    Yeah, I know the Dems can’t get out of their own way either, but too many Republicans are either crazy or so cynical they have lost their way (see McConnell, Mitch). Our government is not set up for this 50/50 arm wrestling, and I think it could implode if stressed enough.

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