UA’s Insurance Research Center Releases New Guide to Help Coastal Communities Prepare for Disasters

The University of Alabama’s Insurance Research Center released a new guide today to help homeowners on the Gulf Coast prepare for weather-related disasters.

“Some 20,000 homes along Alabama’s coastal counties are not insured for wind damage, and thousands more are functionally uninsured,” said Lars Powell, director of the Alabama Center for Insurance Information and Research. “The new Alabama Coastal Insurance Shopper’s Guide will help people better prepare for, and recover from, hurricanes, and potentially save money in the process.”

The guide was produced by the Alabama Center for Insurance Information and Research at The University of Alabama’s Culverhouse College of Commerce in partnership with Smart Home America and Coastal Alabama Partnership.

“Shopping for insurance, like any other product, works best for consumers when they are informed and active in the buying process,” Powell said.

The guide features sections on the process of buying homeowners insurance, elements of coverage, flood insurance and even a Homeowners Comparison Checklist, as well as a “Top 10 Questions” to ask when buying insurance. It is designed to help people better understand homeowners insurance and help ensure they are buying the appropriate coverage.

“Historically, homeowners insurance has been considered hard to understand and buy,” Powell said. “The purpose of this guide is to demystify homeowners insurance and help people buy insurance with the greatest value and the best coverages they can afford.”

Routinely shopping homeowners insurance is a habit that can not only save money, but ensures coverages reflect the current situation of families and of property.

“A smart home begins with informed decisions,” said Julie Shiyou-Woodard, president and CEO of Smart Home America. “Shopping your insurance is so important and this guide provides the information and questions people need to understand their policy, shop around and save money.”

Strong and resilient communities have three key ingredients: effective emergency response procedures that protect people, high-performance construction that preserves property and insurance to pay for the damage. Collaborating to prepare for the worst-case scenarios enhances the ability to recover quickly after a major storm and better protect our homes and communities.

“The shopper’s guide is a prime example of working with our region’s partners for the greater good of coastal Alabama,” said Wiley Blankenship, CEO and president of Coastal Alabama Partnership. “We are proud to partner with Smart Home America and the Alabama Center for Insurance Information and Research on this effort to educate our stakeholders on the importance of understanding and shopping your wind insurance policy.”

The launch of the guide continues the efforts of many who have been promoting hurricane resilience and stronger building methods along the coast, including Smart Home America’s Don’t Goof When You Re-Roof campaign ( and the Alabama Department of Insurance’s Strengthen Alabama Homes program (