With hurricane season in full swing and in the wake of Hurricane Matthew’s destruction on the East Coast it’s a smart idea to be aware of your home insurance coverage. If you live in a coastal area and you’re not covered by hurricane insurance here is what you need to know.
Know Your Coverage
Your standard homeowners insurance policy will not cover flood or extensive wind damage. You will need to speak with you insurance agent to find out how you will be assisted in the case of a hurricane.
Typically it takes 30 days for these extra insurance policies to take effect. Take care of this immediately so your coverage kicks in and can take effect as soon as possible. Don’t wait until a hurricane strikes!
Hurricane Insurance vs. Homeowners Insurance
A basic homeowners insurance policy will protect you for damage to your home itself including the contents. When a disaster effects your home you will pay a deductible to your insurer. The deductible is what you will pay out of pocket before your insurance company will cover the rest or a portion of the damage.
Typical home insurance is usually a flat fee that is paid annually where as hurricane insurance is a percentage of your homes value. This percentage can be higher in states that are more prone to hurricanes. The hurricane deductibles are generally 1-5% of the cost of your home. At the high end if your home is valued at $300,000 and your deductible is 5% you would pay $15,000. This is a large fee but considering the cost of a rebuild this can save you from bankruptcy.
In order to reap the benefits of hurricane insurance the storm must be a named hurricane. The discrepancy of 2012’s Superstorm Sandy’s wind speeds at landfall led to much controversy between clients and insurance companies.
Purchasing a separate windstorm or flood insurance policy is required in some states. This is because excessive wind and flood damage is not usually covered by your homeowners insurance. Flood insurance will save you in the case of a storm surge. If water levels rise and your home sustains extensive water damage this can cost you thousands. Even worse you could lose your home.
Do your research, ask questions and be diligent. Your home is your most expensive purchase so keep your biggest investment safe.
Take Stock Of Your Valuables
Take the extra precautions necessary to ensure your claim is covered and record your inventory. Document a video of the important valuables you have in your home. Alternatively you can take photos and stock pile your receipts. Back up these items and keep them somewhere with easy access. This will make any claims you have to prepare a lot quicker. Ask your insurer questions and be aware of what is covered on your plan.
Are You Eligible?
There are many factors that come into play before your insurance company will compensate you for loss or damage from a hurricane. The storm must be a named hurricane and wind speeds must exceed 74 mph before insurers will evaluate your claim.
How To Reduce Your Insurance Costs:
- Braces for garage doors
- Wind-resistant roofing
- Anchors and hurricane straps
- Storm resistant shutters
- Additional water protection
Need to find out if you should have additional hurricane coverage? Here are the nineteen states that are applicable.