By the time a hurricane is headed your way, you should already know about your home insurance coverage. That’s because your insurance company will not let you add insurance once your area issues a hurricane watch or warning. That’s why it is important to make sure you have the right coverage before a storm arrives. Here are five things to understand about hurricanes and home insurance.
Is Hurricane Damage Covered By Home Insurance?
There are a couple different kinds of hurricane damage coverage. Many people in Florida, depending on the area in which they live, need a combination of policies including home, flood, and wind. Otherwise, you will not be fully covered.
Windstorm policies are needed by those living in Florida. This type of coverage will protect you from wind damage and wind-blown water. Those homeowners outside of Florida may need a windstorm policy if they live on the coast or have a named-peril policy that does not list wind.
Will I Need Flood Insurance?
For most homeowners in Florida, flood insurance is a must. Why? Because during a hurricane, you are likely to have water enter your home from the ground. Your home insurance will not pay for water that enters your home due to:
- Storm surge
- Heavy rain that leads to pools of water
- Flooding from a river, creek, or lake swollen with rain
- Water seeping into your home due to ground saturation
Don’t let a flood-damage exclusion surprise you after a hurricane. This type of damage is very expensive to repair. Instead, purchase federal flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
Are Hurricane Deductibles Different From My Normal Deductibles?
Yes, Florida residents have a separate hurricane deductible. This was to help insurance companies limit their losses from hurricane damage. Now, homeowners assume more of the risk with higher deductibles. These deductibles typically cost two to five percent of the value of your home. However, it can be as much as ten percent.
In order for the hurricane deductible to be used for a claim, a “trigger” event must occur. For those in Florida, this is a hurricane watch or warning in your area.
Florida residents only pay this deductible once per policy year. In the event of an active hurricane season, this keeps you from having high deductibles several times in one year.
Can I Evacuate and Still Be Covered?
Whether you ride out the hurricane or evacuate, your insurance coverages apply. However, if you plan to evacuate, do what you can to prep your home for the storm. Also, take your insurance papers, and any other valuable documents, with you. This will make claims easier when you return.
Keep in mind, however, that evacuation expenses are not covered by any insurance policy. If, on the other hand, your home is unlivable when you come back, you may be due additional living expenses for temporary housing and food.
What Do I Do After the Hurricane?
If you’ve evacuated, then you should return home as soon as it is safe to do so. Once home, document the property damage. The best documentation is with video and photos.
Next, you need to do what is necessary to prevent further damage. If you don’t, your insurance company will limit their settlement to damage from the storm and not further damage after the storm.
Be sure to keep good records. If you make temporary repairs, save the receipts. These expenses may be reimbursed by your insurance company.
Finally, consider hiring a public adjuster. Public adjusters, like those at Aftermath Adjusters & Consulting, can help you document and valuate your losses, file the claim, and negotiate your settlement. Aftermath Adjusters have years of experience working with hurricane home insurance claims. Call us today.