Hurricane Hermine: Insurance Tips for Homeowners and RentersSeptember 12, 2016
Do you own or rent a home in Florida or another hurricane-prone area? Do you know the ins and outs of your homeowner’s insurance policy?
If you’re a homeowner or renter in FL, Hurricane Hermine has likely wreaked havoc on your peace of mind these past few weeks, and perhaps wreaked physical havoc on your home as well. Sustaining hurricane damage depends on careful planning before disaster hits. As we navigate through the peak hurricane season (running from mid-August to late October), you’ll want to pay attention to how you can ensure that you are effectively covered against potential hurricane damage.
Home insurance policy
Most homeowners have a standard homeowner’s insurance policy. This policy likely includes a wide variety of protections, but hurricanes might only be partially covered.
Some tips on choosing homeowner’s insurance if you’re new to it...
- Make sure you have enough “dwelling coverage” to entirely rebuild your home in the unfortunate event that it is demolished by a disaster. The cost to rebuild your home, keep in mind, will not be the same as the original purchase price of the home.
- Use a home insurance calculator to help estimate the replacement value of your home and then compare it to the amount of coverage on the policy you’re interested in.
- If the home in question is an apartment, your building is probably covered under the landlord’s policy, so no need to worry about finding coverage yourself—only if you’d like protection for what’s inside the apartment of course.
- Covered perils include wind, lightning and hail destruction, which all typically occur during hurricanes.
So....what about water damage? Well, most home insurance policies include coverage for some water damage, but flooding is a different, more complicated story. Because flooding is common with hurricanes, this is a hurdle for many homeowners and renters. Even a few inches of flood water can cause tens of thousands of dollars in damage, according to the National Flood Insurance Program (program under the Federal Emergency Management Agency- FEMA). You can purchase flood insurance right through the NFIP to avoid this problem.
Once your home sustains damages from wind, water, etc. you must file a claim, but first it is important to find out if your coverage provides a special deductible for hurricanes. Hurricane and wind deductibles are calculated according to the value of your home. Say your home’s value is $250,000 and the hurricane deductible is set at 2% (depends on the state you live in and your insurance provider). That means that before the insurance would kick in, you would have to pay $5,000 out of pocket.
Don’t wait until it’s too late and you’re without insurance in the wake of a terrible hurricane. If you do have insurance already—call your provider today to know the ins and outs and especially the limits of your policy.