The 2021 Atlantic hurricane season is right around the corner, taking place June 1 through November 30. For the last seven years including this one, there has been a named storm ahead of the official season, according to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA). In fact, Tropical Storm Andres has already formed in the Eastern Pacific Ocean to become the earliest named storm on record in that basin. In response to these historic changes, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) will begin issuing its weather outlooks for the Atlantic Basin starting May 15, instead of June 1. The earlier reporting will aid in tracking the progress of storm activity that develops ahead of the expected season, which will help in necessary advance preparation.
With this new development, it’s more important than ever to make sure your assets are protected in the event of a storm event or hurricane. Many consumers delay purchasing or updating their hurricane coverage until a storm already is approaching. However, the majority of insurance companies will not issue coverage or allow changes to coverage when a storm has been named by the NHC or one is on track for a certain region. So, now is the time to take appropriate actions to protect your property and belongings from potential damage.
Check the Details of Your Insurance Policy
In addition to the coverage in a standard homeowners policy, there are other coverages you may want to consider to shore up any gaps.
Windstorm Coverage. If you live in an area that typically experiences high-wind events, you may want to consider adding windstorm coverage. Like hurricane coverage, most policies will have a percentage deductible. Windstorm coverage applies whenever damage is caused by wind and covers some events that hurricane coverage does not. Other perils such as flooding and fire are not covered under this type of policy.
Flood Insurance. It’s a common misconception that flood damage is included in homeowners insurance policies, but that is not the case. Damage resulting from stormwater, an overflowing body of water, or other similar events typically are not covered. FEMA estimates that just one inch of floodwater can cause up to $25,000 in damages, so a flood insurance policy is an important protection for homeowners. If you live in a high-risk area for flooding, you may be required to have flood insurance. If not, it still may be a prudent consideration for your home or property. Keep in mind that flood insurance policies take 30 days from your application date to activate, so purchasing this option in advance of the pending storm season is crucial.
Comprehensive & Collision Auto Coverage. If you’ve purchased an auto collision, you are protected from damage to your vehicle if you have a collision with another vehicle, person, or object, whether you or someone else is at fault. That includes flash flooding, falling trees, or other damages caused by a storm. For damage not caused by a collision, comprehensive coverage provides protection for hurricane-related events, storms, and other weather-related conditions.
Know Your Hurricane Deductible & Other Costs
In most high-risk states, homeowners insurance policies contain a percentage deductible for hurricane coverage, which typically averages between 1% and 5% of the home’s insured value. For example, if your home is worth $300,000 and you have a 5% hurricane deductible, you’re responsible for paying the first $15,000 in damages before coverage kicks in. If you’re unaware of what your hurricane deductible is, make sure you check your policy or contact your insurance advisor to be properly prepared for the season ahead.
Review your policy limits and consider whether you might need additional insurance. For example, does it cover the cost to rebuild your home? Does your policy include additional living expenses (ALE), and if so, for what period of time?
If the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is activated for a specific region as a result of catastrophic storm damage, funding could be issued for damage claims provided they fit within the requirements. However, it’s not guaranteed, and funds likely would not be available immediately after a hurricane hits and you need them most.
Update Your Policy to Reflect Your Insurance Needs
To safeguard your belongings ahead of an unpredictable hurricane season, review your current insurance policies and get with your insurance advisor to ensure you’re properly protected and prepared for whatever may come your way this season. Request a quote online or speak to an IOA advisor today by calling at 1.833.546.2872.
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