The 2023 Atlantic hurricane season takes place from June 1 through November 30. With an increase in storms and damages from year to year, it’s more important than ever to make sure your assets are protected in the event of a natural disaster.
Many property owners delay purchasing or updating their insurance coverage until a storm is approaching. However, the majority of insurance companies will impose a moratorium on issuing new policies or making changes to existing policies when a named storm is projected to impact a region where it provides coverage. 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 provided in a standard homeowners policy, it is important to consider other coverages that essentially amount to hurricane insurance. A combination of these policies can close up any gaps in the protection of your property.
Windstorm Coverage. If you live in an area that experiences high-wind events, you may want to consider adding windstorm coverage. Most policies will have a percentage deductible, and coverage applies whenever damage is caused by wind. It raises coverage limits and typically goes into effect after 15 days. 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 coverage 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. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) estimates that just one inch of floodwater can cause up to $25,000 in damage, 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 go into effect after 30 days, so purchasing this option well in advance of a natural disaster or storm event is crucial.
Comprehensive & Collision Auto Coverage. If you’ve purchased an auto collision policy, you are protected from damage to your vehicle in the event it collides 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 damage from hurricanes, fire, flood, and other acts of nature. Coverage typically goes into effect upon receipt of payment.
Know Your Hurricane Deductible & Other Costs
In most high-risk states, homeowners insurance policies contain a percentage deductible for hurricane coverage, which typically falls 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 goes into effect. 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.
Review your policy limits and consider whether you might need additional insurance. Ask questions such as: Does my policy cover the cost to rebuild your home? Does it include additional living expenses (ALE), and if so, for what period of time?
If a disaster is declared for a specific region as a result of catastrophic damage, funding could be issued through FEMA for claims provided they fit within its requirements. However, funds are not guaranteed and likely would not be available immediately when you need them most.
Update Your Policy to Reflect Your Needs
To safeguard your belongings ahead of an unpredictable hurricane season, review your current policies and get with your insurance advisor to ensure you’re properly protected and prepared for whatever may come your way this season.
If you would like to find out more, request a quote online or speak to an IOA advisor today by calling (833) 546.2872. Be sure to follow Insurance Office of America on social media as well to stay up to date on all hurricane-related insurance topics.