Don’t wait for storm damage to happen before taking an up-close and personal look at storm insurance coverage. Before issues resulting from being uninsured or underinsured drain your bank account and your emotions, take a proactive approach to your storm insurance coverage for a faster, easier recovery in the event of storm damage.
Does your policy need updating? Key questions to cover with your agent:
- Do I need flood insurance?
According to the FEMA, water damage from floods is one of the most common and costly hazards in the U.S. Ninety percent of damage related to natural disasters is caused by floods. Everyone is at some risk. Unfortunately, not all insurance companies and policies cover damage from flooding, and coverage typically has a 30 day waiting period before kicking in. If your current policy holder does not offer coverage, visit floodsmart.gov to find an agent near you.
- Do I have enough coverage?
If you haven’t reviewed policy limits in a few years, you may be underinsured. Regular calls to your agent will help you remember recent improvements, such as add-ons, updates, safety, and structural improvements that could earn discounts and effect reimbursement. Making a regular video or photographic inventory that’s stored off-site or online is also recommended to record the condition of your possessions for insurance reimbursement in the event of loss.
- Should I reconsider my deductible amount?
Discuss with your agent the benefits and drawbacks of raising or lowering your deductible. Since claims happen every 8-10 years on average, there may be significant savings in raising your deductible.
- Can I get rid of the hurricane deductible?
Hurricane damage may have a different deductible than other covered losses. Laws vary by state on what triggers the need for a hurricane deductible. You may also have separate deductibles for wind, hail, or earthquake damage. Find out if you are responsible for a percentage of the loss (it’s based on replacement cost), which could range from 1-5 percent of your home’s insured value. If you live in an area where deductibles are not mandatory, you may be able to pay a higher premium in exchange for reducing or losing the hurricane deductible. You will only be able to make changes once a year, however, so keep this in mind.
- Can I prepare a claim ahead of time?
Disaster prep means more than just gathering medical supplies, food, water, and essentials. Your disaster plan should also include contacting your agent before a storm to verify contact information and any information you’ll need in the event of a claim. This will make your post-storm recovery process faster and easier.
- Does my policy cover full replacement cost?
Most policies do not cover “true” replacement costs and involve a cap on your home’s structure and contents. You may want to consider adding “guaranteed replacement cost.” Otherwise you may only get a few hundred dollars for aged electronics and other items around your home that could cost you thousands to replace. You should also make certain your policy covers increases in material costs due to shortages/demand in your area following storm damage. Drywall, wood, and other structural materials often spike in price during recovery. Some policies will pay up to 125 percent of a home’s insured value to compensate for this – make sure your home is one of them.
Additional things that may affect covered expenses:
- Loss of use coverage
If your home is no longer fit to live in and the loss was covered under your policy, you may be entitled to additional funds to maintain your normal living standards.
- Debris removal
Most policies have some coverage for debris clean up, however most do not cover the cleanup of damage due to trees or landscaping.
- Sewer backup coverage
Make sure this backup coverage is included in your policy, otherwise losses resulting from sewer lines backing up into your home’s drain pipes may not be covered.
Blown over by storm insurance issues? Rainbow International® is here to be your calm before and after the storm with water mitigation. Call us and we can help you determine if your damage is covered by insurance or if you have any questions.