Hurricane insurance is the proactive way to deal with property damage that is caused by high winds, heavy rains and floods. Every fall, the east coast is inundated with hurricanes, and property damages cost millions of dollars. Finding the right insurance policy protects homeowners and ensures that they are covered when damages occur.
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Many homeowners buy hurricane insurance only to be disappointed when a storm hits. Multiple policies are in existence, and there are a few things to consider. Hurricanes are responsible for two major types of property damage. Winds are one type of damage. High winds can blow off siding and shingles, break glass and blow down trees. Most homeowners and hurricane insurance policies cover wind damage.
However, it is essential to find a provider that offers coverage for floods too.
During the worst storms, coastal areas are often flooded. The ocean rises several feet during a hurricane, and this can easily damage beachfront homes. Not all policies cover water damage, and choosing hurricane insurance with flood protection is essential.
Property Damages, Claims and Premiums
Homeowners can rely on a comprehensive policy to protect their property in several eventualities. Fires, vandalism and debris removal are all covered in most hurricane insurance plans. Many people also have to rely on Additional Living Expenses (ALE) after a storm. ALE provides the money required for lodging in a local hotel or motel. During evacuations, ALE is a valuable policy inclusion. The office of the Texas Security General offers hurricane preparedness tips and definitions for insurance lingo on its website.
Insurance adjusters are the professionals in charge of analyzing damage and making payments. Experts can usually determine the minor differences that are associated with a flood or hurricane. Because floods are not covered in all policies, adjusters have to determine the cause of damage in each instance.
Homeowners can challenge an adjuster’s decision. If a homeowner thinks the adjuster is wrong, they can contact the state insurance department. State insurance departments are responsible for ensuring that companies work within the laws. If this does not work, homeowners can take their insurance company to court with the aid of a lawyer.
Hurricane insurance premiums are based on several different factors. The deductible is one thing that will affect monthly bills, and most providers have policies that range from one to three percent. This is the amount of money that homeowners have to pay out of their pocket to make repairs. Higher deductibles lead to lower monthly premiums, and lower deductibles are better when minor repairs are needed.
Before deciding to go purchase a hurricane insurance policy, it is essential to know which areas are most likely to be hit by storms.
Flood zones also play a role in hurricane insurance premiums, and homes within these boundaries may be subject to severe damages when local waters rise.
Here are the ten most vulnerable areas in the United States.
- New Orleans
- Florida’s Lake Okeechobee
- Florida Keys
- Mississippi Coast
- Florida- Miami and Ft. Lauderdale
- Texas- Galveston and Houston in Texas
- North Carolina at Cape Hatteras
- New York- Long Island
- North Carolina- Wilmington
- Florida- Tampa Bay and St. Petersburg
Hurricane Insurance and Boat Owners
Boat owners should seriously consider the benefits of adding hurricane insurance to their policy. Depending on the particular coverage in place, boat owners may not be protected with their current insurance company. Boat owners in hurricane zones may be subject to steep rates, and policies are often 25% higher in the worst zones.
Precautions may also be required by the insurance company, and owners should check to see what their policy calls for. Common precautions include removing the boat from the water before a storm hits.
Shopping Around for Great Rates
The insurance industry is known for its steep competition. Many providers offer policies, and consumers can save quite a bit when they shop around. In the past, many people got frustrated with the amount of time that comparison shopping required. It was often worth paying a few extra dollars to save valuable time.
The Internet makes comparison shopping easy, and search sites remove the hassle from finding multiple quotes.
Savings can be as high as 20%, and there are some tips that can be used by homeowners to save on hurricane insurance.
Bundling Policies and Getting Free Quotes
Most insurance companies are full-service providers and work to meet all of their clients’ needs. They have hurricane insurance and a number of other policies. Most offer homeowners, renters, health and car insurance in addition to hurricane coverage. Bundling policies usually allows consumers a chance to get a good discount. Some firms offer savings that are as much as 15%, but it is essential to shop around to find the best policy at the right price.
Getting at least three quotes on hurricane insurance policies is recommended. This allows homeowners a chance to see what the market offers. Large variations in the industry can save consumers money. Most firms offer free quotes, and the Internet allows shoppers to get several different quotes in a matter of minutes.
Flood Insurance Damages
Homeowners can choose from two different kinds of flood insurance. Buildings and the structural components are one main type of item that is damaged during a flood. Flood insurance protects a home’s exterior and foundation.
Indoor items are also protected, and insurance companies will pay for damages to fixed property like carpet, wall paneling and air conditioners. Structural insurance policies vary according to the size and value of a particular home.
Flood insurance can also cover portable items that are found in the home. Many items are regarded by insurance companies as personal property. The distinguishing feature of these goods is that they are portable. Art, electronics and jewelry are considered personal property by most insurance companies and can usually be insured for up to $100,000.
Waiting is one of the requirements for homeowners to get hurricane insurance.
Most firms make new clients wait at least 30 days before their policy is in effect. For this reason, it is advisable to shop for providers well before hurricane season comes around.
Fallen Trees and Damaged Cars
According to the Insurance Information Institute, hurricane insurance may cover damages associated with downed trees. There are exceptions, but if a tree falls into a structure during a storm, the provider will usually pick up the charges. Trees that fall into the yard and make a mess are not covered.
Most tree removal firms charge a premium for their services, and homeowners may opt in for policies that protect them from landscape damages. Most cars are covered by a vehicle insurance policy. Comprehensive coverage will pay for damages that are caused by falling trees or flying debris that occur during a hurricane. However, vehicle owners will still be responsible for their deductibles.
Shopping around for hurricane insurance is the proactive way for homeowners to save money and protect their property. Homeowners insurance may not cover floods and water damage, so opting for additional coverage is imperative for residents in hurricane zones. Because there are so many insurance companies, consumers can realize tremendous discounts when they get more than three quotes.
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