Nobody desires to experience disaster, but we usually prepare for it by buying insurance. It is good to have an insurance plan for your property. One such is the well-known homeowner’s insurance. In places like Florida, hurricanes can wreak havoc on homes, and people have to look to their hurricane insurance to cover some repair costs.
However, there are so many blurry areas when it comes to filing hurricane insurance claims. For instance, you may not even know what kind of damage the insurance covers.
But that’s why you’re here. Here are 7 things to know about hurricane insurance.
1. Not all hurricane damage is covered by homeowners insurance
A standard homeowners insurance covers damages caused by most natural disasters, but not all. Generally, damage from wind and water that comes through the roof, windows, doors, or cracks in the walls is covered by homeowners insurance.
But damages caused by storm surge and flooding — when water rises from the ground and overflows into the home — are not covered. More often than not, storms cause flooding as rivers burst and waves surge, so it makes sense to protect your home against the threat. That’s why many look to install Energy-Efficient Doors that not only protect against wind and extreme temperature but also against water.
So if your home is flooded during a hurricane, your homeowners policy will not cover the damage. It becomes important for homeowners in flood-prone areas like Florida to acquire flood insurance in addition to their standard homeowners insurance.
Also, you need to ascertain what your homeowners policy covers so you do not buy another policy already covered.
2. Auto insurance may cover storm damage
Note that your homeowners insurance will not cover damages to your car, whether it’s hit by wind, falling trees, flood, or whatever. Auto insurance is responsible for damages to your car, although it may not cover all kinds of damage.
However, if your car insurance includes comprehensive coverage, it will typically cover a flooded car. The water damage may be irreparable to the point your insurance company will decide to pay the current car value minus the deductible.
If your policy is due for renewal soon, you may wish to research the best car insurance companies for 2022 and see if any of them offer cover for damage caused by extreme weather.
3. Take visual records before repairing anything
Your insurer would want you to execute some repairs even before the adjuster arrives to prevent further damage to the home. If you don’t do that, you might compromise your claim. However, it’s extremely crucial that you take photos of the damage before carrying out any temporary fix. Without that, how do you hope to prove the extent of the original damage when the adjuster arrives? Check out the National Association of Insurance Commissioners for guidance on how to document the damages.
Additionally, keep every receipt for every purchase you made regarding the repair.
4. You may be reimbursed for living expenses
After a hurricane, you may have to live away from your home until the house is repaired. Notably, your living expenses can quickly add up when you’re not in your home.
Most homeowners’ insurance policies cover living expenses incurred when you’re unable to live in your house due to storm damage. Be sure to keep all receipts and bills you incur during this period for reimbursement. Some insurance companies offer debit cards to cover your out-of-home living expenses.
5. You may run into troubles with your insurer
Remember that insurance companies are out for their profit, and paying you the maximum compensation you deserve threatens that. Therefore, your insurer would likely attempt to reimburse you the smallest amount possible.
They may also throw you off balance with frustrating delays and wrong information about what’s covered. In the end, you may be unsure of what you’re entitled to. You may even be ready to accept whatever you’re offered in blissful ignorance. In most cases, it’s wise to have a hurricane insurance claims lawyer on your side to negotiate with your insurer and expedite the process. Having legal backing is in your best interest because insurance companies do not have your best interest at heart as long as they’re not a non-profit organization.
6. Your deductible may be higher than you imagined
You’re expected to pay your deductible before your insurer covers anything. For example, if your deductible is $5,000, you must spend that amount on hurricane damage repair before your insurance company shoulders the remaining cost. These amounts are typically based on a percentage (about 5-10%) of your total coverage rather than a fixed price.
However, most homeowners policies have separate deductibles for wind damage, which translates to higher out-of-pocket costs for you after a hurricane.
It’s in your best interest to calculate your deductible and estimated cost of repairs before taking any steps.
7. Fallen tree damage may be covered by insurance
If a storm pulls down your tree and it destroys your neighbor’s property, they should file a claim with their insurer. You’re not responsible for footing their cost of repair.
When a tree falls but destroys nothing, homeowners insurance usually offers around $500-$1,000 or nothing for cleanup.
It’s evident that you shouldn’t file an insurance claim without first having your estimate. Ensure you know the full extent of the damage, keep receipts of whatever emergency repair you execute, and estimate your deductible before the adjuster arrives to avoid being cheated by your insurer.