Homeowners’ Insurance Review
Hurricane season has just begun and will last until the end of November; it is important for homeowners to have an awareness of what their insurance policy covers and what their hurricane deductible is.
This is particularly true for first time home buyers or for homeowners that have relocated to coastal states from non-coastal regions and have not had hurricane coverage in the past. The hurricane deductible will determine the amount of money you must pay out-of-pocket before your coverage kicks in if there is damage to your residence due to a hurricane. Hurricane deductibles are clearly listed in your policy.
Hurricane deductibles are triggered only when certain criteria are met. The hurricane deductible triggers vary by state and insurer and usually apply when the National Weather Service officially names a tropical storm, declares a hurricane watch or warning, or defines a hurricane’s intensity. Due to these differences, homeowners should check their policies and speak to their agent or insurance company representative to learn exactly how their coverage works.
For more information on hurricane insurance, please visit the Hurricane Insurance Information Center at http://www.iii.org/
Once a hurricane is in the area, the insurance companies will not write, bind or increase coverage. Therefore, it is critical that you review the values of your home, personal property (contents) and/or your office building and contents to make sure you have adequate coverage.
Remember most homeowner’s insurance policies require that you insure your home for the value of its replacement cost. Make certain that you would be able to rebuild your home or building at today’s construction costs for the amount it is currently insured for.
Also be advised that no homeowner or hazard policy provides coverage for flood damage. You need to purchase a flood insurance policy separately and it usually takes at least 30 days to bind. What your policy should cover is “wind driven rain” providing you first suffer physical damage to your home or building.
All basic homeowners policies have very limited coverage for jewelry, fine arts, guns, coins, currency and other collectibles and there is no coverage for these items under a standard windstorm or flood policy. Therefore, if you have such items, you should contact your insurance agent and ask about a special All Risk Valuable Items Policy.