Hurricane season runs from June 1st to November 30th and 2017 is expected to have a busier season than before. According to the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) eleven to seventeen storms (including April’s Tropical Storm Arlene) are predicted for this year’s hurricane season; 5 to 9 of which will escalate into hurricanes and two to four of those would become major hurricanes (Category 3 or higher).
With the worst of the hurricane season yet to pass, it is important to make sure that you have the right amount of insurance to protect you and your home. Here are six questions to ask your Magruder insurance agent.
- Do I have hurricane coverage with my homeowner’s policy?
Check your homeowner’s policy or ask your agent what coverage is included in your homeowner’s policy, especially regarding damage caused by a hurricane. It is common for the hurricane provision of your homeowner’s policy to have a separate deductible at different terms (percentage vs dollar amount) than the rest of your policy. It is also important to note that damaged caused by water, such as the copious amounts of rain that follows a hurricane, is covered under flood insurance rather than homeowner’s insurance.
- Do I have flood insurance?
Depending on where you live will likely determine if you have flood insurance or not. In the State of Florida, flood insurance is required if you live in an area deemed to be high-risk for flooding. If you live in an area that is considered to be a low to moderate-risk for flooding, flood insurance is not a requirement but is highly recommended because these areas take up about a quarter of all flood insurance claims. Two types of flood insurance is available – coverage for buildings (e.g. damage to your home) and coverage for personal property (damage to your personal belongings).
- How much does flood insurance cost?
Like all insurance, flood insurance will vary based on your coverage level and other factors, such as the risk level your property has for flooding. Areas considered a high-risk (such as coastal areas) will have higher rates than those with a moderate- or low-level risk for flooding.
- What isn’t covered under flood insurance?
There are a few things and scenarios that flood insurance does not cover. Items of high value or actual cash that is lost during a flood are not covered under flood insurance. Damage to your dock, deck, pool, fence, shed, or other damage to your yard is not covered under flood insurance. If you have to stay in a hotel or rent another place while repairs are made to your home, the cost of alternate living arrangements are not covered under flood insurance. For a complete list of what is and is not covered under flood insurance, check with your Magruder agent.
- What happens if I am not insured?
If you are not insured and a hurricane hits harder than you expected, causing moderate to sever damage, you may be left on the hook for the repairs to your property and replacing lost or damaged property. There are some ways you may get assistance – if there was a declared “State of Emergency” you may receive a grant or subsidy from the government. The Small Business Association offers federal subsidize loans which can cost more in the long run than insurance premiums.
- Am I covered instantly if I elect flood insurance coverage?
Typically, most companies have a 30 day wait period before coverage goes into effect. Don’t wait until there is a threat of a storm before considering protecting your home with flood insurance.