With hurricane season in full swing (running from June 1st through November 1st), it's important to go through some of the prep items that you may not be thinking of. Yes, it's important to stock up on the essential survival type items like food, batteries and flashlights. But here are things to think about prior to a hurricane developing to ensure that you are fully prepared:
Know your deductibles and how they work.
Hurricane deductibles are separate from All Other Perils (AOP) deductibles.
Hurricane deductibles are typically, a percentage of Coverage A (Dwelling) on homeowners and condo policies (In some rare cases with certain carriers, the hurricane deductible for a condo policy is calculated based on the Coverage C (Personal Property).
For Example: A typical 2% deductible can end up being quite high on a home with, say, $600,000 of dwelling coverage. At that coverage level, the insured would be responsible for the first $12,000 in a claim before the insurer would pay anything out.
Carriers are now offering more flexible hurricane deductible plans.
For Example: Flat deductibles as low as $500 are being offered, while staying competitive in premium pricing.
You can only change your hurricane deductible at renewal and never mid-term and it covers you for a calendar year versus per each occurrence.
For Example: if you file a storm claim in June and have a separate claim in November of the same year, you would not be subject to paying that deductible a second time in November.
Document your home and personal belongings.
Take photos and videos of the interior and exterior or your home and personal belongings before a storm approaches.
If you have to report a claim, take the "After" photos and videos to show a comparison in order to speed up the claims process.
Know your coverages.
Flood insurance is NOT included in your homeowners insurance policy.
If you're looking to add flood insurance to your policy, there is usually a wait period and can be up to 30 days.
You may not be able to make changes to your current policy once storm is approaching. Companies will start putting restrictions on writing new business or making changes to current policies once a storm is named and can potently completely shut down the market as the storm develops.
Know your after in the event of a claim.
Often times, insurance companies want to speak to the insured directly to bet a better picture of the extent of the damage.
You will usually need your policy number and company claims number. Your agent should be able to provide these for you.
Your biggest mistake as a homeowner during hurricane season is WAITING. Do not wait until a storm is coming to make changes, add coverage or even to know what you have. As always if you have any questions regarding your specific policy, reach out to your insurance advisor to help guide you.