Are You Prepared for When the Next Big Storm Strikes?

August 01, 2019

In the midst of hurricane season with category storms making headlines it is a common time to stop and ask yourself “Is my home protected if a hurricane strikes?”

Hurricanes bring several challenges for a homeowner, condo owner or renter and it is important to know ahead of time whether your insurance policy adequately protects you.

Before a Hurricane Strikes

  • Check your policy – It may have been a while since you last checked your policy so be sure to review it. Your policy may include hurricane coverage, however, you want to be sure it is enough to cover the cost to rebuild your home, especially if you live in a high hurricane-prone area.
  • Know what is excluded – Your policy may outline specific coverage exclusions so it is important to know if your current policy is lacking protection. If it is, you can speak with a Brooks, Todd & McNeil agent about adding additional coverage to your policy (see section below for some important options to consider). Coverage must be added to your policy before there is a hurricane warning in your area. Adding coverage is prohibited after a warning has been declared.
  • Inventory your possessions – It tends to be the last thing we think of until we need to file a claim, but taking a full inventory of your possessions and valuables now can save you a lot of time and headache in the aftermath of a storm. Write down what you own along with its value and document it with photos. You will easily be able to identify for your insurance provider what is missing or damaged should disaster strike.

Consider Additional Policies

As noted above, your policy may have certain exclusions and you will want to know ahead of time whether a major storm like a hurricane will leave you with uncovered damages.

Flood Insurance

Standard homeowners policies generally cover wind damage, however, flood damage is usually not included. Since 90 percent of all-natural disasters – especially hurricanes – include some form of flooding, being without coverage is a risky proposition for any homeowner.

Many flood insurance policies are administered through the federal government’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).  If you live in a flood zone and have a mortgage, your mortgage will require you to purchase a flood insurance policy.  Even if you do not live in a designated flood area, flood insurance is a worthy and usually low-cost investment.

Sewer Backup Insurance 

Another common exclusion from a standard homeowners policy is sewer backup. There is also a common misconception that a flood insurance policy covers sewer backup, but that is not the case.  Since a homeowner is responsible for the maintenance and repair of the pipeline from their house to the city sewer main, a separate endorsement for sewer backup is recommended, especially in high hurricane-prone areas.

Additional Living Expenses 

If your home is rendered uninhabitable in the aftermath of a major storm, Additional Living Expenses (ALE) coverage lessens the financial burden of your time away from home. ALE usually covers the cost of your hotels, restaurant meals and other expenses you incur while your home is being repaired. Check the details of your coverage as ALE reimbursements may be limited to a specified amount of time. Depending on where you live you may want to discuss higher coverage limits with your agent.

Be sure to speak with a Brooks, Todd & McNeil agent if you have any questions about your current coverage or making necessary adjustments. It is never too late to review your policy and make sure your home is protected before the next storm strikes.