As Floridians, we are well aware of the impact that hurricanes and tropical storms can have on us. Experts say that planning ahead is the best way to financially weather a storm. The most important step in the planning process is to review your existing insurance coverage. With hurricane season well under way, here are some of the important items to review:
- Make sure you are protected with flood insurance. While the high winds associated with these storms can cause a lot of damage, you should also be aware that flooding causes significant damage as well. Hurricanes Sandy and Katrina, and Tropical Storm Frances are good examples of this. Standard homeowners policies do not cover damage from flooding. Financial protection from flooding is only available as a separate stand alone policy. It is important to know that there is a 30 day waiting period before a flood policy takes effect, so if you are considering this coverage, you should not delay. Up to 20% of flood damage occurs in low to moderate risk flood areas, so no matter where you live, it is a good idea to consider flood insurance.
- Make sure your homeowners policy includes wind storm coverage. While wind storm coverage is included in many homeowners policies, sometimes it is excluded for various reasons. You may have chosen to have it excluded yourself or your insurance company may have chosen to remove it at renewal (this is not common, but has happened before). Historically, properties in the "wind pool" (the area designated as being within 1,000 feet of the coast) have been most affected by this. The bottom line is that it is always a good idea to double check your policy to make sure wind storm coverage is included.
- Find out if your policy covers you for Replacement Cost or Actual Cash Value for losses. Replacement Cost covers you for new items, while Actual Cash Value covers you for items at their depreciated cost.
- Ensure that your home and all items inside the home are insured at the correct values.
- Make sure your vehicles are covered for wind and flood damages. This typically means including comprehensive and collision coverage on your auto policy.
- Review your policy to ensure that Sewer Backup and Overflow coverage is included.
Once you have reviewed your insurance policies, it is important to keep them in a safe and easily accessible place. I also recommend that you save your insurance agency's phone number and your insurance company's phone number in your cell phone so that you can start a claim immediately. You can also download our mobile app or bookmark our mobile website to have easy access to us while you're on-the-go.
If you have questions or would like us to review your insurance policies, please contact us!