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Five Things to Know About Insurance and Hurricanes

With Hurricane Ian approaching, we thought it would be prudent to share these 5 things to know about insurance and hurricanes: 

  1. Hurricane deductibles: Most homeowners’ insurance policies contain higher deductibles for losses resulting from a hurricane. It is common for most policies to have a separate deductible for hurricane damage. The deductible is typically a percentage of the insured value of the home, generally ranging from 2-10 percent. So for a home insured with $100,000 in coverage with a 2-percent hurricane deductible, the policyholder would be responsible to pay the first $2,000 in damages.
  2. Wind-driven rain: Damage caused by wind-driven rain—for example, rain blowing through poorly sealed door and window openings—is generally not covered. For coverage to apply, there would need to be wind-related damage to the structure itself.
  3. Repair scams: Resist the temptation to sign up with the first repair crew that shows up at your door. Also, do not sign paperwork that assigns the rights and benefits of your insurance policy to someone else. Assignment of benefits scams are a leading cause of rising insurance rates, and fraud artists see a hurricane aftermath as an opportunity to prey on homeowners. Always call your agent or insurance company first, to report a loss and determine the best way to proceed.
  4. Flood damage: Damage caused by flooding, commonly defined as 'rising water from the ground up', is not covered by standard homeowners insurance policies. A separate flood insurance policy is required for this type of loss.
  5. Mitigate and document: Insurance policies include a section titled "Duties after a loss". It is expected that policyholders will mitigate further damage to the home to the extent they safely can, and to document their damage. So for example, putting a tarp over a damaged roof or boarding up a broken window can help prevent further losses. Homeowners should document damage by taking photographs and saving receipts for any out-of-pocket costs.

As always, if you have any questions or need any help, please contact us!