Hurricane Insurance Factoids
Are you covered?
With Hurricane Irene starting to pull away from the area, now is definitely a good time to make sure your insurance coverage is sufficient. Some homeowners who think their policies will provide enough coverage in the event of a severe storm may find they’re not covered for certain kinds of damage.
Lisa Lobo, consumer insurance expert for The Hartford, gave consumers some insurance tips in a recent press release from American Reporters Abroad. Lobo suggested focusing on the following things:
--Wind coverage: "Many homeowners aren't aware of the need for wind coverage or if they have wind coverage," Lobo told ARA. According to Lobo, wind coverage is a must if you want to receive compensation for wind damage in the event of a hurricane.
--Flood insurance: Homeowners’ policies don’t include flood insurance, which has to be purchased separately. More information on flood insurance can be found at the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s flood insurance website, www.fema.gov/nfip.
Deductibles: Your homeowners’ insurance may have a different deductible for storm damage than it would for another catastrophic event such as a fire. Some policies may also have specific hurricane and wind deductibles, according to Lobo. These deductibles can be higher in coastal high-hazard areas, so check your policy.
--Students: If your child attends a college in the path of the storm, you may be eligible to file a claim on his or her items damaged during the storm at that school, Lobo said. Check with your insurance agent to find out.
--Reimbursement for living expenses: Most policies will reimburse living expenses for those forced to live elsewhere while storm damage to their home is repaired. However, said Lobo, reimbursement does not include lodging costs if you simply have to evacuate during the storm.
--Replacement costs: Make sure you know what your policy actually covers. Many people assume their policies will cover the replacement cost of lost property. However, Lobo said, many policies only cover actual cash value, which includes depreciation.
--Auto coverage: Most full-coverage auto insurance cover storm damage, including flooding. However, you might want to double-check with your insurance agent to make sure you’re covered.
--Storm-resistant improvement credits: Some insurance providers give policyholders credit for storm-proofing improvements, such as installing storm shutters, Lobo told ARA. Ask your provider if credits are offered – it could lower your costs.
For more information, visit www.thehartford.com/heretohelp.