December 10th, 2013
As extreme weather becomes more common every year, preparing and protecting your home from the mother of storms, a hurricane, can present a challenge for homeowners.
With the severe consequences of Hurricane Katrina and Sandy still lingering today, being covered during a hurricane is more important than ever. The best time to buy is before anything happens, as it will be nearly impossible to get a policy once a storm is already on its way.
Know what's covered
One of the biggest mistakes homeowners make is not knowing what is included in their home insurance. For instance, most policies won't cover flood insurance, so it needs to be purchased separately. If you live in an area with flood risks, this is especially important. You don't want to lose possessions if your basement suddenly becomes a swimming pool, but it would be even worse without some form of compensation.
A lot of policies will cover hurricane damage, but it is important to check with your insurance company. If you're shopping for a new policy and are worried about the risks of a hurricane, find a policy that will cover you and your home.
Another trouble with hurricanes is that they can be extremely destructive. This means that a home that has been damaged by a hurricane could be unlivable for some time. In this case, homeowners insurance that covers hotel and rental car costs while a home is being repaired will provide the best safety net. It is important to insure a home for the amount that it would take to rebuild it, rather than its market value.
There are two different types of deductibles typically offered for homes that are in high-risk areas for a hurricane. The first is a percentage and the second is measured in dollars. A deductible is the amount that a policyholder must pay in the event of a claim before the insurance company will come in and cover any costs.
Percentage deductibles will usually range between 1 and 5 percent but could be higher for homes located along a coast or in a high-wind area. The percentage is measured against what a home is insured for, and a homeowner is responsible for that amount before the insurance company will pay. A Deductible measured in dollars is simply a set amount a homeowner is responsible for paying. Higher deductibles will often result in lower monthly premiums.
There are a few ways to get discounts on hurricane coverage. If a home is outfitted with protective measures like storm shutters or has newer and more durable construction, monthly premiums are likely to be less.