June 3rd, 2014
A few days into hurricane season, there are already storms brewing on the horizon, which means homeowners need to get prepared. A homeowners insurance policy will only go so far to protect a house and its belongings, but heavy storms like hurricanes can cause damage that requires additional coverage. Therefore, all homeowners need to know the risks of a hurricane and the importance of selecting the right type of policy.
According to the Colorado State University meteorology team, there are expected to be 10 major storms this season, four of which are likely to turn into hurricanes. While that may be just below the seasonal average, other predictions are not so light-hearted. In early March, The Weather Channel also predicted a quieter hurricane season, with 11 storms and 5 hurricanes in store. However, for homeowners, all it takes is one flood and or some strong winds to destroy a home, and these forecasts should not be taken to heart, as weather conditions can change quickly.
Your current policy
If you're a homeowner, you probably already have a home insurance policy to cover the cost of replacing your possessions if they were to be damaged or stolen. Similarly, you need protection if your house needed to be rebuilt or repaired, and a typical policy will provide you some liability coverage if someone were to get injured on your property. However, you may need to check your policy for flood and hurricane coverage.
While you might have coverage for wind damage to your home, hurricanes can bring a lot of water inland very quickly with heavy rainfall, so flood protection is just as important. Most homeowners insurance policies don't come standard with flood insurance and it may need to be purchased separately. Despite an extra cost, the investment is well worth it should a hurricane come barreling through your neighborhood.
The hurricane deductible
Under your homeowners insurance policy, you probably already know your deductible, which is the amount you will need to pay before your insurance provider will start kicking in with coverage and reimbursements for repairs. With hurricane insurance, the deductible system is much different, so your limit won't be set at $500 or $1,000 as with a general policy.
Instead, hurricane deductibles are often set as a percentage of total coverage, usually within 1 percent to 5 percent, according to Zillow. This means that if you have insured your home for $100,000 and your hurricane deductible is 2 percent, you will need to pay $2,000 in a claim from hurricane damage. After you meet this limit, your insurance company will begin coverage. For some homeowners, not knowing this key difference can be the root of a financial downfall after a storm. You can prepare for this cost by creating an emergency fund for repairs or damage, or you can try to get a lower deductible. All homeowners should know their deductible rates for all insurance policies and understand limits on coverage before storms approach to ensure they have proper protection.