This year’s hurricane season is shaping up to be another active one. Make sure you’re prepared by reviewing your risks and current insurance policy coverage.
The 2018 Season
The Atlantic hurricane season lasts from June through November, with activity peaking from mid-August to late October, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
After last year’s disastrous hurricane season that included storms like Harvey, Irma and Maria, the U.S. probably won’t see much of a hurricane reprieve this year. Forecasters are projecting an above-average hurricane season, with 14 named storms expected to hit the US Coast.
What is Hurricane Insurance?
Technically, there is no specific policy known as “hurricane insurance.”
Damages from a hurricane are typically covered under your standard insurance policy with specific exclusions listed. This is true for standard homeowners, renters, and business insurance policies.
When’s the Best Time To Get a Policy?
The best time to get a policy is as soon as possible.
Weather is unpredictable. It can be sunny and beautiful this week, but spawn a string of tornadoes or a severe hurricane next week. Some insurance policies require a waiting period before coverage kicks in, and some carriers won’t write new policies or add coverage in the days leading up to a big storm.
If you want the right coverage in place, you need to get it now.
If you’re renting your current living space, the building is likely covered by your landlord’s insurance policy. However, your landlord’s insurance won’t cover your possessions when a storm strikes. It is up to you to purchase adequate protection for the items in your home.
Keep in mind that the standard renters policy excludes coverage for damage from flooding. For this type of coverage, you will need to get a separate policy through the National Flood Insurance Program.
As a homeowner, you likely have a standard homeowners insurance policy in place. Most standard homeowners policies offer a broad range of protections for damages caused by hurricanes, however you may find certain coverage exclusions.
Damage from flooding is one example of a peril completely excluded on standard homeowners policies.
Your deductible for hurricane damage may also vary slightly from the typical deductible you’re used to. Be sure to check with your insurance agent on what specific coverage you have with your current policy.
Business Owners Insurance
Coverage for commercial claims from hurricane losses can vary widely depending on the policy a business owner has chosen. Your commercial insurance policy can help cover some damage by a hurricane, like repairing or replacing physical property, but it does have limitations. Like personal insurance policies, flood coverage is not included in standard commercial coverage, unless they have the appropriate riders.
If you are unsure what coverage you have under your commercial insurance policy, you should sit down with your insurance agent and go over the details of your policy.
Home-Based Business Owners
If you run your business out of your home, don’t put all your hopes on your homeowners or renters policy covering your damages.
Homeowner’s policies can be finicky when it comes to insuring business gear. Many exclude coverage for commercial property altogether unless you add the appropriate rider.
With hurricanes often come excessive rain and powerful storm surges– making flooding pretty common. Unfortunately, standard insurance policies often exclude damage by this type of flooding.
You can obtain flood insurance coverage as a rider to your current policy or as stand-alone coverage through the National Flood Insurance program.
Keep in mind that flood insurance takes 30 days to go into effect. This means a policy purchased today won’t provide coverage for any events in the next 30 days. So, you can’t just run out and buy a flood insurance policy when a storm is on the horizon; these policies must be purchased in advance.
Depending on the area you live in, you may need to purchase wind damage protection in addition to your standard insurance policy.
While some standard homeowners policies do cover damage by wind (like hurricanes and tornadoes), this coverage may be excluded from your policy if you live in a high-risk area like along the coast. Double check your policy to see if this type of damage is covered or excluded.
Your deductible is the amount you agree to pay out-of-pocket toward a claim before your policy pays for expenses.
Hurricane and wind damage deductibles vary widely depending on your provider and the area you live in. If you aren’t sure whether you have a hurricane deductible, call your insurer to check the details of your policy.
Get In Touch
The best way to prepare for hurricane season is to sit down with your insurance agent and review your policies. A good agent will be able to answer any questions you have and provide you honest suggestions about coverage options.
Live along the Texas Coast? Check out our Coastal Insurance Program.
Have questions about your coverage options? Get in touch through the form below.
As an insurance provider, we know the impact adverse conditions and weather events can have. Being prepared and informed helps you protect what matters most.
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