A hurricane can be a traumatic experience. And if your property is damaged, it’s the beginning of another ordeal – the insurance claim process. Hurricane season lasts from June 1 through November 1, so we still have a way to go. The 2018 season is predicted to be average or above. We learned some valuable lessons from Winter Storm Riley that we can apply to a hurricane claim and here are a few tips to prepare yourself for a possible insurance claim.
Know your policy
The best thing you can do before a hurricane hits is to take a look at your policy to make sure you won’t have any surprises should you need to file a claim.
Hurricane claims can be complicated because there can be two causes of loss: windstorm and flooding. Windstorm will be covered by your homeowner’s policy. Flooding is covered by the federal government through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). If you haven’t purchased flood insurance, you may not be covered for flood. Here’s a blog post we wrote about it.
To add to the complexity, some policies have a separate deductible for wind claims, which is higher than the regular deductible. You may not even know that you have a different windstorm deductible and you don’t want to find out after a loss. It’s either a set amount or may be a percentage of your dwelling coverage. For example, if your dwelling coverage is $400,000 and you have a 2% wind deductible, your total deductible will be $8,000. After Riley, we had several clients whose wind deductibles amounted to over $12,000! Sometimes the wind deductible can zero out your whole claim.
Take a look at your policy’s declaration page and find the deductible. If you have a separate windstorm deductible, it will be written somewhere nearby. Here’s another blog post about it.
Prepare for your physical safety
Aside from preparing for an insurance claim, be sure to prepare for your physical safety. Have a hurricane kit at the ready and know your evacuation route. Things happen really fast in a hurricane and you need to be ready at a moment’s notice.