Florida hurricane season is upon us. And it’s never been a better time to make sure your insurance policy can weather the storm. Have you stopped to understand the fine print of your insurance policy? Many property owners find out too late what their policy covers and doesn’t cover. When you own property in a place like Florida, you need an insurance policy that will give you peace of mind regardless of what’s on the horizon. Keep reading to understand if your insurance policy is really what you need for hurricane season and what to do if it fails you.
5 Common Hurricane Damage Misconceptions
Firstly, there isn’t such a thing as “hurricane insurance.” Rather, says ValuePenguin, there is a combination of policies you need to best protect your home from hurricane damage. Below are 5 misconceptions you need to debunk:
- Your homeowners insurance covers flooding. Perhaps the most common misconception about hurricane insurance regards flooding. Many homeowners insurance policies require a separate policy for flooding. Did you know that floods are the number one natural disaster in the U.S.? Just one inch of water can cause tens of thousands of dollars worth of damage to your home, according to the NFIP. So if you’re wondering if flood insurance is a good idea, it is!
- You can buy the insurance you need for hurricane damage last minute. Insurers are not going to let you purchase new or additional insurance if there is already a hurricane watch, according to Insurance.com. If there is no immediate threat to your region, you may be able to buy insurance to cover hurricane damage once hurricane season has started. However, you need to be aware that many policies have waiting periods of up to one month. So if you buy insurance to account for a hurricane and a storm hits a week later, you will likely not be covered.
- You’re covered in the event of wind damage. You might think that hurricane damage includes wind damage but this is not always true. Insurance.com says that if you live in an area prone to hurricanes, an insurance policy may exclude wind damage from your standard homeowners insurance policy.
- Hurricane deductibles are a flat fee. Unlike deductibles for other claims such as those for fire damage, a hurricane deductible is not a flat fee. Hurricane deductibles are based on a percentage that is dependent on the property’s risk, normally ranging from 2 to 5 percent of your home’s insured value. However, in some especially hurricane-prone areas such as Florida, the percentages could increase. Hurricane deductibles are initiated by “trigger events,” such as a hurricane warning in your location.
- If you are renting, your landlord’s insurance covers your personal property. You will need renters insurance to cover damages to your belongings.
How to Strengthen Your Policy and Build Peace of Mind
One of the best things you can do for your peace of mind and your future wellbeing is just to make sure you fully understand what the coverage you’re paying for actually covers. Keep the following tips in mind:
- Don’t wait until there’s a hurricane coming to buy protection! Check your policy to be sure you have sufficient coverage before there’s a storm on the horizon.
- Insure your home based on its replacement cost, not the market value. You need to think about how much money you would need to rebuild or restore your home in the event that it’s damaged or destroyed, which is often more than the resale value.
- Buy flood insurance! If you already have it, make sure to confirm the expiration date and renew the policy before you need it!
- Understand how hurricane deductibles work. Always study the deductible percentage for storm damages in your policy.
- Check for wind-damage and other exclusions in your policy and get the additional coverage you need! Remember that “hurricane damage” typically doesn’t cover flooding, mudslides, power outages (such as if you lost food because of a freezer power failure) and sometimes, wind damage. Check your policy carefully on these points.
What Happens If Your Claim is Denied?
But what if you do read the fine print and prepare and your policy still fails you unexpectedly? If your insurance claim is denied and you believe it was unjust, you can get legal assistance from a Florida insurance claim denial law firm.
At The Law Offices of Michael M. Raheb, P.A., we can help you understand why your claim was denied and how you can successfully get the settlement you need! As a law firm in Naples, FL, we understand the damage that hurricanes can cause and how to navigate the Florida insurance system with positive outcomes! Contact us at 239-226-0888 or online!
2423 First Street,
Fort Myers FL 33901
Fax Number: 866-949-0888