Living on or near the gulf coast presents its own set of challenges as it relates to Hurricanes and other natural disasters so, it is important homeowners prepare in advance of Hurricane season to minimize and avoid potential property damage and to potentially save lives. Homeowners’ insurance policies along the gulf coast will typically cover property damage due to Hurricanes with a separate deductible based on a percentage of the replacement cost of the home.
For example, home insurance policies will have a 1% or 2% wind/hail deductible that applies to damage from high wind during a named storm event. However, we do see several policies with up to a 5% deductible for such events. This means if your home’s value is 300,000 and you have a 2% deductible you’re on the hook for 6,000 from wind damage. Be sure to check your declarations page on your existing home policy to see what your deductible is and if it is too high call us. Chances are we can reduce your deductible while keeping premiums reasonable.
You’ll also need to review your auto insurance policy to make sure you have comprehensive coverage in addition to liability. If you only have liability coverage and your automobile is damaged from flooding or winds your insurance company will not cover that loss. Also, be sure to review the declarations page to find out if you have comprehensive coverage in addition to liability. Also, look at your deductibles and if they are 1000 dollars or more, consider lowering those deductibles down to 500 or even 250 to avoid coming out of pocket in the event of a partial or total loss to your automobile.
During Hurricane season it is also very important to check your coverage to see if you have a separate flood insurance policy. Some people make the mistake of assuming their homeowners’ insurance covers flood when it is too late! Home insurance will not cover your property or belongings from rising waters and flood policies carry a 30 day waiting period from the effective date of the policy.
This makes it nearly impossible to purchase flood insurance when a hurricane is imminent so, be prepared and make sure you are properly covered now. Flood policies are regulated by FEMA and are all under 500 dollars annually assuming you do not live in a flood plain. The cost is well worth it in light of the amount of coverage you could obtain from flood damage.
TIPS FOR PROTECTING YOUR PROPERTY
- Declutter Drains and Gutters
- Install check valves in plumbing to prevent back up
- Review insurance policies to ensure you have flood insurance coverage
- Protect all opening best you can, such as impact glass, shutters, or pre-cut plywood
- Keep important documents in a safe location or back them up digitally
With so many flooding events in the Houston and surrounding areas over recent years, it’s more important than ever to review home and auto insurance to make sure you are covered with low deductibles and have flood insurance. Don’t wait until it is too late! Call today for your no-obligation quote or complete a contact form on our website. Once a named storm enters the Gulf of Mexico insurance carriers will place binding restrictions on policies. If this happens you may be stuck with little or no coverage for flooding or wind damage.
SURVIVING THE STORM
- If told to evacuate, so immediately. Do not drive around barricades
- Listen for current emergency information and instructions
- Use a generator or other gasoline-powered machinery outdoors ONLY and away from windows
- Do not walk, swim, or drive through flood waters. Turn around. Don’t Drown! Just six inches of fast-moving water can knock you down, and one foot of water can sweep your vehicle away
- Stay off bridges and over fast moving water
MAKING AN INSURANCE CLAIM
- Document any property damage with photos and videos
- Contact your insurance agent or insurer as soon as you can. Provide a general description of the damage and have your policy number handy if possible. Write down the adjusters name, phone number, and work schedule as soon as you have them.
- Prepare a list of damaged or lost items for your adjuster
- If you need to relocate, keep records of all your living expenses as most insurance companies cover additional living expenses
- Once you notify your insurance company of a claim, they are required by state insurance law to send you the appropriate claim forms within a certain time frame(this can vary by state). Complete the forms as soon as possible and if you have any questions be sure to call your insurance agent or broker. They can assist you in completing these claim forms to the carrier and can even submit those forms on your behalf in many cases.