Things You Need to Know About Hurricane Insurance
Two words you dread hearing: hurricane approaching. But the fact is you may find yourself heeding hurricane warnings more often than in years past, as major storms seem to be occurring more frequently, all while becoming larger, more damaging, and more costly. In fact, three of the costliest natural disasters in U.S. history — Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Maria, and Hurricane Irma — all struck in one year: 2017.
If your home is affected by a hurricane, the physical and financial recovery can cost more than you ever could have imagined. Read on to learn about hurricane insurance claims and how you can get reimbursed from your insurance company for wind and water damages.
1. First Things First: Contact Your Insurer, Start Documenting Your Claim
Your insurance company might suggest making temporary repairs, such as putting up a tarp, to prevent further damage to the house, but take pictures before you make any temporary fixes or remove debris. In addition, put together a list of any damaged items as well as the extent of the damage, and keep any receipts for supplies purchased to make repairs. Check out Rebuilding Your Home and Finances After Disaster Strikes at kiplinger.com for more information.
2. Homeowners Insurance Doesn’t Cover Flooding
A good rule of thumb: Damage caused by water, wind, and wind-driven rain that comes into your home through the windows, roof, doors, or holes in the walls are covered by homeowners insurance. But if a hurricane results in flooding or water that rises from the bottom up (such as a storm surge or an overflowing body of water), chances are any resulting damage won’t be covered unless you have flood insurance. For specifics, go to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Wind Damage vs. Flood Damage fact sheet.
3. Car Flooding Is Covered By Auto Insurance
Comprehensive coverage on your car insurance covers flooding of your car. In some cases, water damage may be so extensive that the insurance company will declare your car a total loss and pay the claims for the value of the car, minus the deductible.
4. Damage From Fallen Trees
Your homeowners insurance might cover damage to your house as the result of fallen trees. Also, if a tree on your property damage’s a neighbor’s property, such as a fence or garage, your neighbor should file a claim with their insurance company, which most likely will pay to fix the damage.
5. Seek Help From The State Insurance Department
As you start to file your hurricane damage claim, turn to the state insurance department for help with questions you may have. To help resolve major disaster disputes between residents and their insurance companies, many insurance departments establish special mediation programs. For information about where to find help in your state, check the insurance department map provided by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.