How Homeowners Insurance Can Help You Recover After a Hurricane Damage
Hurricanes are terrible storms that if climatologists are going to be believed, are only going to get worse and increase in frequency because of global warming. This means that anyone in an area potentially impacted by a hurricane needs to review their homeowner's insurance policies and see what's covered and what's not. It’s one thing to be able to buy a house and another to be able to keep it. There are so many things that could go wrong that could mean that you end up with a very substantial bill, or worse, you could lose the single biggest investment you’ve made in your life.
But, the good thing is that there are provisions for these kinds of scenarios. You don’t have to live out your days in complete worry about the things that could happen to your house. Home insurance grants homeowners a semblance of peace of mind by covering a certain monetary amount in the event that the house is damaged outside of the homeowner’s control.
But, before you apply at your nearest home insurance agency, there are a few things that you need to set up first.
Your Home Insurance Provider Needs To Be A Hurricane Expert
Most Americans use the same company for all their insurance needs. For example, if you have your car insured with USAA, State Farm, or Allstate then chances are that you have your home insurance there too. While this is sufficient for most situations, not all insurers are created equal and some may be better depending on the area that you live in. For instance, policies may be more favorable towards storm or earthquake damage than fire. You need to do your research and compare each company with each other in terms of price, coverage, and customer feedback in order for you to get the best possible home insurance deal. Even though it might be convenient to have a bundled insurance policy, that might not always be the best solution.
It’s important to note that because you’re going to be dealing with these companies during calamities, you need to take customer feedback into heavy consideration
Review The Coverage Of Your Insurance Policy
As I mentioned above, not all homeowner's insurance policies or agencies are the same. That's why it's important to review your specific policy before buying it. For instance, most standard policies will cover damage caused by hurricane winds - but will not cover flood damage. Anyone who's ever been in a hurricane knows that flooding in the aftermath of the storm (and often tidal surge beforehand) can cause as much if not more damage than the storm itself. Rather than seeking federal assistance or hiring storm damage lawyer afterward, one of the big things homeowners should do is review the policy details and opt for supplemental insurance to cover flooding if they believe that's a risk to their home.
Realistically though, this is a complicated issue because of the various dangers that a hurricane provides AND the high risk that homes in coastal communities have for danger.
This conversation is one that needs to take place well before there's a storm risk. Not surprisingly, once the federal government issues storm watches or warnings for your area, no insurance company is going to allow you to purchase additional coverage. As a result, we recommend that you review your policy at least once a year, well in advance of storm season and make any adjustments that might be needed. Do this when you have time to not just add or remove coverage - but also react to various cost-saving opportunities.
House and Yard Upgrades That Can Lower Your Home Owners Insurance
Not all insurance companies offer policies to reward you for adding upgrades to your house. However, these are all smart decisions that will help you save stress and money in the event of a hurricane - even if the home insurance provider doesn't reward you directly.
Storm-Safe Windows - These can help protect your home in the event of not just a hurricane, but also strong summer storms where hail can cause damage. Not just will these hurricane windows resist damage to the windows themselves, but it will also resist breakage up to certain wind levels and that protects the stuff inside your home too.
Automatic Water and Gas Shutoff Devices - Most gas lines already have something similar to this, but having the ability to automatically shut off water to the house in the event of damage to your pipes can save you thousands of dollars in additional damage. Many insurance companies appreciate this investment and will reward you with it by lowering your premiums.
Upgraded Storm-Safe Roofing Tiles - Various materials can be better or worse when it comes to resistance to high winds and so choosing materials that will resist hurricane-force winds means lower damage not just to the house exterior - but to water damage as well.
Helping You Rebuild and Recover after a Hurricane
Most people will never have to use their homeowner's insurance to help rebuild after a hurricane. That's a good thing for those guys and peace of mind knowing that you'll be taken care of is a huge benefit of having insurance.
Remember though, home insurance isn't protection against hurricane damage, it's a promise of help with recovering afterward. That's why it's important to look at your policy carefully and see what services it specifically provides to help and what the process is to be reimbursed.
- Written by James Hills
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