Adjusting Your Homeowner's Insurance for the Storm Season

For a homeowner, having homeowner’s insurance is essential. You want to feel confident should something occur to cause loss or damage to your home or its contents. This is exactly what homeowner’s insurance does. Homeowner’s insurance is coverage used to protect the property and personal property in the case of theft, vandalism, fire and weather-related disasters. Hurricanes can prove to be quite damaging with the winds, rains, floods and tornadoes. If you are a homeowner located in an area prone to hurricanes, it is important to look into the type of coverage offered under your existing insurance plan and make any necessary changes to ensure that your property is covered in the case of hurricanes.

Hurricane Season

Depending on what coastal part of the country you reside in, the hurricane season varies. Hurricane season generally runs from May 15 to November 30 (but starts June 1 for those residing near the Atlantic). The hurricane season is determined based on water and atmospheric conditions. Hurricane season brings lots of rain, wind and flood damage. If you have been affected by damage due to a hurricane but lacked sufficient coverage, it is time to review and strengthen your policy.

Increasing Coverage

Prior to increasing your homeowner’s insurance, check your existing policy to determine what coverage you already have and the deductibles associated with it. Standard homeowner’s insurance covers the property, personal property (e.g., jewelry and computers), money, business property and personal liability (for a person who may be injured on the property) in the event of fire, theft, vandalism and natural disasters. Create an itemized list of items to be covered under the policy and take photos. Store the list away from the property.

You may want to make specific increases to your policy to cover, for instance, jewelry or other personal property. To increase your coverage, speak with your insurance agent and request the increase. With an increase in coverage, there will be an increase in the deductible. Take into consideration whether, should an emergency occur, you would be able to pay out the deductible. In order for the coverage to take effect, the deductible must be paid. The benefit of paying the deductible is that if a storm should cause damage, you would be covered.

Flood Insurance

While one may think that flooding would be covered under natural disasters, in many states, it is not. In order to acquire flood protection, you must purchase flood insurance separately from your homeowner’s insurance. Flood insurance covers only flooding caused by a natural disaster. The federal government has started an initiative called the National Flood Insurance Program. The program works with insurance agents to provide different types of coverage based on the risk level where the property is. The coverage types offered under the program are building and content, building only, and content only.  Your risk level will determine which coverage types are available to you. To determine which coverage works best for your property, you may need to contact your insurance agent or your local zoning board.