Many homeowners do not know what their homeowner’s insurance policy covers. When it comes to natural disasters, it is important that you assess the likelihood of which natural disasters are likely to occur in your area and weigh the risks for coverage. Below are 10 tips:
1Insurance companies will want to know if a claim specifies whether your property was damaged by wind or by water from a hurricane. Wind is usually covered under a standard policy, but flooding is not. An insurance company may claim that your damage was due to the water from a hurricane and not from the wind. Be prepared to show that wind caused the conditions that led to the flooding.
2If you live in an area prone to windstorms, you might want to consider windstorm coverage, which solely covers damage by the wind during a storm. This deductible is usually 1 to 5 percent of a policy’s total value.
3Insurance policies might also include an “anti-concurrent causation” clause, which eliminates all coverage for hurricanes if a non-insured incident—such as a flood or tornado—occurs at the same time.
4Many insurers have dropped coverage for mold. Check your policy for mold coverage, and if you don’t have it, inquire.
5You may want to consider an “inflation guard,” which will automatically increase replacement coverage every year to account for higher construction costs. Alternatively, you can call your insurance provider every year to check on construction costs in your area and make adjustments in your policy accordingly.
6Make sure your policy includes rebuild prices to code, as building codes change constantly.
7Consider having your rare and expensive property appraised, and then purchase a separate floater that guarantees full dollar value on property such as antiques and jewelry since those items may not be fully covered by your regular homeowner’s policy. Be aware, however, that prices for assessing jewelry and antiques can cost a pretty penny. Many appraisers charge 1 to 5 percent of the assessed properties’ value.
8Maintain and upgrade your home regularly, particularly the roofing, plumbing, exterior, and washing machine and dishwasher hoses. These will all protect against water-related damage.
9Install fire detectors, security alarms, deadbolt locks, and any other anti-theft devices that are appropriate for your area. These security measures may reduce your premium by 5 to 10 percent.
10Shop around for the best rates and coverage. The best way to do this is to consult with neighbors and get recommendations from your insurance broker.