The I.I.I. recommends three steps to prepare this hurricane season.
1. Get the Right Policies
§ Buy Flood Insurance. Most of the natural disasters in U.S. history involve flooding, and standard homeowners policies do not cover flood damage. Coverage is available through the federal government and some private insurers. Only a flood insurance policy can protect you from the flooding that a hurricane may cause, but there is a 30-day waiting period before coverage begins. Excess flood insurance is also available from some private insurance companies if you need more coverage than the $250,000 for property and $100,000 on contents that the NFIP provides.
§ Don’t Skimp on Law or Ordinance Coverage. Did you know that after experiencing a loss, rebuilding your home to meet current codes or demolishing what is left of it might increase your costs up to 50 percent? That’s because damaged homes must be repaired or rebuilt to comply with the current building code—not the code that was in effect when the home was originally constructed. Law and Ordinance insurance covers you in that situation.
§ Get Replacement Cost Coverage For Your Belongings. When insuring your possessions, you have two coverage choices. Actual cash value, which replaces your possessions minus depreciation andreplacement cost coverage, which replaces your property in today’s dollars—without a deduction for depreciation. The price of replacement cost coverage is about 10 percent more, but provides more extensive coverage.
§ Know Your Hurricane Deductible. A standard homeowners insurance policy deductible is usually either $500 or $1,000.Hurricane deductibles are calculated as a percentage of the insured value of a house. That percentage, and details about a policy’s hurricane deductible, is generally listed on the first page of the policy, known as the Declarations page. Hurricane deductibles apply solely to damage caused by hurricanes, and typically vary from 1 percent to 5 percent of the insured value of a home.
2. Create a Home Inventory
A home inventory will help ensure that you have purchased enough insurance to replace your personal possessions. It can also speed the claims process and substantiate losses for income tax purposes. A detailed home inventory is also helpful should you need to apply for disaster aid.
3. Prepare an Evacuation Plan
Plan ahead and practice so that your evacuation is safe, smooth and fast. In an emergency you may have only a few minutes to gather your important papers and leave your home, possibly for good. The Know Your Plan™ app developed by the I.I.I. and IBHS can help you prepare and effective plan ahead of time.