As this week's On the Spot guest, she shares how to prepare for the upcoming hurricane season.
With hurricane season approaching on
Now is the time to contact your agent to review your homeowner's and flood policies, not the week the pending hurricane is bearing down on the state. We have this happen every year. People naturally are not afraid until they see it heading our way, and start flooding their insurance company with calls and then are upset when their agent cannot handle the large capacity of inquiries.
You should be aware of your coverages, your deductibles and your loss of use amounts since many carriers have very low amounts in the event your home is no longer habitable and you must live elsewhere.
Keep copies of your insurance policies in a waterproof bag, take it with you if you must evacuate.
Also, important advice is to videotape your home even if on your phone – every room, closet, cabinet and garage, to document your belongings and comment as you are videotaping what the items are, how many of each, etc. This is extremely helpful in the event of a total loss to recreate a required inventory of items lost your claims adjuster will need.
We often hear about certain things, like flooding, not being covered. How should property owners address this? What questions should they ask?
Flood insurance is one of those policies people only feel is needed if they are told by their realtor or mortgage lender, "You are in a flood zone" and if you are not, "You don't need flood insurance"! This is the biggest misconception I have seen in 23 years.
I tell clients, "If you take out your driver's license and it reads
You can still flood – maybe not from a rising river or the ocean, but from rising ground water from excess rain. With our water table, which is already close to sea level, if the grounds are saturated with nowhere to go, water will start seeping into your foundation and doors.
Over the last 20 years, we have seen neighborhoods that were not in "flood zones" flood, hence the flood maps were redrawn and I believe will continue to be re-evaluated as the rivers and sea are rising.
What is not covered under your flood policy is anything "outside the house or enclosed garage," not attached to improve the interior of your home. Examples of what is not covered under flood policies are pools, pool pumps, sea walls, fences, docks, sprinklers, ground lighting and exterior furnishings. You should check your limits on your structure coverage and your contents coverage, as both have separate deductibles.
What are the two pieces of advice you would give property owners right now?
Backup sewer or drain is an important coverage to have on your homeowner's policy that is usually not included, but an add-on as an endorsement, will protect your home if during a hurricane the sewer lines back up from the loss of power at dumping stations. When this occurs you may experience overflow into your home and this is not covered by flood insurance or your homeowner's without this coverage on your policies, so you should ask your agent if you have it. If you do not, it's typically a very inexpensive cost under
Know who your insurance carrier is, what their ratings are, and if they will be able to pay your claim if there are catastrophic losses in
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