Is Damage From A Hurricane Covered?

Posted on Jun 22, 2016

Is Damage From A Hurricane Covered?

While hurricanes can occur at any time of year, the main season for hurricanes is June through November. Historically, these are the dates when tropical activity is most likely to occur. Before hurricane season gets fully into swing, it’s a good idea for anyone living in a coastal community, including those living in or near the New Jersey coastal areas, to ask themselves if they are covered for the damage hurricanes bring.

Water Damage from Hurricanes

Hurricanes can cause water damage in many different ways. One of the most common hurricane-related water damages to homes comes in the form of flooding. For the purposes of insurance, storm surge is considered flood damage. Flood damage is excluded from most homeowner’s insurance policies. You must purchase a flood policy to cover this type of damage.

People living in high-risk flood areas, like most coastal regions, are required to purchase flood insurance if they have a mortgage. Others who live nearby or adjacent to high-risk flood areas are strongly urged to do so.

Storm surge from hurricanes can get miles inland, backing up rivers, streams, and other bodies of water causing widespread flooding – even for people who do not live directly on the coast.

Flood coverage is available, at a slightly subsidized cost, through the National Flood Insurance Program. It is limited, however, in coverage to $250,000 for the structure of the home and $100,000 for the contents. Homeowners who have homes valued greater than that or with valuable contents, should discuss other options that may be available for them with their insurance agents – before a storm is approaching.

Most flood policies require 30 days before they are active unless they are purchased with a new home purchase or when the home is refinanced.

Wind Damage from Hurricanes

For the most part, wind damage is covered by your homeowner’s insurance policy. Unless you live in a state that doesn’t include coverage for hurricanes from a standard homeowner’s insurance policy. In these cases you’ll have to purchase a special policy to cover the damage from hurricanes. It is always wise to discuss your specific needs and concerns with your agent to make sure you are covered before the need arises.

This means that if trees are blown over and damage your home, the insurance will pay for the repairs to your home and the removal of the tree. This extends to exterior structures, such as swimming pool fences, detached garages, and sheds on your property.

What it may not cover, though, is the removal of a fallen tree if it caused no actual property damage.

Wind presents another possible hazard when it comes to hurricanes. Many people resort to burning candles and hurricane lamps when the power goes out. This could lead to a fire hazard when the wind knocks them over and fans the flame. Check with your insurance agent to determine whether or not your specific policy provides coverage for fire that is driven by the winds of hurricanes before lighting candles or burning lamps.

Hurricane Damage – Automobiles and Boats

Don’t forget automobiles though. It isn’t just homes that are affected by the winds of hurricanes. Debris can be blown on top of cars, cause them to roll over (or float away), and trees can topple over on top of them. You’ll need comprehensive coverage for cars that covers damage caused by “acts of God,” like hurricanes.

You should also check to see if your boat is covered for hurricane damage. More likely than not, you’ll need a separate policy for hurricane damage. Some insurance companies consider this a marine policy and it should cover windstorm damage.

The best course of action when it comes to insuring your home against hurricane damage is to ask your agent about the specific types of coverage you need to protect your home, personal property, and other properties.

Taking the time to do this before there’s a storm heading your way is of utmost importance as most policies have a 30-day window before they go into effect. It could leave you out in the rain when a storm blows through.

Otterstedt Insurance Agency has been working with families to assess and cover their hurricane damages risks. We are happy to answer any questions you may have about coverage for hurricane damages.

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