Steps for hurricane insurance preparedness start with understanding some critical facts; homeowners insurance is not hurricane insurance and there is a thirty day waiting period. Be prepared before the official beginning of the Atlantic hurricane season June 1. The Federal Emergency Management Agency urges property owners to prepare for hurricane season by purchasing flood insurance.
According to FEMA, floods are the most common hazard in the United States and homeowners insurance does not cover flood damage. They warn that everyone is at risk of external and internal flooding. Flood coverage is available in the form of a separate policy from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and from a few private insurers.
Congress created the NFIP in 1968 and communities that agree to adopt and enforce flood plan management ordinances to reduce future flood damage have federally backed flood insurance. Coverage is provided for up to $250,000 for the home and $100,000 for personal belongings. On the FEMA website there is information about the national flood insurance program, flood maps a premium calculator and a link to the official site of the national flood insurance program.
The national flood insurance reform act ,SFHA of 1994. lengthened the waiting period required before an NFRIA policy goes into effect. The waiting period is 30 days for a new or modified policy and insurance companies sometimes will not bind insurance if there is an active hurricane at the time of application.The Insurance Information Institute website has a down-loadable white paper regarding the National Flood Insurance Program.
Wind damage caused by a hurricane is usually covered by homeowners insurance but hurricane wind related damage to a window or door that results in flooding might not be covered in the policy. For this reason it might be necessary to purchase additional wind and hail insurance. For example the South Carolina Wind and Hail Underwriting Association expanded the wind pool territory. There is a tool on their website for use in determining property eligibility for coverage by the South Carolina Wind and Hail Underwriting Association.
Typically property owners need enough insurance to rebuild the home and replace all personal belongings. Speak to an insurance agent or company and have discussions regarding requirements as well as deductibles. Most coastal residents have percentage deductibles for storm damage rather than the traditional dollar deductibles that are used for other types of losses such as fire or burglary.
This hurricane season be informed and properly insured.