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Hurricane Awareness: How to Protect Your Auto and Home

Tricia Sharpton September 1, 2015 0

Protect Your Auto and Home

Property insurance specifically addresses home and auto insurance coverage. Obtaining hurricane and flood insurance are in the best interest of any property owner—because any storm has the potential to produce high winds and rising water, given the right circumstances, no matter where you live. Insurance policies may vary from state to state, but they all address protection from destructive weather.

Being Prepared and Knowing What is Actually Covered

Preparedness is about planning—and that takes time. Everything is less expensive or more available when the demand is low, and particular types of insurance are especially vulnerable to this premise. It is standard practice for insurance companies to stop selling new policies or adding coverage to existing ones when a threat is imminent. The best time to attend to your homeowners’ policy is during the off-season.

Typical homeowners’ insurance does not cover everything connected to your house and property, though it usually includes the house and any buildings on the property. Theft, limited weather conditions, and fire are all covered as events, but what about subsequent damage from that event? Damage done by the fire may be covered, but not the damage done by firefighters or the water they used to douse the fire. It is the same with weather conditions. Heavy snow may cave in the roof, but the water damage to the interior of the home (due to falling or melting snow) may be another claim entirely.

Auto Insurance

The state minimum requirement that allows you to drive legally is very limited in coverage. Only comprehensive coverage will handle damages coming from any action other than collision with another vehicle or other object. This will include high winds thrashing your car about, or flying debris hitting your car. The extension of coverage will vary from insurer to insurer, and you will need to get the specifics from your agent.

Wind and Flood Insurance

Flood and wind coverage are add-on features, at best, and must be deliberately considered for more complete property coverage. Windstorm coverage usually includes damage caused by forces that exceed at least 35 mph winds, hail, etc., and not personal items within the home or vehicle. Flood coverage is a little more defined; replacement coverage includes whatever it actually costs to replace damaged property, but only the depreciated value of the contents on that property. Flood insurance does not take into account flooding due to water that comes from inside the home, outdoor flooding limited to your property or less than one acre of property, swimming pools, important documents or cash, improvements to basements or other below-ground areas of your house, or living expenses until the damaged property is restored.

Flood insurance rates are based on the likelihood of flooding, and there are advantages for both high-risk and low-risk situations. If you live in an area that floods a lot or where flooding is expected (high-risk), then the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) offers affordable rates through community efforts made to help minimize storm damage. Multiple purchases of flood insurance (collective) promote an umbrella of coverage for the entire area. The benefit of purchasing flood insurance in an area that is unlikely to flood (low-risk) is that you can get sound coverage at very inexpensive rates. After all, unlikely does not mean never.

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