Hurricane Risk? Why Home Insurance May Not Be Enough

If you live in an area prone to hurricane, standard home insurance coverage may not be enough to protect you.

Millions of homeowners live in areas of the country that face annual hurricane risk without realizing they do not have the insurance coverage they need to protect themselves. Standard homeowner insurance policies almost always include exclusions for flood and natural disaster; some policies may even specifically exclude hurricanes, particularly if you live in a very high risk area.

According to recent statistics, only around 10% of those who need the insurance most actually have purchased insurance coverage that will help protect them, and an even smaller percentage have any kind of comprehensive hurricane coverage. Depending on where you live and the risk you face, getting the right coverage can be tricky.

The Right Hurricane Coverage for You

When choosing your hurricane insurance coverage, you need to consider the different types of damages your home might be exposed to. A policy that protects you from flooding water (defined as water that rises up) may not protect you from falling water in the form of torrential downpours. Or, you may have adequate protection from the water but no coverage for wind damage.

In addition to covering your home for specific damages associated with hurricanes, you should make sure you have sufficient coverage for loss of use. Loss of use coverage provides you with funding if you are required to live somewhere else or stay in a hotel during the time your home is being repaired.

Lowering the Cost of Your Hurricane Insurance

If you live in an area that is high risk for hurricane storms, you may find it difficult and expensive to obtain adequate hurricane insurance. There are things you can do to lower the cost of your insurance.

Increase your deductible. You can reduce your premium considerably by having a higher deductible. However, if you increase your deductible to $1,000 or $2,500, be sure you can actually afford to pay that portion of the repairs.

Take measures to protect your home. Build your roof with a sharper pitch so it is not as easily lifted by high winds. Board your windows before storms with sturdy plywood and bolts to protect them from breakage. Invest in better drainage and venting to improve water drainage. All of these things can reduce the amount of damage from storms.

Shop around. Take the time to shop around for different coverage. Companies that specialize in hurricane policies may have better economies of scale and be able to offer you more coverage for less money than a standard insurer. Be sure, however, to read your policy carefully to understand your coverage.

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