Natural disasters like Hurricane Michael are a stark reminder to all homeowners that what you don’t know about your insurance policy can hurt you when it’s time file an insurance claim for damages. If you must file a claim for your damages, here is what you need to know.
1.Homeowners insurance typically covers four main categories of damage
A standard homeowners policy provides protection for 1) your dwelling (the structure of the home); 2) detached structures (like a shed or detached garage); 3) personal property (your belongings); and 4) living expenses if you are displaced.
2. Hurricane Deductibles Are Separate
Hurricane and wind/hail deductibles typically range from 1 % to 5% of the insured value of the home’s structure. For example, if you have a single-family home insured for $250,000 with a 5% hurricane deductible, you would pay the first $12,500 of your claim as a deductible.
3. Flood Insurance Must Be Purchased Separately
Some homeowners may be surprised to learn that flooding — even from a hurricane — is generally not covered by a standard homeowners insurance policy. If you live in a federal flood zone and you have a mortgage, you likely had to purchase flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) when you bought your home. Otherwise, Flood insurance is optional and must be purchased separately.
4. Pay close attention to what is excluded from your policy
Reading and understanding your policy’s exclusions page is extremely important. Many insurance disputes occur because an insurer argues that the damage is excluded by the language of the policy. Many times, insurance companies are overly aggressive when trying to apply policy exclusions to deny a claim. It is best to know beforehand what’s included and excluded in your policy. Learn about reasons for property claim denials here.
5. Proper Documentation Can Streamline the Claim Process
After a storm, it may take time for an insurance adjuster to visit and inspect your home. Make sure you document your damages as soon as you can. The best way to do this is by taking pictures of your property damages and damaged personal property. Having your own documentation can help your insurer process your claim more quickly and resolve potential claim disputes.
Need Help With Your Hurricane Insurance Claim?
Whether you are getting ready to make your claim for damage, or have already reported your claim, contacting Danahy & Murray could help you avoid forfeiting insurance coverage rightfully yours, or accepting less than what you are owed for all your insured losses. Contact us online or by calling 813-940-1500 for a free case review.