Spring is finally here. But with the warmer and longer days, also comes something else – hurricanes. The 2018 hurricane season is predicted to be more active than usual, with seven hurricanes and three major hurricanes. Hurricane season runs from June 1, 2018 through November 30, 2018. Being that it is just a month away, now is the time to prepare.
So, what are some things you can do now to prepare?
The first step is reviewing your homeowner’s insurance policy and its coverages. The first thing you want to look for is the amount of your available insurance coverage. There are various types of homeowner’s insurance policies available in Florida. The most common one is the HO-3—Special Form Policy, which covers your home (dwelling coverage) and personal belongings (contents coverage). The amount of insurance available for these two coverages should be found in your insurance policy’s declarations pages.
You should review the amount of available insurance under each coverage to evaluate if you are adequately insured. As for the dwelling coverage, most people insure just the value of their home. But what some homeowners do not realize, is that the actual cost to rebuild your home in the event of a total loss or substantial damage can be higher than the value of the home. In other words, the value of your home and the amount it would cost to rebuild or repair are rarely the same.
While the dwelling coverage pays for the building repairs, the contents coverage would cover the cost to replace your personal belongings, including furniture, clothes, appliances, etc. To substantiate your contents claim, you should make a detailed inventory of all personal belongings in your home. If possible, take pictures as proof you owned all the items on your inventory list. If available, save receipts for purchases of furniture and appliances. You should store this information digitally, in the cloud, and/or in a water proof container.
Do you need any additional coverages?
You should also review your homeowner’s insurance policy to see if you are covered for any additional items under your insurance policy. One of those additional coverages is Additional Living Expense Coverage. If your home becomes unlivable due to the damage, this coverage, up to certain limits, would reimburse you for the cost incurred because of residing elsewhere.
The other coverage that is worth looking into is Ordinance and Law Coverage. The dwelling coverage of your insurance policy only covers the cost the rebuild or repair the home to its pre-loss condition. Thus, it will not cover any increased costs associated with rebuilding or repairing the home in compliance with current building codes. This is where Ordinance and Law Coverage would kick in. It covers costs incurred as a result of bringing the property in compliance with current building codes and zoning requirements. The coverage is typically limited to 25% of the amount available under the dwelling coverage.
Finally, a lot of homes are damaged due to storm surge and floods during a Hurricane. However, most homeowner’s insurance policies do not cover flood damage. You need to obtain a separate flood insurance policy to cover your home in the event of flood damage.
If you have any questions about your current insurance coverage, please contact our office for a free review of your insurance policy.