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Hurricane Preparedness Week: Check Your Insurance Coverage

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With hurricane season right around the corner, it is critical to check to make sure you have the appropriate insurance coverage. Experts at the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH) say there are multiple questions to consider asking your insurance agent, including:

  • What coverages are appropriate for your living arrangement?
  • Who sells these coverages?
  • What coverages do I need to purchase and are they available?
  • What perils (e.g. wind, flood, hail, etc.) are covered by the policy?
  • What is the proper amount of insurance to purchase?
  • Are there steps to lower your premium?

For example, a typical homeowners' or renter's policy does not cover flood damage. Flood insurance is often available through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Florida and South Carolina, along with 17 other states, have hurricane deductibles that cover damage from wind. These deductibles often range from 1 to 5% of the dwelling's insured amount. Many homeowner's policies have deductibles around $500 before insurance kicks in, but in the event of a hurricane, the deductible is likely to be significantly greater. A 3% hurricane deductible on a home insured at $500,000 would require the insured to pay $15,000 before additional damages are paid.

FLASH provides extensive information on insurance coverages in this informational pamphlet, which is worth reading prior to have a conversation with your insurance agent:
https://flash.org/pdf/ActuarialFoundationInsuranceGuideEnglish.pdf

Additional perils such as hail, lightning, windstorms, and wildfires -- which also affect our state -- are available in that pamphlet.
The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) also has a web site where you may find information on whether your area is in a flood zone and what flood insurance covers if you decide to purchase it.
https://www.floodsmart.gov/