Summer is in full swing, and coastal homeowners are excited for long days full of warm, sunny weather. However, the devastating effects of last year’s brutal hurricane season are still in the minds of many homeowners, and many are wondering if their coastal homeowners insurance will protect them if they end up in the path of the next major storm.
Here are some of the most common questions that homeowners have about their insurance coverage for hurricanes.
1. Isn’t hurricane damage covered under the homeowners insurance I already have?
Most standard homeowner policies cover wind damages, such as when a roof is blown off by hurricane-force winds, a tree is blown over onto a house or airborne debris causes windows to break. Lightning, fire, theft and vandalism related to a hurricane event are also typically covered by the homeowners insurance policy. However any type of flooding, the most common and costly damage caused by a storm, is not covered and requires a separate flood policy.
2. How much coverage do I need?
When selecting a coastal homeowners insurance policy, it’s important to remember that coverage limits should be based on the cost of building a home rather than the cost of buying. Extensive damage from a hurricane may exceed the limits of a standard homeowners insurance policy, but homeowners can purchase additional coverage such a windstorm policy and a flood policy.
3. How does a hurricane deductible work?
Special deductibles can sometimes apply for homeowners insurance claims when the cause of damage is attributable to a hurricane. Specific “triggers” are selected by the insurance company to determine whether or not the hurricane deductible applies. Hurricane deductibles are often higher than other homeowners policy deductibles, and typically take the form of a percentage of the policy limits. Regardless of the type of deductible, percentage or dollar amount, homeowners have to pay out of pocket for damages until they meet the threshold.
4. Can I purchase additional insurance at the last minute?
If a hurricane is a few days away from making landfall, it is most likely too late to purchase any kind of additional insurance coverage. Not only do some insurance products require evaluation of the home a property, there can also be waiting periods of up to 30 days for coverage to take effect. Some carriers may not even write insurance at all once a named storm has formed.
About Wilmington Insurance Agency
Wilmington Insurance Agency delivers comprehensive coastal property solutions. We are a Managing General Agency and provide independent insurance agents with property and liability insurance solutions for residents and businesses primarily in Maryland and Virginia. We work alongside our sister company, Wilmington Insurance Company, established in 1996 and providing Property & Casualty commercial lines business, homeowners, and condominium insurance in the state of Delaware. To learn more about how we can help you to expand your book of business in the coastal market, contact us at (302) 231-2800.