Before hurricane damage or other loss, such as theft or vandalism, occurs to your home of business, you need to take the time to be sure that you have the correct insurance coverage. Depending on your circumstances, a simple homeowners insurance policy or business general liability policy may not be enough. Making sure you are covered before the hurricane and contacting an insurance claim lawyer, may save you a good deal of heartache and money down the road.
What do Typical Homeowners Insurance Policies Cover?
Standard homeowners policies generally cover a variety of potential disasters, from tornadoes and windstorms to fire and winter storm damage caused by the weight of ice and snow. Most homeowners policies include all the following catastrophes:
There are other items that are covered, however, not all of the above may be included within your policy. You also need to discuss with your carrier, coverage for hurricane-related damage, including water entry into your home.
Property owners should also make an informed decision on whether to get coverage that included Replacement Cost Value or Actual Cost Value. Replacement cost is what you would pay to rebuild or repair your home, based on current construction costs. Actual cash value is what you would pay to rebuild or replace your property minus depreciation. Depreciation is a decrease in value due to wear and tear or age. If your home is destroyed and you only have actual cash value coverage, you may not be able to completely rebuild. If you’re insurance company is denying your claim, you need a hurricane damage claim lawyer.
Do you Need Flood Insurance?
Typical homeowners and renters insurance policies do not cover floods. Often in hurricanes, homes are damaged by rising flood waters created by the Storm Surge.
Flood coverage, however, is available in the form of a separate policy both from the National Flood Insurance Program – NFIP (888-379-9531) and from a few private insurers.
While you can chose to get replacement cost coverage for the structure of your home. However, the coverage available for your possessions may be limited to their cash value. There may also be limits on coverage for furniture and other items stored in your basement if you have one.
Flood insurance is available for renters as well as homeowners. You will need flood insurance if you live in a designated flood zone. You should also consider buying flood insurance if you live near a creek or bayou. As we have seen recently, our rivers and bayous have overflowed their banks quite regularly.
It is important not to wait until there is a flood to seek out coverage. There is a 30-day waiting period before federal flood coverage takes effect.
What Coverage do I need for my Business?
Standard business insurance covers losses such as destroyed furniture, stolen properly, or damage to an office building. This may help with replacing property, but what happens when your business shuts down due to a storm? This is often referred to as business interruption insurance.
Even though your business may need to shut down because of a storm, your bills do not stop coming. Your bills may even increase with the need to replace inventory or move to a new location. Before the storm happens, you need to look into business interruption coverage. You will want your business interruption insurance to cover:
- Lost revenue during the closure
- Expenses, such as rent and utilities
- The cost of operating at a new location
- The expense of advertising a new place of business, if necessary
To receive coverage, there must be physical damage to the property housing the business from a covered event. Also, the insurance company will look to past revenue to determine lost revenue. It is important to keep accurate records of income and an accurate projection of sales and future expenses. Record keeping is crucial to making this type of claim.
Also, it is critical to openly and comprehensively discuss the needs of your business when placing the coverage. Not all business interruption policies are created equally. If your business interruption policy is placed in connection with your commercial property insurance, your coverage is limited to events covered under that policy. For example, if your commercial property insurance coverage does not include hurricanes, your business interruption policy will not cover losses as a result of a hurricane.
Understanding your Hurricane Damage Deductible
The deductible is your portion of the loss. The deductible is the amount of your claim that you must pay. There are two kinds of wind damage deductibles: hurricane deductibles and windstorm or wind/hail deductibles, which apply to any wind damage.
Whether a hurricane deductible applies to a claim depends upon your policy. Policies differ on whether the National Weather Service (NWS) officially names the offending storm a tropical storm, declares a hurricane watch or warning, or defines a hurricane’s intensity regarding wind speed.
Discuss your deductible with your insurer when you place the policy. Your deductible may simply be a higher payment or may be a percentage of your policy. Either way, hurricane damage deductibles tend to be higher than your deductible would be if you were making, for example, a fire damage claim. A hurricane damage claims lawyer can help.
Have Questions about your Hurricane Damage Claim, get Answers
If your home or business has been sustained hurricane damage or if you have questions about what coverage you need before the hurricane, The Law Office of Mynor E. Rodriguez is here to answer your questions. Dealing with insurance companies can be a difficult task. Let Mynor Rodriguez fight for you. Contact the firm today.