Picking up the pieces after suffering damage to your home or business from a hurricane can be challenging, to say the least. However, it becomes infinitely more challenging when you find out that your homeowners insurance doesn’t actually cover hurricane damage.
Unfortunately, this is all too common. Many homeowners insurance policies contain loopholes that protect the insurance company from having to pay you what you’re owed rather than protecting your property as it should.
At this point, you may be wondering, “Does my homeowners insurance cover hurricane damage?” Continue reading to learn how to determine whether or not your policy will protect your property from future storm-related damage.
How Much Homeowners Insurance Coverage Do I Need?
To determine how much homeowners insurance coverage you need to protect your property in the event of a hurricane, it’s important to understand the types of coverage that may be included in your policy.
The standard homeowners policy provides protection for the structure of your home, detached units, such as a detached garage or shed, your personal property, and living expenses if you have to move temporarily.
Dwelling coverage refers to the structure of your home, your roof, and your built-in appliances. This coverage is typically equal to the total cost to rebuild your home if it’s destroyed. Detached unit coverage can include garages, sheds, gazebos, and barns. This is typically a percentage of your dwelling coverage.
Personal property may include your clothing, furniture, and appliances. You can get property damage coverage, or insure belongings at replacement cost to get the best replacement value if they’re destroyed.
Finally, you may have coverage for living expenses, which helps you pay for additional expenses if you have to move to a hotel temporarily while your home is repaired.
What Is a Hurricane Deductible?
If your homeowners insurance doesn’t cover special hurricane or wind damage, then you may end up with a separate deductible. This is the amount you pay out of pocket before the insurance company pays their portion. Often, this is higher than the standard homeowners insurance and it is typically a percentage of your dwelling coverage, usually between 1% and 5%.
Most homeowners insurance allows special hurricane deductibles, but you may be able to pay a higher policy premium to lower your total deductible. While deductibles are high, opting out of the coverage in a high-risk hurricane area, such as along the Gulf coast, could leave you with a lot of out-of-pocket expenses.
When determining if your policy covers hurricane damage, it’s important to identify whether or not your coverage includes a separate or special hurricane deductible.
Additional Hurricane Coverage
Hurricane coverage helps with the damage caused by the storm itself, but may not cover the aftermath. Fortunately, you can add to your homeowners insurance policy to cover other potential damage that may occur because of a hurricane. These options include:
- Flood insurance: Flooding after a hurricane is generally not covered by a standard policy. Flood claims often occur in properties outside of high-risk flood zones. Because of this, it’s typically a good idea to buy flood insurance if your area is prone to flooding or storms that lead to floods, such as hurricanes.
- Water backup coverage: Sewage overflow is a common occurrence with hurricanes, and water backup coverage will help protect your home and belongings from damage if sewage backs up into your home.
- Debris removal coverage: Debris removal may be covered by your policy in general, but that usually only applies to a certain amount. Hurricane debris can be extensive and may exceed that limit, so you should check if your policy offers increased debris removal coverage.
Speaking to the Insurance Company
Insurance adjusters may seem friendly, but their goal is to reduce or eliminate financial responsibility for the insurance company itself. When you speak to the insurance company on your own, you could end up saying something that could hurt your claim by accident. In many cases, the adjuster and the insurance company work against the policyholder to save money on claims, especially if your policy or disaster circumstances are vague.
Adjusters can find loopholes or ways to blame damage on circumstances other than the disaster or claim your repair or replacement costs aren’t as high as you think. Because of this, it’s best to contact an experienced hurricane damage lawyer who can seek the maximum amount you’re entitled to from your claim.
How a Hurricane Damage Attorney can Help
Dealing with the aftermath of a disaster is stressful enough. Adding the stress of submitting an insurance claim, dealing with adjusters, and rebuilding can make it seem like your whole world is falling apart. If your loss is significant, you could end up being pressured into taking less money than you deserve. Hiring an experienced property damage attorney can help relieve this stress for you. Your attorney can navigate the claims process for you and will work to build you the strongest claim possible on your behalf.
Call the Disaster Insurance Claims Team at Long & Long, Attorneys at Law
The Disaster Insurance Claims team is part of Long & Long Attorneys at Law, a family-run law firm that handles property damage claims, such as hurricane, tornado, fire, storm, hail, and termite damage. If you’re struggling to recover after a natural disaster, our team is here to help.
We understand the impact storms and natural disasters can have on the community because we experience them, too. In fact, our team was personally affected by Hurricane Ivan in 2005 and, most recently, Hurricane Sally, and Attorney Bennett Long handled the property damage claims for his family. These storms left severe damage in their wake, but because of the work of Attorney Bennett Long and his team at Disaster Insurance Claims, his family was able to recover the funds they needed to rebuild. When you work with our team, you’re part of our family, and we’ll work to carry your burdens as though they’re our own.
We have years of experience helping people rebuild from the devastation of natural disasters and extreme weather. In total, we’ve collected over $500 million in compensation for policyholders after experiencing home or property loss and damage to help them move on and rebuild their lives.
Contact Disaster Insurance Claims at Long & Long, Attorneys at Law for help. We’ll fight for fair compensation for the damage you’ve suffered, so you can focus on moving forward. Call or fill out the online form for your free policy review today.