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FAQ’s and Info to Keep on Hand in Case of Hurricane Damage

Hello Everyone.  We have had many calls from clients wanting to know about how their insurance policy works with hurricane damage.  Here are some common questions we have reviewed:

Am I covered for hurricanes?  The answer is you are insured for most of the perils that are created by hurricanes.  Typical perils we expect to encounter are wind damage, damage from falling trees, water intrusion from damaged roofs or windows, damage from lightning strikes, hail damage…  There are other scenarios, but these are pretty common.

The big problem that is not addressed by your homeowners’, condo or renters’ insurance is damage from flooding.  Flooding is defined as water that gets into your residence from the ground up.  This could be anything from a river overflowing to rain water run off that gets into your house.  Homeowners’ insurance specifically excludes flood damage.

Can I buy flood insurance?  Yes, but there is a 30 day wait until the coverage begins.  If you are concerned with flooding, please give us a call and we will be happy to give you a proposal on flood insurance.  If you are not in a designated flood zone, the premium is surprisingly affordable.  A typical flood insurance policy costs around $450 a year. 

If my neighbor’s tree falls on my house, who pays the damages?  Your insurance policy is responsible for the damages, not your neighbor’s policy.

My sump pump failed and water damaged my basement … am I covered?  You may have coverage on your policy, however you need an endorsement called water back up and sump discharge and overflow.  This coverage is optional and is not on every policy.

If my car is damaged from the storm, am I covered?  As long as you have comprehensive coverage on the vehicle, you are covered for storm damage. 

If trees fall in my yard, does my insurance pay to remove the trees?  It depends.  Generally, if a tree falls and lands on a structure, like your house, a fence or storage shed, your policy will pay to have the tree removed.  If your tree falls and does not land on a covered structure, generally there is no coverage to remove the tree.

Am I covered for loss of property value if we lose decorative trees and consequently our property is not as valuable? Unfortunately, the answer is no.   

If we have to move out because of storm damage, how does my insurance policy help?  If your home is uninhabitable because of covered storm damage, most policies will help with the extra costs you will incur, like hotel rooms, food costs and other expenses with having to move out.  Some policies will even pay your mortgage while you are out of the house.  This policy is called “loss of use”.   On a related note, If you have a rental property that is damaged and your tenant has to move out, most policies pay for loss or rents, up to a period of 12 months.

Large weather events have a way of bringing up unforeseen circumstances.  If you have a question not addressed in this post, feel to contact our office at 919-875-8889.  Please be safe!

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