Home Matters – Loss prevention tips for all your home matters

The Importance of Being Prepared

Hurricane season lasts from June through November, when storms with heavy rains and catastrophic winds can severely damage or destroy homes in low-lying coastal areas. There is no time like the present to work together to create emergency kits: one for use if you need to evacuate your home and one for use if you get trapped in your home for several days.

PREPARING FOR A HURRICANE

Here are some suggestions on what to do before, during and after a storm.

Before:

  • Refill prescriptions, fill up your car’s gas tank and withdraw a week’s worth of cash.
  • Store valuable papers and items in waterproof bags.
  • Cover windows and secure any outdoor items.
  • If you are told to evacuate, do so immediately.

During:

  • Tune into a battery-operated radio or TV and follow instructions.
  • Seek shelter in an interior room away from windows, such as a closet.

After:

  • Stay inside until an “all-clear” is issued. If you have evacuated, don’t return until the area is re-opened.
  • When inspecting your home, wear sturdy shoes and clothing for protection.
  • Allow only those trained to turn off damaged utilities and appliances.
  • Use only bottled water until tap water is determined safe.
  • Contact your agent promptly to report damages. Be patient, as delays are likely.

Safety First

Plan evacuation routes and designate a “post-disaster contact” that family members know to call after a hurricane. Stock up on items such as a week’s supply of bottled water and canned goods, along with a manual can/bottle opener, flashlight, battery-operated radio or television, nails, tarps and plywood. Keep an up-to-date log (including photos/videotape) of your possessions and review your insurance policy coverage annually.

 

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Home Matters – Preparing for a Hurricane

 

Hurricane Insurance: What Homeowners and Renters Should Know?

Tropical storms and hurricanes can cause major property damage. If you live in an at-risk area, be sure your home is protected. 

Peak hurricane season runs from mid-August to late October, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The organization predicts storms for the East Coast this year, and there’s a 70-percent chance that up to six could become full-fledged hurricanes — with sustained winds of 75 mph or higher. As a homeowner or renter, you may wonder, “Do I have enough insurance protection to withstand a potential hurricane?” Unfortunately, you might not want to hear the answer.

If you’re a homeowner

Like any responsible homeowner, you’ve got a standard homeowners insurance policy. And even though most policies offer a wide range of protections, hurricanes may only be partially covered.

When purchasing a home insurance policy, you want enough dwelling coverage to completely rebuild your home if it is destroyed by a covered peril. Remember, this is the cost to rebuild your home, which isn’t the same as what you originally paid to purchase it.

Not sure if you have enough dwelling coverage? Use a home insurance calculator to help estimate your home’s replacement value and then compare it to the amount of coverage on your policy. If you are a current or prospective customers we are always willing to review your policy or provide a quote at no cost to you.

If you’re a renter

If you live in an apartment, your building is likely covered by your landlord’s policy. It’s up to you, however, to purchase protection for the items in your apartment.

The perils covered by your policy depend on your specific policy and provider. Generally, wind, lightning and hail damage — all common during hurricanes — are included as covered perils. Water damage, however, can be a different story.

Flood insurance is extra

When it comes to water damage, matters can get a little complicated in regards to home and renters insurance. Standard home insurance policies often include some coverage for water damage — if a pipe breaks, for example. But if your home is damaged by flooding, you’ll be in trouble without a flood insurance policy.

With hurricanes bringing powerful storm surges and excessive rain, flooding is common — think Superstorm Sandy from late October 2012. If a flood damages your house, you could be out a lot of money.

According to the National Flood Insurance Program, just a few inches of flood water can cause tens of thousands of dollars in damage. The program’s website,FloodSmart.gov, lists hurricanes as a common but often overlooked cause of flooding. If you weren’t already required by your mortgage lender to purchase a flood policy, you can do so through the NFIP.

Special hurricane deductibles

Suppose a hurricane hits your house, causing wind damage. Now you’ve got to file a claim, but you might find out your policy treats hurricanes differently than other perils. In fact, it might even have a special deductible for them.

A deductible is the amount you agree to pay out-of-pocket toward a claim. Common deductibles are $500 or $1,000. The deductible has an inverse relationship with your premium — all other things being equal, higher deductibles generally result in lower premiums. However, be sure you can afford your deductible if you need to pay it.

Many home insurance policies on the East Coast have hurricane or wind deductibles. Unlike traditional deductibles, hurricane and wind deductibles are set at a percentage of the home’s value. For example, if your home’s insured value is $300,000 and the hurricane deductible on your policy is set at 3 percent, you would pay $9,000 out-of-pocket before your insurer would step in.

Hurricane and wind deductible details and percentages vary depending on your provider and the state you live in. If you aren’t sure whether you have a hurricane deductible, call your insurer to check the details of your policy.

Additional coverage gaps

Besides flooding, there may be other coverage gaps lurking in your home insurance policy. For example, you may not have enough protection for your personal items. Contents coverage is what protects the items in your home, but it has limits — usually 50 to 70 percent of the insured value of the house.

The best way to make sure the value of your possessions doesn’t exceed your coverage limits is to compile a home inventory — a listing, complete with photos and any receipts you might have, of your possessions. In addition to helping you determine the value of your possessions and whether you need more contents coverage, a home inventory can help speed the claims process.

However, there’s another potential problem. Some policies limit payouts for certain high-value items such as jewelry or artwork. Talk to your provider about scheduling endorsements to fully cover such items.

It pays to be prepared

Don’t wait until a storm is in the forecast to think about insurance. Call your insurance provider now and get to know the details and limits of your policy.

Throughout hurricane season and beyond, you want to have peace of mind that your investment is fully protected.

For more information on how to protect your home and your family before a storm, check out this hurricane disaster guide.

 

Source Credit: http://www.zillow.com/blog/hurricane-insurance-179591/ (Samantha Alexander)

 

Preparing for the 2016 Hurricane Season

HOME MATTERS

The Importance of Being Prepared

Hurricane season lasts from June through November, when storms with heavy rains and catastrophic winds can severely damage or destroy homes in low-lying coastal areas. There is no time like the present to work together to create emergency kits: one for use if you need to evacuate your home and one for use if you get trapped in your home for several days.

Here are some suggestions on what to do before, during and after a storm.

BEFORE:

  • Refill prescriptions, fill up your car’s gas tank and withdraw a week’s worth of cash
  • Store valuable papers and items in waterproof bags
  • Cover windows and secure any outdoor items
  • If you are told to evacuate, do so immediately

DURING:

  • Tune into a battery-operated radio or TV and follow instructions
  • Seek shelter in an interior room away from windows, such as a closet

AFTER:

  • Stay inside until an “all-clear” is issued. If you have evacuated, don’t return until the area is re-opened
  • When inspecting your home, wear sturdy shoes and clothing for protection
  • Allow only those trained to turn off damaged utilities and appliances
  • Use only bottles water until tap water is determined safe
  • Contact your agent promptly to report damages. Be patient, as delays are likely.

To download a printable version of the information provided please click the link below:

Home Matters – Preparing for a Hurricane

How is El Nino Impacting The South East

El NinoEl Nino actually isn’t all that bad like most of us think. The global impacting climate cycle know as El Nino will bring a cooler, wetter climate to our area helping to reduce hurricane activity in the Atlantic and wildfires.

However, there will be increased chances for severe storms throughout the winter along with greater chances of flooding.

Homeowners and Businessowners Insurance does NOT cover flooding! There is a 30-day waiting period before flood insurance goes into affect, so don’t wait.

With an increased chance of flooding this spring now is the time to either add a flood policy or update an existing policy. Even just 2 inches of water can cause in excess of $20,000 in flood damages!

If you have questions about flood insurance we can help 850.770.7047

Life Insurance Awareness Month – September

To make sure Americans are reminded of the need to include life insurance in their financial plans, the nonprofit Life Happens coordinates Life Insurance Awareness Month. Each September, Life Happens is joined in this educational initiative by more than 100 of the nation’s leading insurance companies and industry groups.

Head over to www.lifehappens.org to learn more about the importance of Life Insurance or call us today to discuss your specific needs.

850.770.7047

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