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Hurricane protection: will insurance cover disaster damage

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) predicts Hurricane Laura will hit the Gulf Coast late Wednesday, August 26, or early Thursday morning, August 27. Millions of people had to evacuate, but will the insurance cover all the damage? Writes about it USA Today.

Photo: Shutterstock

The NHC predicted that before landfall, Laura would be a major Category 3 hurricane, with wind speeds of about 115 mph (243 km per hour).

“Residents of the Texas and Louisiana coastline should anticipate the possibility that Laura will rapidly intensify all the way to landfall,” said meteorologist Jeff Masters of Yale Climate Connections.

Hurricane and storm surge warnings have been issued for parts of the Texas and Louisiana coasts.

As the storm approached, more than half a million people were ordered to evacuate, including from the Texas cities of Beaumont, Galveston and Port Arthur.

Forecasters have warned that in addition to strong winds, the hurricane is expected to bring a huge storm surge ashore, which could reach 13 feet (almost 4 m) near the Texas-Louisiana border.

“There is a danger of a life-threatening storm surge over much of the Gulf Coast from the San Luis Pass (Texas) to the mouth of the Mississippi River,” the NHC said.

How much the insurance will cover the damage

The answer depends a lot on the disaster. Damage from many natural disasters is covered by standard insurance. But in some cases, additional insurance is required to cover the damage. USA Today.

Even if your insurance covers the risk of a natural disaster, it may not be enough. Many homeowners and renters do not have adequate protection to cover all of their losses.

What damage does the insurance cover

Standard insurance covers damage caused by most hazards, including tornadoes, hurricanes, violent storms, rain, wind, and fires. The insurance company will pay for repairs to the structure of the property and other detached structures such as a garage or garden shed - usually about 10% of the insured amount of the main building.

The insurance policy also covers property inside the house - usually from 50% to 70% of the amount insured. Landscaping items such as trees and shrubs typically cost around $ 500 apiece, according to Loretta Warhers, vice president of the Insurance Information Institute.

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The apartment's insurance policy covers the property and some structural elements, for example, drywall in the apartment. Condominium insurance must cover damage to the building. Tenant insurance only covers your property - often with the exception of household appliances - but the landlord must have a policy covering the structural elements of the apartment.

What damage is not covered

Flood and ground movement damage, including earthquakes, landslides and sinkholes, are excluded from homeowners, apartment and tenant insurance.

To get flood protection, you must purchase a separate policy from the National Flood Insurance Program and others.

In case of earthquakes, you must purchase a separate policy from a private insurance company. Some insurance policies may also exclude specific weather in certain areas where it is common, such as hurricanes for coastal states.

Any other cover

Insurance for homeowners, apartments or renters will reimburse you for any additional costs you incur because you are unable to live in your damaged home, such as hotel bills, meals, and laundry costs.

“Insurance covers only those expenses that you would not normally have,” says Worths. "It is also limited either by a percentage of your home's coverage limit or by time, so check your policy to see what type of coverage you have."

Any theft or damage to your home by burglars or vandals following a natural disaster is also covered by insurance.

What about uncovered damages

You can deduct personal property losses not covered by your insurance, but only if the damage was caused by a federally declared disaster. This is a significant change in line with the new tax reform law.

Homeowners and renters can also apply for a long-term federal loan at a low interest rate from the Small Business Association to help pay for disaster losses. You can borrow up to $ 200 to renovate your home and up to $ 000 to replace your property.

Insurance preparation

Your insurer can only cover what it knows you have lost. This is why it is so important to keep accurate records for filing future claims.

Make sure your insurance policy accurately describes your home, including square footage, number of rooms, age, and materials it was built from. It should also consider any recent improvements like a new roof or water heater, and upgrades like adding a room or a new pool.

It is also important to have an inventory of your property. It can be difficult to remember what you owned after an emotional disaster.

The easiest way to take inventory ahead of time is to walk through every room and closet and record every item on your smartphone video. If possible, mark the make and model of items, especially household appliances.

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Rare or expensive items such as art, collectibles, or jewelry require additional coverage beyond standard insurance and must first be assessed before issuing a separate policy.

Store your inventory book and insurer contact information somewhere other than your home or digitally where you can access them at any time.

Car insurance

If your auto insurance policy includes comprehensive coverage, then your insurer will pay the cost of repairing your car from any hazard such as severe weather or just a fallen branch. Unlike home insurance, a car policy usually covers the cost of flood damage.

Your car insurance will often cover the cost of renting a car during the repair. In some cases, this part is not automatically enabled, so you will have to purchase this coverage at an additional cost.

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