Hurricane season is on its way, and it will soon be time to start batting down the hatches. If you've been a Florida resident for a long time, you're used to the challenges of the season. However, if you're new to the state or perhaps you've just left home, you might not feel quite so confident. One of the things that everyone needs to remember, no matter how long they have lived in Florida, is to have a homeowner's insurance checkup. It's vital to do this before the storms begin so that you can ensure you have enough coverage to repair or replace your home, and it just might get you a discount on your insurance rates.
Remember, too, that checking your insurance is your responsibility. No one is going to call you and remind you to do it. It's up to you to check your policy and what it covers so that when there is a hurricane, you know you won't be out of pocket. But what if you bought your policy, read it over, and are confident you know what's in it? You still should check it because almost yearly, insurers change their policies. Sometimes coverages change or things are dropped. Many people have assumed they're safe due to the relative quiet of the last decade when in fact they are not. If you don't have a copy of your policy's rules, you can look online or request it from your insurance agent.
So if you’re now committed to the review, here is what to look for:
Will your insurance pay enough to cover severe damages. It's great if it will cover a broken window or a hole in the roof, but there's always the potential for disaster. If your property is destroyed and your insurance doesn't cover it, you'll be out of a home. Your coverage limits need to be enough to pay for rebuilding or repairing your home to make it liveable. You need to ensure your home is insured for the insurance value, not the real estate value.
Everyone has to pay a little bit of money when they need to make repairs or replace damaged property. You should know how much your insurance deductible is and how to pay for it. It's easy to find out the sum so that you can prepare yourself, and it's always a good idea to have an emergency fund that you can use to cover any unexpected expenses. If you need to pay for something that doesn't go over your deductible, there's no point making a claim. There are minimum amounts for hurricane deductibles and if your property is insured for less than $100,000, the deductible will be at least $500. For properties over that amount, the minimum is 2 percent of the insured amount.
If you want your home to be insured against flooding, you need a separate policy. You can look at the National Flood Insurance Program. There are also some private insurance providers for flood protection. Flood insurance will cover any damage that might be caused by flooding, including from a hurricane. Your homeowner's insurance won't cover this so if you're worried, this extra policy could ease your mind.
Update Your Inventory
Keeping an inventory of your possessions and various parts of your home is always smart. If you already do it, it might be time for an update. If you have never had one before, you should start one. Get out your camera and walk around the house, taking photos of your most important items. If you ever need to file a claim with your insurance, it will be easier to provide evidence of the things you need to repair or replace. There are tools you can find online to create an inventory with ease.
Get a Discount on Your Insurance
You might be able to reduce the cost of your insurance by making some changes to your home. For example, having hurricane protection features makes your property less likely to sustain damage and insurers might offer you a lower price. The location of your home and how old it is could also make a difference. Make sure your insurance provider has the full facts about your property.
Don't be late on this checkup. Do it before hurricane seasons officially begins.
For More Information
If you are not sure about your home's readiness for Florida's annual hurricane season or have general questions about how to ready your home for hurricane season, then we can help. Call Brock Law today at (813) 333-7267 or send us a message through our website and a member of our team will get you the information you need.