Homeowners all across the country are at risk of falling victim to a natural disaster. From floods to tornadoes to earthquakes, every region is at risk for a severe weather event.
Those on the East Coast are currently dealing with the effects of Hurricane Florence. Southwestern states like Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi, etc. are no strangers to hurricanes, but we’ve also had our fair share of tornadoes and thunderstorms.
Before securing a policy for homeowners insurance, you’ll want to be familiar with the natural disasters local to your area. Be sure that you’re getting the best coverage for your location. Unfortunately, it’s only after severe weather hits that some homeowners realize they weren’t properly insured.
One especially important note is to specifically inquire about flood insurance. Homeowners in nearly every state are at risk for flooding, but most standard home insurance policies do not cover flood damage. It’s also important to remember that flood policies won’t kick in until 30 days after they’re purchased unless it is tied to a loan closing. The day before a huge storm isn’t the best time to realize you forgot to call for flood insurance. Oftentimes insurance companies will put a moratorium on “New Business” when a known storm is on the way to prevent people without flood insurance purchasing just before the storm hits.
Be Vigilant with Your Policy
Home insurance isn’t a bill you should pay and forget about. Your policy is an important part of your home’s overall security because you never know when disaster will strike. The insurance coverage required by your mortgage company often isn’t enough. They only care about the structure based on the loan amount, which often times the loan is less than the actual cost to rebuild. Also, keep in mind that they don’t care about your personal belongings, so you want to make sure that you have enough personal property coverage. In short, your home’s market value and its replacement cost are two very different numbers. You want to make sure you have the right coverage for furniture and personal belongings in your home.
You should also notify your insurer when you make any major renovations that would add to the value of your home. If you neglect to disclose that you built an addition onto your home or otherwise remodeled, it is a gamble that could cost you in the long run. Upfront honesty will only be an advantage in the event that you need to file a claim.
“But I Only Rent”
Even if you only rent a property, you should still have renters insurance to cover all your personal property in the case of an emergency. Your wardrobe alone could be worth thousands of dollars, so the cost of insurance is inexpensive considering the potential benefits.
Make it Easy on Yourself
Technology is a beautiful thing. Because most of us carry smartphones everywhere, it’s easy to record damage following any destruction.
As a preventative measure, it’s also important to inventory your possessions once a year. By either writing them down or taking photos of every room, you’ll save yourself from scrambling to inventory from memory alone.
To know if you’re fully covered in the event of a natural disaster or severe weather event, call your insurance agent. They’ll be able to review your policy and give you more information specific to your situation.