Is Your Homeowners Insurance Ready for the Next Hurricane?

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  • Hurricane Ian did substantial damage to coastal areas in Florida.
  • It's important for homeowners to have the right insurance coverage in place before a major storm hits.
  • Standard homeowners insurance policies don't cover flood damage, so a separate flood insurance policy will need to be added.

Homeowners need to make sure they aren't at risk of major losses.

Hurricane Ian recently made landfall at Category 4 strength, doing serious damage to coastal areas throughout Florida. Unfortunately, this hurricane is not the first to hit the U.S. and it will not be the last. No one can predict when another storm will come, so homeowners must make sure they have the right insurance coverage in place to protect against losses.

So, how can property owners tell if their insurance is hurricane-ready?

Homeowners should confirm they're covered for all types of hurricane damage

The most important thing property owners need to realize is that their homeowners insurance may not necessarily provide coverage for all hurricane-related damage.

Specifically, standard homeowners insurance policies exclude flood damage. Because of this, homeowners need to make absolutely sure they have a separate flood insurance policy if there is a risk of waters rising where they live. Lenders generally require flood insurance if a home is in a flood zone, but those who don't have loans or who may face some risk of flooding based on where they live should still consider buying coverage, even if doing so is optional.

Homeowners insurance policies typically cover wind damage from hurricanes, but there may be a separate deductible for hurricane-related damage in certain states. Property owners should read their insurance policy carefully so they will be aware of how much they may have to pay out of pocket if a hurricane occurs.

It's also important to realize that a moratorium is placed on the purchase of new home insurance policies when a storm is imminent. So don't wait to get coverage, because by the time a storm's path is known, it may be too late.

Homeowners should make sure they have enough coverage

Homeowners should also be aware that their insurance policy will only pay out up to the policy limits. Since home values have risen in many parts of the country, and since supplies for rebuilding have become much more expensive, property owners should check what their maximum coverage limit is. If it is too low, they may not get enough money to rebuild their home after a hurricane has caused destruction.

It's also impossible to add coverage after the fact. For example, if a homeowner did not have insurance that will pay their added living costs if they have to move out of their home during post-storm repairs, then they may have to pay out of pocket because they can't go back and buy this additional protection once the disaster has already happened. Or if they did not have property damage coverage, they may not receive any money to replace possessions that were in the home and lost in a hurricane.

To make sure a hurricane doesn't cause tremendous financial loss, every property owner who could one day be in the path of a major storm should review their policies carefully to make sure they have the right kinds of coverage and high-enough limits. If they discover they don't, it's best to buy added protection immediately to prevent serious financial disaster later. Otherwise, when the next storm comes, homeowners in its wake could be left with serious regrets.

Our picks for best homeowners insurance companies

There are many homeowners insurance companies to choose from. We’ve researched dozens of options and short-listed our favorites here. Looking for a green build discount or easy bundle policies? Want an easy-to-use interface? Read our free expert review and get a quote today.

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