What you need to know about hurricane insurance before the storm

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Getting your hurricane kit together is a must, but what happens when the storm comes and your home or belongings are damaged? Are you prepared for that? Will your insurance cover you?

For most people, their home is the most important thing they own. No one wants to think about insurance, but what happens if it’s damaged during a hurricane or in a flood? 
Zephyr Insurance Company president Tim Johns explained the ins and outs of hurricane insurance coverage.

“Normally hurricane coverage is for wind coverage. So if the wind comes and damages your roof and water comes in there, that’s hurricane coverage and you can get a recovery depending on your damages,” Johns explained.

But hurricane insurance does not cover flooding.

“If water washes up from storm surge, or there’s an overflow of a stream, or water backed-up into the house, then that’s flood coverage,” Johns said.

Johns said that flood insurance is the most needed and least purchased because it’s not required by mortgage companies. He also urged people to make sure to purchase insurance before a hurricane watch or warning is issued.

“Once there’s been a hurricane watch or a hurricane warning issued in the state of Hawaii or in the county where the property is, it triggers the coverage for the insurance company, but it also triggers a moratorium, which means no policies or no additional coverage will be issued from then and until 72 hours after the warning is lifted,” Johns said.

It’s also important to know that hurricane coverage does not cover damage if a system is downgraded to a tropical storm when it hits your property.

“We cover hurricane winds, we cover hurricane watch, if a tropical storm watch gets issued we don’t cover that,” Johns explained.

Here are steps you can take to ensure your home and property are properly insured:

Call your insurance agent to go over exactly what your policy covers
Take precautions to secure your home
Track storm so you know when its coming
Take an inventory of your belongings

One of the easiest ways to do that is by taking photos of your home and belongings using your cell phone before the storm.

“Photographing what their house looks like now so that there’s no questions afterwards what damage was caused and then also all the contents inside so if they want to make a claim for their TV or stereo or any  of that kind of stuff you have pictures of it and its a lot easier. It makes the process much smoother,” Johns said.

What happens if your car is damaged in a hurricane or flood? Johns said its unlikely that regular liability insurance would cover that kind of damage. More comprehensive auto insurance would be more likely to cover flood or hurricane damage, but the best way to know is to check with your auto insurer.

Additional information about hurricane insurance can be found here.

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