We have all heard the adage, April showers bring May flowers. For those of us living along the coast, we know what May flowers bring…Hurricane Season. And, just like every flower is different so is every hurricane season. Some are active, some are mild, and some are dangerous. It is crucial to plan and prepare. Making sure you have adequate homeowner's coverage and flood insurance are critical pieces of disaster preparedness.
Insuring Your Home
Making sure you have the right coverage for a hurricane is very important in case you have to file insurance claims for damage. Understanding your coverage limits will help you protect your personal property in the case of a natural disaster.
An insurance deductible is an amount you pay before the insurance company pays its share of an insured loss. If your home or property is judged as a total loss, the insured value can be either paid at the actual cash value or its replacement cost. Proper coverage is important especially in high-risk areas to ensure your home and belongings are replaced if damaged during a hurricane.
Homeowners insurance usually has a separate deductible for hurricanes and windstorms versus other insured perils. Be sure to check your policy to confirm your hurricane deductible. A homeowner must pay the deductible before the insurer covers damage or destruction caused by a hurricane. However, flood damage is not covered by this insurance. You must purchase separate flood insurance to have this protection.
Homeowners Insurance Policy
A standard homeowners insurance policy does not include flood insurance. In addition to your home insurance policy, you will need to have a separate flood insurance policy in place.
Homeowners insurance covers the interior and exterior of a home and your personal belongings from specifically covered perils. Homeowners insurance also provides personal liability protection for damages to others.
Renters Insurance Policy
A standard renters insurance policy does not come with flood insurance either. As a tenant, you need to buy flood insurance to protect your belongings. Your landlord is not responsible for damage to your property, he is only responsible for the building. Renters can (and should) purchase flood insurance to protect their contents. Unless you live in a high-rise apartment, you could be subject to flooding. Purchasing flood insurance for your contents allows peace of mind knowing you can replace your furnishings, clothing, and personal items that are destroyed in a flood.
Types of Hurricane Damage
Wind-Driven Water Damage: Water damage can permanently impair the structure of your home and if not treated can cause mold which may make you and your family sick.
Flood Damage: Flood damage, or rising water, can result in structural damage such as unstable floors, roof, or foundation fissures and can also cause frayed electrical wires in your home. Although you may not live in a flood-prone area, your home can still withstand considerable damage with only an inch of flood water. Purchasing flood insurance is the best thing you can do to protect your home, your business, and your family’s financial security.
There are many misunderstandings about flood insurance. Flood damage is usually excluded from homeowner's and renter's policies. To be protected from rising water (flood), you must purchase a separate policy called flood insurance. You can purchase flood insurance from your home insurance agent and it can be surprisingly affordable.
Wind Damage: Wind damage can destroy the roof of your home by tearing off shingles, damaging chimneys, and creating leaks. High winds could also cause trees to fall on your home. Hurricanes and tornadoes are examples of wind damage. This coverage is usually provided on a homeowners policy but sometimes a separate wind policy must be purchased.
Get Insurance Coverage from TDECU
Do not wait until the last minute! Unless you are purchasing a new property, flood insurance requires a 30-day waiting period before the coverage goes into effect. You can not wait until a storm is brewing in the gulf if you want coverage.
TDECU will guide you through available insurance coverage to help secure your home. We are here to help you understand what is and is not covered on your insurance policy and help you get the coverage you need to ensure the safety of you and your family.
Here Are Some Additional Tips to Keep in Mind for This Season
- Stay informed by listening to your local news channels for important updates. You can also download the FEMA app to receive real-time alerts from the National Weather Service. Be aware of the Emergency Alert System in your area.
- Have a plan ready in the event evacuation is necessary. Be sure to turn off all utilities and follow community disaster preparedness plans. Visit Ready.gov for more information.
- Secure the exterior of your home by trimming large trees and shrubs. Bring outside patio furniture, potted plants, and toys inside.
- Protect windows and doors with appropriate shutters or nail pieces of plywood to window frames.
- Make sure you have your belongings documented by taking pictures and/or videos of them.
- Move cars to higher ground. Avoid parking under trees, power lines, and low-lying areas.
- Fill your car’s gas tank, make sure your cell phones are charged, purchase backup charging devices to power your electronics, test your generator and have plenty of fuel ready in case of power outages.
- Make sure your insurance policies and personal documents are up to date. Make copies and keep them in a secure password-protected digital space, if possible.
- Prepare an emergency kit with flashlights, portable radio, extra batteries, non-perishable food, bottled water, cash, blankets, clothing, and toiletries.
- Have enough supplies for your household, including medication, disinfectant supplies, masks, and pet supplies.
- Identify a shelter room within your home. This area should be on the first floor in the central part of the house with no windows.
- Never drive into water - Turn around. Don't drown.
At TDECU, your safety and security is our top priority. Even though we cannot predict if this hurricane season will impact us, we are ready to continue serving you throughout these types of natural disasters by providing you access to your TDECU accounts through free digital banking, at TDECU and surcharge-FREE Allpoint® ATMs, or by using your TDECU VISA® debit card or Mastercard® credit card.