by Treva Cassidy, ACSRC, CISR on Sep 7, 2015
We are now officially in the heart of Hurricane season. Here in Massachusetts, we don't often see a large storm (knock on wood) but many people still think we will eventually get a big one as we've had several near misses including Superstorm Sandy a few years ago that devastated the NJ coast only a few hundred miles from our own.
Wind and Flood damage are the most obvious forms of damage people can expect from a Hurricane. You may be wondering what kind of insurance will cover these types of perils and what can you do to protect yourself.
Wind Damage - standard home, condo & renter's policy will cover you for damage from wind, rain and damage from objects hitting your home as a result of the wind. Just be sure to carefully check your policy, you may have a specific Wind Deductible other than you standard policy deductible. Typically, if you have a Wind deductible, it's about 1-2% of your Dwelling Coverage (or Contents if you have a Condo/Renter's policy). If your home is insured for $500,000 and you have a 1% Wind Deductible, you'd be looking at a $5,000 deductible! That may be something to be aware of before you find yourself in a claim situation.
Flood Damage - meaning overflow of surface water or collection of rainwater on the ground that flows into your home. Only a Flood policy will cover a Flood. Believe it or not, if you are not in a special flood hazard zone, a flood policy is very affordable at a few hundred dollars a year. If you are in a special flood hazard zone, you will be looking at much higher prices. If you are, your mortgage company probably already requires you to carry a Flood policy. Flood policies carry a standard 30 day waiting period for new policies that aren't for loan closings so if you are considering getting one, don't wait until the last minute! MA ranks #9 for potential residential exposure to storm surges!
If you carry Comprehensive coverage on your MA auto policy, you will have coverage for Wind, Flood and other types of damages so check you policy and also note your deductible. MA auto policy Comprehensive deductibles almost always apply in the case of a claim.
Other helpful tips to stay prepared:
Keep emergency phone numbers at hand in your cell phone and printed out.
Keep an up to date home inventory of your belongings including photos kept in a secure place such as a safety deposit box along with copies important documents (social security cards, marriage licenses etc).
Keep an emergency kit in your home and car including clothing, food for you and pets, water, flashlights, extra medications etc.
Keep photos of family members & pets stored on your cloud or cell phone in case you are separated in an emergency and you need to locate them.