Review hurricane insurance before storm nears

Published On: Apr 11 2013 06:38:21 AM HST

Having a good insurance policy should be on every homeowner's hurricane checklist.

Once a tropical system threatens the area, many people start checking their insurance policy to make sure they know what is covered, but once a storm gets close enough to the state, it's too late to make changes.

Once a home is damaged, the insurance a policyholder has is what they'll have to use.

But even before the winds howl, it might be too late to make important insurance changes. Insurance companies want people to check their coverages well in advance. Most companies stop making changes once the storm is on the state's doorstep.

"Once it hits that area, we call it the box. Companies suspend our binding authority for new business and also for making any changes to existing policies," insurance agent Rick Combs said.

Overall coverage and deductibles should have been checked weeks ago. The time is now to review policies for the next named storm. Insurance agents said the biggest mistake people make is under insuring. They said not to insure for market value but for replacement value.

"Have the home insured to value, and by that we mean not market value -- or what it can sell for these days -- but insurance replacement value," Combs said.

Most polices have separate hurricane deductibles. Two percent is recommended. If a creek rises and floods a home, the insured will need a separate flood policy to be covered.

There's a 30-day waiting period when it comes to flood insurance, so even if a policy was purchased now, it wouldn't kick in for another month.


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