Why to Review Your Hurricane Coverage Yearly

Photographs By zstock/shutterstock

HURRICANES PROVIDE LITTLE advance notice of their arrival, and insurance companies typically don’t accept new coverage as a storm approaches.

That means it’s usually a good idea to review your insurance coverage yearly to make sure it matches your needs.

An insurance representative also can recommend steps when buying a house or completing improvements that reduce hurricane-related risks and control insurance costs, says Jim Salek, vice president of underwriting programs and loss prevention for USAA.

The recommended improvements, endorsed by the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes, cover roofing materials, garage door fortifications and a variety of other precautions.

“Many of these things don’t cost a lot of money,” Salek says.

During your annual coverage review, consider the following:

Flooding 

  • Flood insurance, which covers losses from rising water, isn’t provided in routine homeowners insurance policies. However, it is available from USAA through the National Flood Insurance Program. Premiums vary depending on how flood-prone the covered property is and how much coverage you desire. Members can use USAA’s Property Risk Assessment tool to see what flood risk their home faces.1 Typically, flood insurance doesn’t become effective until 30 days after purchase.

Windstorm damage

  • Windstorm damage is covered with its own deductible in some homeowners insurance policies, and an entirely separate wind policy might be required in some places. Hurricane and windstorm damage in high-risk coastal areas may only be available through a state-managed insurance pool. It too may have a waiting period before coverage begins.

Temporary living expenses

  • Review your policy’s coverage for temporary living expenses. See how much your policy will pay and how long it will pay after the storm ends.

High-value personal possessions

  • Coverage under USAA’s Valuable Personal Property policies helps replace a homeowner’s costliest possessions, including jewelry and artwork. Typical homeowners policies provide some coverage for those belongings, but it is limited and could keep you from reacquiring the full value of lost items.

Personal belongings

  • Renters insurance can cover the loss of renters’ personal belongings, which are not covered by the landlord’s insurance. Renters can get temporary living expense coverage in their rental policies, and their belongings should be covered if stolen.

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¹The USAA Property Risk Assessment Tool has been developed to provide you information regarding selected risks at a specific property location from third-party data available to USAA. It may help you to identify risks and possible mitigation measures. No opinion regarding the market value or marketability of the property is intended or expressed. No opinion or guarantee of insurability, or premium amount is intended or expressed.

Use of the term “member” or “membership” does not convey any eligibility rights for auto and property insurance products, or legal or ownership rights in USAA. Membership eligibility and product restrictions apply and are subject to change.

The typical homeowners policy doesn’t include flood coverage, and in some locations, you may also need to obtain a wind-only insurance policy. Flood insurance can be purchased separately through the National Flood Insurance Program. The maximum limits of coverage available on the federal flood policy for residences are $250,000 on the building and $100,000 on contents. If you need additional flood insurance coverage beyond these amounts, you can contact USAA Insurance Agency which works with other insurance companies that provide excess flood coverage.

Flood insurance is not underwritten by USAA or its affiliates, and is provided by USAA General Indemnity Company, through an arrangement with the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The Federal government has financial responsibility for underwriting losses.

USAA means United Services Automobile Association and its insurance, banking, investment and other companies. Banks Member FDIC. Investments provided by USAA Investment Management Company and USAA Financial Advisors Inc., both registered broker dealers. 

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