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Can You Buy Last-Minute Hurricane Insurance?

By , August 29th, 2017 | One Comment

hurricane insurance
As many as 13 million people in Louisiana and Texas have been impacted by Hurricane Harvey. More than 50 counties have flooded and over 30,000 people have been forced into shelters due to the hurricane’s damage.

What is even more terrifying is that there is a chance many of those people don’t have hurricane insurance. There is an estimated $30 billion worth of damage caused by the storm and only about 40 percent of it will be covered by insurance. Without insurance, they will be forced to foot the bill restoring their home (and possibly rebuilding their home in some cases). So, when is the last possible moment you can buy hurricane insurance?

Can You Buy Last-Minute Hurricane Insurance?

Hurricane insurance may seem like something you don’t really need… until you do. Most people who live in areas regularly hit with hurricanes keep the insurance on their homes year-round. However, if you don’t live in a hurricane-heavy area you may just want to purchase it before the hurricane season.

But if you are wondering whether or not you can wait until the hurricane is in your backyard to purchase insurance, the answer is no. Obviously, you won’t be able to open a policy and cash in after the hurricane either.

“Hurricane insurance” is generally broken down into flood insurance and windstorm insurance, both of which have fairly strict rules as to how long they need to be in effect before cashing in on the policy. For instance, most flood insurance requires at least 30 days of the policy being active before you make any claims. USA Today also reported that most windstorm insurances won’t even open a policy with you if a hurricane is within range.

Do You Need Hurricane Insurance?

So, if you’re not able to buy last-minute hurricane insurance, how do you know if you need it?

As mentioned above, if you live in an area that is regularly hit by hurricanes, get insurance. Most homeowners insurance policies will cover wind damages from a hurricane but the flood damage remains the homeowner’s problem. And, even if you do have “hurricane insurance” roped into your homeowner’s there is a good chance you’ll have to meet a high deductible before your insurance company will pay for it.

If your home is an area that floods regularly, buy additional flood insurance. Many insurance companies will require you to have separate insurance for floods on your home. You are also required, by law, to have flood insurance if you live in areas designated as 100-year flood zones, according to The NY Times. However, many homeowners impacted by Hurricane Harvey were not required to have flood insurance and, therefore, did not.

Keep in mind that there are two different kinds of flood insurance (for the building and for personal property). Most policies will cover up to $250,000 damage to the building (including foundation, paneling, carpet, etc.) and $100,000 in personal property (clothing, beds, couches, furniture, etc.).

Of course, there will always be disasters, like Hurricane Sandy, that could have never been prepared for but the is still time to better prepare yourself, your home and your finances for the next storm.

Shopping for insurance? Check out these other great articles: 

Saving Money on Hurricane Insurance

The hurricane season isn’t over until the end of November so if you’re worried about getting your home insured, do it before a storm hits your area!¬†Like most insurances, you’ll want to shop around to get the best deal on hurricane insurance. You can spend anywhere from $300 to $20,000 on a hurricane insurance policy so you’ll want to make sure you’re getting the best coverage at the best price. Here are some helpful tips about hurricane insurance:

  • Always be sure that the insurance you are purchasing is enough to rebuild your home. As you’ve seen, natural disasters can literally flatten your home. Hurricane insurance (flood and windstorm insurance) can be a lifesaver but only if you’ve insured your home for the correct amount. Chat with your insurance agent so that you can pinpoint the right amount.
  • Don’t wait. Seriously, if you live in an area impacted by flooding or hurricanes regularly you are playing a game of Russian Roulette. Start looking for hurricane insurance as soon as possible. Also, remember if a hurricane is headed your way, it gives you less leeway with pricing and it could also prevent you from being able to open a policy.
  • Don’t forget to renew. It is easy to let insurance policies lapse, especially if you haven’t had to use them. Don’t let your hurricane insurance lapse because as soon as it does you’ll have to wait another 30 days until you’re covered again (two hurricanes could happen within that timeframe).

Review Your Policy Now

Essentially, the most important part of having insurance of any kind is to know where you are covered and where you aren’t. Be sure to review your insurance policies and insure that you are covered for what you need. Don’t be afraid to reach out to an agent and chat about your coverage and know for sure you have all the coverage you need.

Want more information? Check out the video below!

Photo: National Geographic Kids

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