Insurance & Federal Benefits
Your homeowner’s insurance policy may not be sufficient to cover repairs in the event of property loss. It is important to familiarize yourself with the specifics of your policy, as many standard policies don’t offer protection against severe weather or natural disasters (see ‘act of God’ clause1).
Many polices include water damage protection for incidents such as sewer backup and leaks due to heavy rain, but not damage caused by storm surges or flash floods. Flooding is the most common natural disaster in the U.S., and the cost of the average flood insurance claim is $30,0002. If you live near a flood plain, it is in your best interest to take out a flood insurance policy on your property to ensure that there are no coverage gaps in the event of a disaster. Homes or buildings that are within high-risk areas may be required by law to maintain a flood insurance policy.
You may also need a supplemental insurance policy to protect your home against earthquakes. Like other additional protection plans, premiums are influenced by property location and the building materials in use. Earthquake insurance coverage is also influenced by proximity to fault lines and local soil composition. Homes or businesses located in higher-risk areas with weak soil will typically have more expensive coverage. According to NBC News3, premiums for earthquake insurance range from $800 to $5,000 annually, and deductibles are typically 15 percent of the total value of the home.
The good news is that most homeowner’s insurance policy coverage extends protection for wind damage4. It may also offer coverage for water damage when it occurs as a result from wind damage, such as when roof damage occurs. If your policy includes coverage for wind damage claims, a deductible will typically apply5. Your deductible – the amount you pay out of pocket before your insurance pays for a covered claim – will be listed in your policy. Some policies have specific deductibles for damage caused by windstorms and hail, or by tropical cyclones or hurricanes. An insurance agent can help you review or adjust your deductible amounts to fit your needs.
You should speak to your insurance agent to discuss your options. In the meantime, here are some links that can guide you through the insurance process.
- Estimating Flood Loss Potential
- Finding Hidden Holes in Your Homeowners Insurance Policy
- How to File an Insurance Claim After a Natural Disaster
- Is It Time to Give Your Insurance Policies a Checkup?
- Mistakes to Avoid When Filing an Insurance Claim
- National Flood Insurance Program: A Homebuyers’ Guide
- Office of the Flood Insurance Advocate
- Should You Have Flood Insurance?