Welcome, readers! This is Abri News, where you’ll find helpful policy information to assist you in finding the best coverage for your needs. We cover a variety of topics here, including insurance plans, types of coverage, claim adjustments, conditions and clauses. Our most recent article will give you the information you need to determine the level of workers compensation insurance required by your state! If you’re unsure whether you’re working within a high-risk profession, our last article is a great resource. Check out ‘A Comprehensive Overview of Workers Compensation Insurance’ for more detailed information!
Hurricane Ida made history as the second most damaging storm to ever strike Louisiana. On August 27th, the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, the Category 4 hurricane made landfall at Port Fourchon, Louisiana. Tied for the strongest hurricane to make landfall there with Hurricane Laura (2020) and Last Island Hurricane (1856), Hurricane Ida had sustained winds of up to 150 mph. It was also the sixth costliest tropical cyclone to hit the United States, costing about $50 billion in damages. After breaking multiple rainfall records, Ida precipitated major flooding in cities like New York and New Jersey. The hurricane was responsible for an estimated 109 deaths, between the United States and Venezuela.
Hurricane season extends from June 1st to November 30th, thus encompassing the entirety of summer and a good portion of fall. Hurricane Ida was only the ninth named storm during a season in which scientists predicted at least thirteen. As climate change alters weather patterns all over the globe, we can expect even more extreme weather in the future.
Hurricanes can be a deadly mix of wind and water. Even a Category 1 hurricane can cause damage to roofs, gutters, and siding with its 74 mph winds. As well, storm surge can cause flooding. Downed power lines might mean loss of power for a few days. Now, a Category 2 hurricane can cause extensive damage to homes and businesses and result in loss of power for at least a week. Categories 3 through 5 are classified as major hurricanes and can have devastating impacts. While a Category 3 hurricane can leave your home without access to water for days, a Category 5 hurricane can make an area uninhabitable for months.
The flooding which occurred in the northeastern United States following Ida caught many by surprise. Those affected might not have considered their towns and cities to be susceptible to extreme hurricane damage. That’s why it's important to seek coverage for hurricanes, even if you live in an area traditionally unaffected. And, if you live in an area where hurricanes are common, it's important for you to ensure you have the proper coverage. Therefore, today, we’re illustrating ways you can prepare for hurricanes from an insurance standpoint.
Are You Covered?
Most homeowners’ insurance policies do not explicitly cover hurricane-related damage. While a homeowner’s policy may include water damage from wind-driven rain, most will not include flood coverage or wind-related damage coverage, even if you live in an area where hurricanes are common. For wind-related damage, you can add an endorsement onto your current homeowner’s policy (with a separate deductible), or add a separate windstorm and hail policy. Usually, you’ll need to invest in a separate flood policy. The price of flood insurance is determined by location, risk, the age of your home, the amount of coverage desired, and the deductible amount. FEMA has multiple flood risk designations. These designations are based on historical data and percentages for any given area. In high-risk areas, flood insurance is usually mandatory.
However, flood insurance does not cover sewage backups, which are a possibility when major storms hit and flooding occurs. For this reason, sewage backup insurance is recommended for those who live in hurricane-prone areas.
In addition to not covering wind and flood damage, your homeowner’s policy may not have enough coverage for you to rebuild your home in the event of a major hurricane. When reevaluating your policy limit, have a clear estimate of how much money would be required to fully rebuild your house, as this isn’t always the market price. If your home were to be destroyed, would you have enough to replicate the entire house again? If not, you might want to adjust your policy limit.
Obviously, hurricane insurance is the best protection in the event of a hurricane. The reason for this is because deductibles on windstorm policies most often do not apply to hurricanes, and vice versa. The standard trigger for a hurricane insurance deductible is usually when the National Hurricane Center (or NOAA or U.S. National Weather Service) names a storm. Hurricane deductibles are usually a percentage, instead of a dollar amount.
Even within your hurricane, sewage backup, and flooding insurance, you should read each agreement carefully to determine exclusions. Exclusions are events in which a policy no longer applies or for which a claim could be denied. Exclusions exist to protect the insurance company, but you need to ensure your needs are being met as well.
If you’ve run through the voluntary market of options in your state, certain states have FAIR (Fair Access to Insurance Requirements) plans and Beach plans. These are most commonly found in states where hurricane/flood insurance is mandatory and in coastal areas. Certain states might also offer discounts on insurance to incentivize homeowners to take steps to lessen potential hurricane damage, such as roof bracing, roof covering, and increasing roof-to-wall strength. Most of these alterations are inherent in a home’s design and are more easily incorporated before the home is built, but there are a few alterations which can be applied to an existing structure. Check with your private insurance company to find out if these incentives exist in your state.
In the event of a hurricane or a flood, it’s not just your home which needs protection. Personal items can also be damaged by water or swept away by wind. Couches, televisions, beds, jewelry--everything which will need to be replaced also needs to be covered. Start by creating a full inventory of your home’s possessions. This may seem like a daunting task to begin with, but take this room by room. You’ll want to keep documentation of each item you would like to be covered and their corresponding value. Having this after a hurricane will make the claims process a breeze and help you get your items replaced faster!
Hurricanes can leave families displaced for weeks and even months. To offset the cost of rent, food, and other expenses, additional living expenses (ALE) coverage is necessary. Ordinarily, these policy limits are set at 20% of the insurance coverage of your home. If you live in an expensive, hurricane-prone area, you may want to seek a higher ALE limit. ALE also covers loss of rental income, to protect landlords in the event of hurricane damage to their rental property.
After a hurricane, there may be individuals looking to take advantage of people’s desperation. If you are seeking repairs on a damaged portion of your property, make sure you shop around for multiple quotes before signing anything. Always ask for references. Ultimately, any agreement made should be in writing and should not have any blank sections in which a contractor could later add something.
If you notice a new named storm heading for your property, it’s probably too late to invest in hurricane insurance. Most policies have a 30-day waiting period (although some do not). However, you should still invest in hurricane insurance to be prepared for next time!
Protect yourself from wind and water damage before the next unexpected hurricane forms. Just as you would batten your hatches, board up your windows, and fill your tub with water--so too should you adequately prepare for the aftermath. Hurricane insurance exists to help people return to normal after storms have flipped their lives upside down. Our condolences go out to everyone affected by Hurricane Ida and we hope you’ll take time to protect your home and possessions from the storms which may follow in its wake.
If you still need help finding the right insurance policy for your needs, reach out to us! Everyone here at Abri Insurance is eager to assist you in your search for the best coverage. Come back here to read the latest news and discover more about how to make the insurance industry work for you! Thanks for reading! Until next time!
While it might not be the best time to be out on the water in this damp and cool weather, it is the perfect time to prepare for when you can be! Today we are going to be talking about the truth behind your boat insurance!
Dreaming of warmer days and spending hours back on your boat? Or have you not stopped spending days on your boat regardless of the weather? Nothing a few layers can't help with, right? Regardless if your boat is currently tucked gently away in storage or hasn't missed a Saturday out, having the proper coverage and insurance is incredibly important. It is so important that we want to dedicate a whole blog about how to have the best boat insurance to enjoy life in the Lowcountry, and to help keep you safe on and off land!
What Do You Need To Know About Boat Insurance?
What Does Boat Insurance Cover?
Basic boat insurance will offer its owner a certain amount of protection, but adding on more coverage can be your best route of action. Let's begin by talking about what your basic boat insurance policies will cover.
What Are Some Common Boat Insurance Myths?
Owning a boat is a huge responsibility but it will provide hours of fun and entertainment, and for all of our fishermen and shrimpers, a boat can help your business be very lucrative. We hope this information clears up any confusion or concern you have about your boating insurance. If you are still confused or have any more questions, please don't hesitate to reach out. We are here to provide the best boat insurance in Charleston! We're Abri Insurance and we are here to make sure you have the best coverage for life in the Lowcountry!
Even as hurricane season begins to wind down, that doesn't mean we will be seeing the rain or tides clear up in the Charleston area anytime soon. To help ease your questions or doubts if flood insurance is right for you, here are 5 of the top flood insurance myths, debunked.
Welcome back to the blog! We are thrilled that you are wanting to continue your education about the world of insurance and that you want to learn more, in particular, about flood insurance. We're sure you've heard time and time again that you should be considering or looking into purchasing flood insurance, and being an insurance company ourselves, we do agree with this sentiment. Sure, here in the Lowcountry, you'll be hearing this much more often than you would in most other places. With three popular beaches, at least two main rivers, and countless creeks, this just comes with the territory. If your home is on or near the ocean or the rivers here in the Lowcountry, it should come as no surprise that you should already have flood insurance purchased and in place. If not, then please know we are concerned and we want to speak with you right away.
However, for a lot of residents whose neighborhoods or areas around their homes have never seen flooding, it might be hard to justify this extra expense. Remember what we talked about it on our last blog. Hurricanes and their powerful and dangerous effects are moving farther and farther inland and becoming more disastrous in places that haven't seen these effects before. Still not totally convinced? Then let some good old fashioned debunking help you think otherwise. Here are 5 of the most common flood insurance myths debunked and the actual facts behind the myth.
Myth #1: You can only buy flood insurance if you own a home.
Reality: This is very false! You can buy flood insurance if you're renting, for an apartment, for a condo, for your business, and more! As a renter you'll want this insurance to protect your belongings inside the space you're renting. If you are wanting to protect your business and everything you use to operate and run it in a rented building, then flood insurance is also available to you, and should it be an option you're looking into if you don't already have it.
Myth #2: Flood insurance is already included in my homeowner's insurance policy!
Reality: According to FEMA, most homeowner's insurance policies do not cover flood damage. It might cover small damages done by water, but not by floods themselves. If your pipes burst or leak or your toilet falls through the ceiling because of water damage, then your insurance will cover these things. If a hurricane comes through and leaves two feet of water in your living room, that will not be covered. Many policyholders find out far too late that their policy doesn't cover flooding. When do they find out? When their home is already flooded and there is nothing they can do. We encourage you not to make this mistake! Please chat with us or your insurance agent and find out how much water damage or flood damage your insurance is currently covering. If you want more coverage, invest in it now. If you don't have any coverage at all, it might be wise to look into some before it's too late.
Myth #3: I only need to buy flood insurance if I live in a high flood area!
Reality: Every home is at risk of flooding, even if you live in a low-risk or moderate risk area. According to FEMA, it is more likely for a home to experience flooding in 30 years than a fire. Also, over 20% of flood claims are made from homes that were not in high-risk areas.
Myth #4: I should wait until the storm season to buy flood insurance.
Reality: Most people who don't have flood insurance only start thinking about buying or consider buying it when a bad storm is coming or their home has already been flooded. Why wait until it's too late to make such an important choice? Also, flood insurance policies take up to 30 days before they go into effect. This makes waiting until you're very close to storm season even more risky and stressful. Begin planning and purchasing in the dryer season when you're less likely to think about it. If you do, you'll be thanking yourself during the times you would normally begin to panic!
Myth #5: If my home floods, Government assistance will take care of all the repairs!
Reality: To get governmental assistance after a flood, the flood has to be declared a federal disaster by the president. According to FEMA, less than half of all floods are declared disasters. Even in the case that a flood is declared a disaster, most people will only receive between $5000 and $7000 in financial help. This most often comes in the form of a low-interest disaster loan that must be paid back. Financial assistance that comes from your insurance policy does not need to be repaid, and you can get upwards to $100,000 if not more in assistance. We urge you not to rely on FEMA or other disaster relief programs when it comes to flooding. You will most likely get hardly enough in assistance to cover your basic needs!
Are you feeling a little more swayed after this list? Please know that these are just some of the common myths. There are many others out there still left to be debunked and replaced with facts that lean towards the many reasons why you should seriously think about purchasing flood insurance. If you have any questions about this or would like to discuss flood insurance policies with us, please don't hesitate to reach out. We want to make sure that you're covered and safe before it's too late!
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We've created this blog to keep our customers and others in the know. When it comes to insurance and keeping people safe, no knowledge should be off limits.