The 2017 hurricanes Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Maria, and Hurricane Irma were three of the most expensive natural disasters in American history. In 2020, Hurricane Laura was one of the 20 most costly storms.
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Forecasters predict an active 2021 hurricane season, which would mark the fifth consecutive year. The destruction caused by Hurricane Ida could be just the beginning of billions or billions of dollars of damage.
You can learn from past victims of natural disasters if your home has been damaged by a hurricane. They had to assess the damage and contact their insurance companies. Then, they began the long process for financial and physical recovery. This article will show you how to get the money that you are entitled from your insurance company. It also explains how to use other assistance to help fill in the gaps.
Flooding is not covered by homeowners insurance
Homeowners insurance covers damage to your home from wind, wind-driven rain, and water through windows, doors, or holes in walls. However, homeowners insurance does not cover damage caused by flooding or water rising from the bottom–e.g., storm surge or overflowing a body water.
Auto Insurance Covers Flooding
Flooding would be covered if your car insurance covers comprehensive coverage. This protects against any type of damage that is not caused by an accident. Water damage can often be so severe that an insurance company will declare your car a total loss and cover the amount of the car’s value (less the deductible). You should also be cautious if you are buying a used vehicle in the months after a major hurricane. Flood-damaged vehicles will soon be on the market. Cars with water damage can pose serious safety concerns, including faulty airbags and compromised electrical systems.
Get in touch with your Insurer to start documenting your claim right away
Temporary repairs are usually required by insurance companies. This is to prevent further damage from the house. Make sure to take photos before making any temporary repairs. To document your damages, you can use the apps of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners and other resources. Keep receipts for any supplies that you purchased to repair your home. Your insurer may reimburse you. For more information on how homeowners who were affected by Hurricane Harvey in 2017 helped their insurance companies and other organizations to rebuild their homes and finances, see Rebuilding Your House and Finances after Disaster Strikes.
For Hurricane Damage, your Deductible may be higher
Although wind-driven rain and wind damage are covered under a homeowners policy, some policies charge separate wind deductibles. This means that you will have higher out-of pocket costs. Most deductibles are based on a percentage of your coverage (roughly 5%-10%) rather than a flat dollar amount.
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Check to see if you are eligible for other assistance
Many states have emergency management agencies that can provide information on other resources for helping after a hurricane. These include financial and medical assistance, emergency housing, and financial assistance from various government agencies. Start by typing your address in the tool at DisasterAssistance.gov to find out about aid in your area, including money for living expenses and rebuilding. FEMA can also provide assistance in person at their disaster recovery centers.
Learn the rules for Fallen Trees
Even if the hurricane doesn’t cause damage to your home, there may be some damage caused by fallen trees. Your tree may cause damage to a neighbor’s property, such as a damaged garage or fence. In this case, your neighbor should file an insurance claim. Usually, the insurance company will pay for the repair. Insurance policies typically cover cleanup costs of $500 to $1,000 for tree falls that don’t cause damage.
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Your Insurer may pay for living expenses while you’re away from your home
Many homeowners policies cover additional living expenses, including rent and food, for up to one year while you are unable to live in the home. Or up to a percentage of your total coverage. This could be the first money your insurance company gives you before it decides how much you will need to rebuild your house. If you are away from your home for a long time while you wait for your house rebuilt, these living expenses can add up quickly. For reimbursement, keep the receipts. These expenses are covered by some insurers.