How will Hurricane Sandy affect your home insurance?by Tim Manni
Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast yesterday bringing tidal surges, high winds, rain, and even snow to much of the Northeast. For homeowners, that means floods, power outages, splintered trees and structural damage.
To help you understand how storms like Sandy impact your home and its insurance, here are some articles from our sister sites Insure.com and Insurance.com:
By: Karen Aho, Insure.com
In most areas of the country, wind damage is generally covered under a standard homeowners insurance policy. So if shingles are torn off, trees knocked down or windows shattered, the resulting damage to structures included in the policy likely will be covered. And unless you live in a high-risk area with special hurricane deductibles – based on a percentage of the home’s replacement cost – the standard dollar deductibles apply.
However, a standard home insurance policy may not cover wind or wind-blown water damage if you live near the coast. In such circumstances, you may be required to purchase a separate windstorm policy.
By: Beth Orenstein, Insure.com
When a tree goes down, you’re probably wondering who will pay for the cleanup and any necessary repairs. The answer is: “It depends.”
You’ll need to check your homeowner insurance policy, says Chris Hackett, director of personal lines for the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI). If a tree doesn’t do any damage, your policy isn’t likely to pay for its removal. To qualify for a claim, the fallen tree must have caused damage to structures that are outlined in your home insurance documents.
“If your tree falls over in the middle of your backyard and it doesn’t knock over a fence or hit the roof of your house, you’re on your own,” he says.
The National Association of Professional Insurance Agents offers answers to the 10 most frequently asked questions about insurance coverage for storms. Remember that insurance policy language can vary. The answers below may not apply to your specific insurance policy.
By: Barbara Marquand, Insurance.com
Whether homeowners insurance covers the consequences of a power outage depends in part on how the outage occurred, where you live and the fine print of your home insurance policy.
Generally, the likelihood of coverage is greater if the outage is a direct result of a problem that occurred on your property, such as a lightning strike or fallen tree, than if the outage is the result of a widespread blackout, says David Colmans, executive director of the Georgia Insurance Information Service.
By: Mark Chalon Smith, Insurance.com
1. People usually underestimate the risk
Ninety percent of all natural disasters that occur nationwide involve flooding, according to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). To further underscore the danger, the NFIP notes that homes have a 26 percent chance of flooding during the life of a typical 30-year mortgage. That compares to the nine percent risk your home will suffer fire damage, says the NFIP.
Also, keep in mind that if you live in flood-prone areas, your homeowners policy doesn’t protect you for flood damage. You’ll need separate insurance for that, provided by the NFIP and purchased through most insurance companies. To make sure your community is eligible for NFIP coverage, visit the NFIP’s Community Status Book.
2. The 30-day clause
You can’t just go out and buy flood insurance after learning that a hurricane or tropical storm is approaching. Coverage becomes effective 30 days after purchase, so the NFIP recommends that you consider where you live and the risks living there, and plan ahead.