In the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, Florida government officials are counting on insurance to help the state recover. Jane Castor, Tampa’s Mayor, has stated that “without a doubt, there are a lot of people that are going to be counting on insurance” to rebuild their homes and businesses after the devasting storm.
The problem is that home insurance isn’t guaranteed in states like Florida and Texas. These states don’t require homeowners to consistently maintain insurance on their properties. While mortgage providers usually require homebuyers to get a policy to qualify for a loan, this obligation ends when the mortgage is paid off. Many homeowners grow lax about maintaining their policies once they aren’t required and often let them lapse.
This can be disastrous if a hurricane strikes. You can’t rely on a historical sense of safety, either. As hurricanes like Florida’s Ian and Texas’s Hanna have shown, these storms are incredibly dangerous and difficult to predict. The past decade of hurricane data suggests that it’s becoming increasingly likely these storms will make landfall in places that historically haven’t seen much damage. Just because your neighborhood hasn’t been damaged by storms before doesn’t mean you can expect it to be unscathed in the future.
That’s why home insurance is more important than ever before. If you live somewhere where hurricanes regularly occur, having the right coverage on your home can be the difference between getting things fixed quickly and losing everything. Here’s how hurricane insurance can help you and how to ensure you get the compensation you need for your claims.
What to Expect From Hurricane Property Insurance
Hurricane coverage may be sold separately or included in a larger home insurance policy. It’s intended to cover damage from tropical storms and other major weather events where wind, hail, debris, and flooding are common risks.
For instance, in Florida, insurers must provide hurricane coverage in their home insurance policies. If you already have a policy, you most likely have hurricane coverage in this state.
However, Texas doesn’t have the same requirements. If you live along the Gulf Coast, you may need to buy a specific additional policy to cover tropical storms from the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA) or your primary insurer.
If you do have coverage, both Florida and Texas have laws requiring the provider to offer specific deductibles for the damage. These laws ensure that insurers can’t claim they’re providing protection while still requiring their customers to pay the majority of the costs out of pocket. You can learn more about how these deductibles work in your specific policy by consulting a qualified insurance attorney.
How to Ensure You Receive Hurricane Insurance Coverage
Hurricane coverage only matters if your insurer fulfills your claim. That can be a problem all on its own. We’ve broken down the three best ways to guarantee you receive timely compensation for any future hurricanes, regardless of what your state’s insurance industry may look like.
Review Your Current Policy With an Attorney
If you already have home insurance, you’ve taken the first and most crucial step to protect your home, belongings, and finances from the devastation of a hurricane. However, not every property insurance policy provides equal coverage. It’s always a good idea to review your home insurance contract with an experienced attorney to ensure you understand what’s covered and what isn’t.
For example, if you consult with the experts at the Professional Law Group, we will walk you through your policy clause by clause. We will ensure you understand exactly what coverage you already have and what you’re still missing. We’ll also help you determine if you’re covered for the damage caused by Hurricane Ian or any future tropical storms. If so, we’ll file your claim with your insurer so you can focus on getting back to normal life instead of fighting for the compensation you need to rebuild.
Shop for Riders or Policies
If your attorney says your current policy doesn’t provide enough coverage, it may be time to shop around. Depending on your state, you may be able to get a rider on your current policy that provides additional coverage for storms, wind, and water damage. However, some Texas providers may require you to get an entirely separate policy.
Your insurance lawyer will help you select the best option to get the necessary coverage. Consulting them as you shop ensures that a good sales pitch doesn’t lead you to buy a policy that covers less than what you need.
Document Your Home’s Condition
Hurricane damage can range from loose shingles to a completely destroyed home. Without documentation, it can be challenging to prove when damage is linked to a tropical storm. That’s why your attorney will instruct you on documenting your home’s condition and the property within it before the next hurricane hits.
This documentation is time-stamped proof of your home’s state before the damage occurred. It ensures your insurer can’t argue that specific problems were pre-existing. It also proves that you owned the personal items included in your claim, making it more likely you’ll receive compensation in full. Your lawyer will help you create and store this documentation somewhere safe and submit it to your insurance company on your behalf should you need to file a claim later.
Prepare for the Next Hurricane With the Professional Law Group
Hurricane season is far from over. There’s no better time to start preparing for the next storm than right now. Hurricane Ian shows just how damaging these storms can be and the value of insuring your home regardless of whether it’s required. With help from the Professional Law Group, you can trust that you’re ready to face anything the weather can throw at you. Our expert attorneys will help you understand your current policy and simplify filing future claims. Get in touch today to learn how we can support your home insurance claims regardless of the weather.