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Homeowners insurance can help protect your home against most storms, but to be fully protected, you may need to take out additional flood insurance.
Yes, protection against storm damage is a standard feature on most home insurance policies. It covers repair or rebuilding costs for your home, plus repair or replacement costs for possessions that suffer damage. But you’ll want to check your policy to find out if there are any limits or exclusions and whether your insurance offers any additional benefits, such as temporary accommodation costs while your home is not fit to live in following a storm.
While homeowners insurance will generally cover damage from thunderstorms, hail, lightning, strong winds and other storms, it won’t cover damage from floods. To protect yourself against flood damage, you’ll need to take out flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) or a private flood insurance company.
If your home or its contents were damaged by a storm:
1. Assess the damage. Once the storm has passed and it’s safe to go outside, inspect your home, contents and property for any damage. Make sure to take any reasonable steps to prevent any further loss or damage to your property, but be aware that your insurer may not allow you to make any repairs until they have assessed the damage. If emergency repairs are required, contact your insurer for advice on what you can do.
2. Gather evidence. Supporting documentation will be crucial to the success of your claim, so start gathering proof of the damage and loss you have suffered. Make a list of everything that has been damaged or destroyed, and gather any information you can about make, model and date of purchase. Take photographs of damage to your home and contents and keep receipts if you need to buy essential items like food or bedding.
3. File a claim. The next step is to file a claim with your insurer. You will usually have to fill out a claim form with full details of the storm and the damage it caused. Forms are available through the insurer’s website or by calling the insurer, and you’ll need to include any supporting documentation requested by the insurer with your claim form.
4. Meet with an adjuster. The insurance company will send out an adjuster to inspect the damage and assess your claim. Make sure that you co-operate fully with the adjuster, but also remember that it’s their job to make sure your claim amount is kept to a minimum. In some cases, the adjuster may arrange for a hydrologist to determine the cause of the storm or flood damage.
5. Claim payment. If your claim is accepted, your insurer will pay out a benefit to cover your loss or damage.
Keep the following tips in mind to help the home insurance claims process run as smoothly as possible:
It’s important to be fully aware of what your home insurance policy doesn’t cover when it comes to storms, floods and rainwater damage. Exclusions vary from policy to policy, so it’s important to read all the fine print before signing on with a new insurer. Common exclusions include:
If you want to protect your car against storm damage, you’ll need to invest in comprehensive car insurance. This usually includes cover for hail, wind and flood damage. If your car is damaged in a storm, keep a few simple tips in mind to help the claims process run as smoothly as possible:
Taking steps before, during and after a storm can help keep you, your family and your home safe.
A storm can wreak havoc on your home— and if you aren’t insured, it can wreak havoc on your bank account, too. Compare homeowners insurance policies and consider taking out flood insurance to protect your home from Mother Nature.
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