It’s too late to insure for Hurricane Delta, but here’s what to do instead

Posted: 7 October 2020 1:11 pm
News

Hurricane Winds on a beach

With landfall expected Friday, know what your current policy covers and how to get federal government disaster relief.

If your home stands in the path of Hurricane Delta, it’s likely that your home insurance company has placed a moratorium on new policies or existing policy changes. That means you’ll rely on any current insurance you have or disaster relief programs in the wake of Delta’s damage.

Hurricane coverage you may have already — with some caveats

Many standard home policies do cover some damage caused by hurricanes.

  • Wind
  • Building damage from the hurricane itself
  • Some damage caused by trees, landscaping or outdoor items
  • Broken glass
  • Damaged belongings
  • Extra living expenses, if your home becomes unlivable for a covered reason

However, pay close attention to how your policy covers wind damage and whether hurricanes are specifically excluded in the exclusions portion of your documents. Some companies cover wind damage partially, naming restrictions for when the wind coverage applies.

As part of your storm preparations, look at your policy documents closely and call your insurance company if you’re confused about your coverage.

Your home insurance won’t kick in right away

Higher hurricane deductibles are common for home insurance policies in the states where Hurricane Delta is expected to strike, including Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

For instance, while your standard deductible for your home’s damage might be set at $1,000, your hurricane deductible might be $1,500.

Some policies make the hurricane deductible a percentage, like 1% to 2% of your home’s overall insured value. So if your home is insured at $200,000, a 1% hurricane deductible would set the deductible at $2,000.

More about insurance moratoriums

Many insurance companies place a moratorium or ban on customers buying new insurance policies or adding coverage when a storm is on the horizon. Whether a moratorium applies and when depends on the insurance company. Typically, companies set a moratorium 24 to 48 hours before a storm is expected to make landfall.

The National Flood Insurance Program doesn’t set a moratorium for flooding events, but it does have a waiting period of 30 days before you can use the coverage for a claim.

What to do if your home isn’t covered for Hurricane Delta

Flooding from hurricanes, storm surges and rainstorms aren’t covered by your standard home insurance policy.

To get this protection, you need a separate flood insurance policy, and most flood policies are subsidized by the federal government’s National Flood Insurance Program. Tuck away that thought for the future.

For the immediate future, if your home gets flooded or becomes unlivable because of Hurricane Delta, you may qualify for FEMA Individual Disaster Assistance. Access quick links and resources for recent disasters from www.disasterassistance.gov or call the FEMA Helpline at 1‑800‑621‑3362.

The Individual Disaster Assistance program can help with your immediate housing needs and expenses as well as home repairs if you live in an area declared a disaster by the president.

Important documents needed to apply for disaster assistance

During your storm or evacuation preparations, locate the following documents to help you apply for and receive disaster relief quickly:

  • Insurance policy number and coverage document
  • ID like your driver’s license
  • Receipts for living expenses if you’re home is uninhabitable
  • Proof of your homeownership, like the deed, land contract or property tax bill
  • If possible, list of damaged belongings and their value

Even if your insurance won’t cover the damage, you’ll have to file a home insurance claim before getting FEMA assistance. Also, if you don’t have an inventory for the belongings inside your house, you could take photos or videos of the most valuable items. That way you have some proof of ownership when filing an insurance claim or getting FEMA disaster relief approved.

Immediate housing relief resources

If you need temporary housing to recover from the aftermath of Hurricane Delta, you can:

  • Call the FEMA Helpline at 1‑800‑621‑3362 for referrals to agencies that can help.
  • Go to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) website and click Find shelter.
  • Call your local Red Cross or Salvation Army. Enter your ZIP code on either organization’s website to find a local chapter near you.

Photo: Getty Images

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