Archive for the ‘hurricane insurance’ Category

NY, NJ, CT, MD Homeowners Will NOT Pay Hurricane Deductibles After Sandy

November 16th, 2012 by | Comments Off | Filed in homeowners insurance, hurricane insurance

Two weeks ago Wednesday, Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York announced that, just as those in New Jersey, Maryland, and Connecticut, homeowners in his state will not have to pay hurricane deductibles for their Sandy-related claims.

Speaking to the press, Governor Cuomo said, “Homeowners should not have to pay hurricane deductibles for damage caused by the storm and insurers should understand the Department of Financial Services will be monitoring how claims are handled.”

Many homeowners insurance policies in the affected region contain hurricane deductibles which are based on a percentage of the property’s insured value, typically from one to five percent, so on a home insured for $300,000, the homeowner could have to pay the first $15,000 of damage.

For those affected by Hurricane Sandy, however, New York Financial Services Department Superintendent Benjamin Lawsky (and his counterparts in the other affected states) have informed the insurance industry that since hurricane force winds were not sustained when the storm made landfall, the hurricane deductible did not apply.

Lawsky also spoke to the press, saying, “We will be working with insurers to help them respond as quickly as possible to homeowners who need to file claims. And we will be sending our mobile command center to hard hit areas to help consumers with insurance questions and problems.”

Insurance regulators across the eastern seaboard are urging homeowners who experienced losses to file their insurance claims as quickly and completely as possible, and to have pictures or videos showing the extent of the losses made before any cleanup is undertaken.

As well, regulators advise, only those repairs necessary to prevent greater damage to the property (like fixing broken windows) should be delayed until after insurance adjustors have inspected the damage. Likewise, damaged personal property should be kept until after a settlement has been reached.

Homeowners are also cautioned to cooperate with their insurance provider, and to keep a log of all conversations with the insurer, including the name of the person they spoke with, and the times and dates of all calls or visits.

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Hurricane Sandy Recovery Resources

November 2nd, 2012 by admin | Comments Off | Filed in advice and how-tos, homeowners insurance, hurricane insurance

It’s no secret that Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc up and down the entire East Coast, but New Jersey was the hardest hit state. The video we’re sharing is of President Obama and NJ Governor Chris Christie after their tour of the shore. Below it, please find links to pages with emergency resource information and insurance claim tips.

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Half of Arkansas Under Exceptional Drought

August 10th, 2012 by | Comments Off | Filed in fire insurance, flood insurance, homeowners insurance, hurricane insurance, insurance facts, insurance news

The various weather services which serve the United States all say that El Niño is coming within the next two months. For some people along the West Coast, that’s bad news, but for much of the South and Midwest, the increased chances of rain, and the cold, wet winter can’t get here soon enough.

Arkansas is a prime example of a state in bad need of some precipitation. How bad? Well, according to a new map released yesterday, over 53% of the state is in an “exceptional” drought – the U.S. Drought Monitor’s most severe classification. That’s scary, but what’s even scarier is that a week ago, only 44% of the state was in that most severe classification, though there’s still a significant amount of the state (currently 27%) is only one level “better” – at “extreme drought” status, while the rest of the state is in “severe” drought, except for a small part – 4% – that’s merely in “moderate” drought.

Arkansas isn’t alone, of course. Wildfires in Oklahoma have been out of control this summer, due to the significant lack of rain, and much of Texas is in the “extreme” and “exceptional” categories as well.

What does this have to do with insurance? A lot, actually. Look for an increased number of crop insurance claims, fire insurance claims, and even health insurance claims (since many people believe limiting their personal water intake is necessary, even though most cities only require a strict cut-back on irrigation). Last year, drought conditions began to affect the cattle industry as well, causing many Texas ranchers to sell off, or kill, significant portions of their stock in order to feed and water the remaining animals.

No one wishes hurricanes on anyone – we’ve seen the devastation they can do – but for the parched plains, Atlantic Hurricanes during the summer and El Niño during the fall are necessary balms, sending outer rain bands and wet weather to ground – and people – who badly need it.

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Hurricane Tips from New Jersey Department of Insurance

June 8th, 2012 by admin | Comments Off | Filed in hurricane insurance

Hurricane season on the Pacific Coast of the US technically began in May, and on the Atlantic Coast it began last week. While the bulk of hurricanes happen in the latter part of the season, when temperatures reach their highest points, they can happen any time during the warm summer months.

The New Jersey Department of Insurance recently offered these tips on hurricane preparedness, which we are offering verbatim, with the reminder that no matter which coast you live on, if you’re told to evacuate, do it. Things are replaceable. Lives are not.

Complete a Home Inventory

• Make a complete list of all the belongings in your home. Having a home inventory makes it far easier for consumers to file an insurance claim in the event they suffer property damage.
• Photograph or video tape each item and document a brief description that includes age, approximate value and purchase price.
• Group your possessions into logical categories, such as by type or room.
• Gather copies of original sales receipts or appraisal documents. Note model and serial numbers where applicable.
• Share a copy of your home inventory with a trusted friend or relative and your insurance carrier or broker.
• Once the inventory is completed, homeowners should store it on a mobile phone, offsite computer or keep hard copies, including photographs, in a safe deposit box or waterproof, fireproof box or safe.
• The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) has a smart phone application, MyHOME Scr.APP.book, that can capture images, descriptions, bar codes and serial numbers of consumers’ possessions. It also organizes information room by room and creates a back-up file for email sharing. This application is available to iPhone or Android users.


Collect Insurance Information

• Homeowners should gather all of their insurance documents in one safe place, along with their home inventory.
• Verify 24-hour contact details for your insurance agent and carrier. Make a list that includes your policy numbers, insurance company and agent’s phone numbers, Web site and mailing addresses. Also, check to see if your carrier has set up an emergency information hotline. Keep this information with your policies and home inventory.
• Before a storm hits, review your policies and make sure you understand the coverage you have. Call your agent or carrier with any questions.

• Flood insurance is not part of a standard homeowners or renters policy, and must be purchased separately. Homeowners and renters can purchase a flood insurance policy directly from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), a federal program which is the primary provider of flood insurance, or directly through their insurance carrier or broker.
• Consumers should also be aware that flood insurance is not effective until 30 days after it is purchased. Therefore, consumers who decide to purchase flood insurance should contact an approved flood insurance policy agent immediately and not wait for an approaching storm.

Get Ready Now

Homeowners can take important steps immediately to help mitigate some damage caused by a hurricane or tropical storm.

• Make sure storm shutters, if applicable, can be quickly installed or used.
• Keep the yard free of debris and clutter that could become projectiles in high winds.
• Trim dead or overhanging branches from trees near their house.
• Make sure that roof sheathing is secured, end gables are fastened to the roof and doors and garage doors latch properly.
• Make an evacuation plan for their family. They should identify the nearest storm shelter.
• Prepare an emergency kit that includes survival supplies, such as bottled water, first aid items, flashlights, a battery operated radio, three days of non-perishable food items, blankets, clothing, prescription drugs, eyeglasses, personal hygiene supplies and enough cash for at least three days.

Evacuation

• If ordered to leave home, consumers should follow their evacuation plans and depart as soon as possible.
• Before vacating their homes, they should turn off all utilities and disconnect appliances to reduce the chance of additional damage and electric shock when utilities are restored.
• Evacuees should plan more than one evacuation route in case the preferred one is closed due to an emergency.

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Video: Hail Coverage

May 4th, 2012 by | Comments Off | Filed in homeowners insurance, hurricane insurance

It’s springtime, which means not just rain, but hail, for much of the southern and midwestern USA. We all know that hail can damage car windows and roofs, but what about the roof of your home? This video shows you what damage to look for, and when to call your homeowners insurance agent.

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Goodnight Irene, Hello Irma

April 27th, 2012 by | Comments Off | Filed in hurricane insurance

We’re a month out from the start of the Atlantic Hurricane Season, so this is our reminder to check your homeowners, wind, and flood insurance if you live in any area where hurricanes are a threat.

In other hurricane-related news, we’ve heard from the folks at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) that because last year’s Hurricane Irene caused more than $15 billion in damage and the deaths of 49 people, the name is being retired from the storm name list.

The list is actually two lists, one of male names, one of female names, which are assigned to significant storms in alternating-gender alphabetical order. Storm names are reused every six years, unless they cause significant damage or a high number of casualties, in which case – like Irene – they are retired from use. Irene is the 76th such retirement from the Atlantic list since 1954.

The official retirement came on Friday, April 20th, and NOAA says the decision was made by the World Meteorological Organization’s hurricane committee. It will be replaced by the name Irma.

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Stormy Weather? 7-Day Hurricane Warnings a Possibility

March 16th, 2012 by | Comments Off | Filed in flood insurance, homeowners insurance, hurricane insurance

Bill Read, director of the National Hurricane Center spoke to reporters at a conference in South Carolina earlier this month, and predicted that the time will come when we will have reliable hurricane forecasts seven days in advance of a storm, but that that time is still two to five years away.

The National Weather Service, Read pointed out, already issues forecasts for daily weather that are about a week out, but so far, no one is doing so with hurricanes, possibly because panicking about a possible storm could do more harm than good.

“There is plenty of time to recover from a bad decision to play golf on Saturday when it’s Monday; it’s not going to kill you,” Read explained. “If you start moving nursing home patients at seven days (ahead) you could kill them.” He added that while the Hurricane Center does issue five-day forecasts on big storms, they’re not ready to begin issuing seven-day forecasts, and won’t be until there is more confidence in their predictions.

Even so, Read stressed, predictions and warnings are useless if people don’t listen. He told the conference members, “The biggest challenge is to crack the denial. If you haven’t cracked the ‘it won’t happen to me’ thought process, you can do everything else right and they are going to say it won’t happen to me and not do it. If you can get past the denial, the rest of it is not as difficult as you think.”

He also said that there is a definite window for using actual storms as teaching tools. Using last year’s Hurricane Irene, which caused $7 billion in damages and killed 41 people, as an example, he said, “We will have about a five-year window when people are teachable from Irene, and if nothing else happens. I used to think if you were hit once you were good for a generation.”

Research has shown, however, that after a mere five years, memories are softened, and storms don’t seem as bad as they actually were.

Meanwhile, while NOAA doesn’t release it’s predictions for the Atlantic Hurricane Season until May, Read says that early indicators point to an average season, with around eleven named storms, as opposed to last year’s nineteen. He added a caveat to that, however, cautioning that a forecast issued this early is likely to be incorrect.

“My guys don’t think seasonal forecasts have any meaningfulness,” Read said, adding that his organization is focused on warning people, not on predicting weather. As well, he pointed out, the relatively quiet season twenty years ago also included Hurricane Andrew, which caused 26 deaths and $25 billion in damage in south Florida.

Our prediction? If you live anywhere near a coastline, you need to spend time BEFORE hurricane season making sure your homeowners insurance and additional endorsements covers you for wind, rain, and flood damage.

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