There’s been a lot in the news about how the BP oil disaster the Gulf of Mexico has already seen landfall in some beach communities and turned the air around there into an unbreathable toxic cocktail. Well, while that’s certainly one way for a natural disaster (or man-made one) to go, but chances are much higher that if a disaster should ever strike your community, it should be the regular kind – a hurricane, a wildfire or an earthquake. And these days, right at the start of the hurricane season, the home insurance companies are at pains to remind us that some forecasts predict that it could be rough this year. While you may have plans in place to protect yourself and your family when something like this happens, you also need to make sure that as a homeowner, you have the best interests of your property in mind long too before the wind begins to howl around your windows.
Florida has had a long and painful history with hurricanes, and you’ll see most homes there showing the effects of the lessons they’ve learned from it. Everywhere you look in Florida, homes have extra strong construction and storm shutters. There have been warnings for years that what with global warming the eastern seaboard could see some pretty rough hurricane action soon. Sadly though, most areas of the country haven’t really learned their lessons as well as Florida has. And neither has the west coast, with the exposure they’ve had to wildfires. The home insurance industry frequently puts out public service advertisements with information on how to protect your home in the event (so that they won’t have to pay as much damages as they otherwise would have to); let’s look at some of the best pieces of advice they have in mind for you.
Storm shutters and impact resistant glass are your best insurance policy against storm damage. And remember that if the hurricane begins to blow into your house through an opening of some kind, it makes it doubly dangerous. Garage doors for instance, absolutely have to be properly secured when it starts. But there is a certain amount of misinformation abroad about home insurance policies that can be just as dangerous as the hurricane. Most people who have policies against hurricane damage believe that , they are protected against anything that comes out of a hurricane. That’s not quite true; if a hurricane brings in so much rain it floods your town and causes flood damage to your home, your home insurance company will wash its hands off it. The floods are consequential damages as far as they’re concerned.
And there’s more love from the home insurance companies too. The National Flood Insurance Program that’s run by the government gives each homeowner $250,000 in aid to cover building losses, and $100,000 for damage to personal property. The insurance companies only ever agree to compensate you for any losses you incur flooding in over these thresholds. So if you have flood damage to your home that comes up to, say, $251,000, your home insurance policy for flooding will give you exactly $1000. And the government isn’t going to give you anything right away either, because their program just ran out of money. So you best insurance policy at this time against calamity would be to shore up your house to meet all hurricane codes. Where’s the point trusting the home insurance companies anyway?