TAMPA, Fla. — Hurricane season is just weeks away, and now is the time to check your insurance coverage. Here are steps to take before the first tropical disturbance makes waves in the Caribbean.
Homeowners can’t add or change their insurance coverage after a named storm poses an imminent threat. Now is the time to check your policy for details like how much you will have to pay out of pocket if there’s damage or whether your policy covers the cash value or replacement value of everything inside your home.
All of your property coverage including hurricane and non-hurricane deductibles are laid out on your declaration page. The hurricane deductible is always the larger deductible.
For condo owners, there's more to consider than just the contents of your unit such as assessment coverage. Condo owners can be assessed and made to pay for storm damage to their buildings.
Remember your homeowner’s policy does not cover flooding. Check with FEMA to determine if you live in a flood zone, the maps were redrawn last year and added thousands of homes to the list. If your property is among them, you may need to purchase a flood policy. Flooding is defined as water that rises from the ground up.
When it comes to contents or personal property, Daryl Patrick the owner of Tampa Bay Insurance Center advises using your phone to record a video of the items in every room.
“Basically walk through your house room to room, give a description of what is in there and if you happen to know the value of that description just mention it along with it,” Patrick said.
You should know whether your policy covers the cash value of your 10-year-old stove or the replacement value. There’s a big difference.
Don’t forget to make sure everything outside the home is covered. During the pandemic, thousands of Florida homeowners added pool enclosures and solar panels to their homes, none of which are typically covered in a homeowner’s policy. You would need to request additional coverage also known as an endorsement.
You will find more resources for your insurance checklist here with the Insurance Information Institute.
In the last year, state regulators gave Florida insurers approval to raise rates by as much as 100%. It's smart to check your coverage to ensure you are not over-insured and shop your policy around to various companies in order to save money.