Weather, weather everywhere...what's going to happen next? I know what you are thinking...fires, rain, tornados, now earthquakes, and oh wait...here comes Irene...a hurricane. With so much going on, you might be asking am I covered? What is my deductible? How much damage do I have to have to put in a claim? The answer to all of this is...it depends. Comforting, I know.
Well with Irene knocking at our door like that unwanted relative you knew was coming but you hoped you could ignore, let me clarify a few things for you as far as insurance definitions go. Specifically speaking, the differences between a Hurricane deductible and a Wind deductible.
When Is Hurricane Season Anyway?
The Atlantic Hurricane season officially starts from July to October, but can range anywhere from June all the way through November. During this time, every costal state from Florida to Maine could potentially be affected by these named storms.
What is the Difference Between a Wind Deductible and a Hurricane Deductible?
Depending on the policy you have, there are two different kinds of deductibles.
1.) Hurricane Deductible - A Hurricane deductible is as it states, soley from damage from a Hurricane. Some companies use a specific "mile-per-hour" wind speed while others state that the Hurricane would have to be designated by the National Weather Service or the National Hurricane Center.
2.) Wind Deductible - A wind deductible is more stringent in that it applies to any wind damage, not specific to a Hurricane or a particular "mile-per-hour" wind.
How Do I Know What I Have and What the Triggers are?
For New York State, a Hurricane or wind deductible is mainly applicapable to the downstate counties - ie. Suffolk, Nassau, the five boroughs, Westchester, and sometimes Putnam, Rockland & Orange Counties. Check your policy or call your agent to be sure what the triggers are (ie. when these specific deductibles would apply) and what the % of your deductible is. For these deductibles, they are often higher than your main deductible. For example, if you have a $1000 deductible on your homeowners policy but you may have a 5% Hurricane deductible. Depending on the trigger the company sets, if you have a house valued at $500,000, your hurricane deductible would be $25,000 instead of your normal $1000. In some cases with certain companies you can "buy-back" coverage to lower your deductible. It is important to check your policy so that you are prepared as far as what your deductible would be and what the triggers are based on your carrier.
Where Can I Get More Information?
Hurricane deductibles as of 9/1/2009 by company can be viewed on the New York State Department of Insurance Web site at http://www.ins.state.ny.us/ in the Homeowners Resources Center under "Windstorm Deductibles".
If you are unsure of what your policy contains or when to put in a claim, contact your agent or your insurance company. They can review your coverages and make any changes necessary so that you are not only prepared, but are comfortable with the insurance you are purchasing.
For more tips on being prepared go to: http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/HAW2/english/prepare/supply_kit.shtml