Check your insurance before disaster strikes

Published On: Jul 16 2014 12:07:13 PM EDT   Updated On: Jul 17 2014 06:20:00 AM EDT

You may think the answer is yes but if you haven't reviewed your insurance coverage lately, you could be in for a shock. There's no better time to do that. In fact, reviewing your policy and just knowing what kind of coverage you have are just the start.

If a Hurricane hits, if your home is under water or if there's a wildfire; are you covered for any or all of these? Bob Hartwig with the not-for-profit Insurance Information Institute says you need to know the answer now. "In a place like Jacksonville and through much of Florida, you're in a flood zone. There are millions of people in Florida who live in flood zones and in fact there are more flood policies in Florida than in any other state."

Another question you need to have the answer to; if your home is damaged in some other way, not by a natural disaster, do you have supplemental insurance? Hartwig explained, "For example, sewer back up would be a good example. Many places have antiquated infrastructures. When it floods, when there's a hurricane, you can get back-ups in the sewer systems. If that gets in your house that's a big mess you don't want to deal with."

The next steo you should take may be the most important. You need to know if you have enough coverage. "It may surprise many people that they don't have enough coverage after a disaster," Hartwig said. "Now, most do but those who don't might have purchased their home five, ten, fifteen years ago they've made improvements to that home. They've remodeled their kitchen, the bathroom, maybe the attic and now the home is more valuable than it used to be. If you didn't let the insurer know that, than you may not have enough coverage to rebuild and repair after a disaster."

Something else that's really important according to Hartwig, understanding your deductible. There are two kinds. One that applies to standard loss, like a fire, and one that applies to things like hurricanes. You need to know which kind you have so you'll know what you'll be required to take out of pocket in order to finance repairs.

For more information and the full checklist from The Insurance Information Institute, click here.


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