Are you prepared if disaster strikes? If not, you have some work to do. The only thing worse than experiencing a disaster is not having insurance to cover the damage afterwards. Your home is one of the largest investments you’ll have, so it is important to ensure that it is properly covered no matter what happens.
If you are currently shopping for a house, it’s a good idea to do some research on the area. If you already have a home, but are considering more extensive insurance, you have some questions to consider. Is the home in a flood zone? Is it near an area that frequently experiences hurricanes? The answers to questions like these can help you determine what kind of disasters you need to prepare for, including home insurance coverage.
If you live near a southern coast, hurricane insurance is a must. Hurricanes are unpredictable and it is often hard to protect your home from one that is at all severe. If you decide to add on hurricane coverage to your home insurance, most insurance companies will include a pretty hefty deductible into your homeowner’s policy for any hurricane damages that may occur. This usually amounts to around 3 to 7 percent of the amount of insurance coverage on your home.
Make sure you know how much your deductible will be. Any damages that are equal to or less than your deductible will mean no money from your insurance company. When planning for disasters, make sure to have an emergency disaster fund in place. It should contain at least enough money to cover the deductible, if not more.
This is not to be confused with water damage; any damage caused by pipes bursting, a toilet overflowing, or rain leaks. Whether you live near a rushing river or a sturdy levee, flood insurance should not be ignored. Even if your area hasn’t flooded for decades, you can never be sure when an extremely wet season may be on its way. Unlike hurricane insurance, floods are not covered by your home insurance policy. This means that if you want flood coverage, you will have to purchase a separate flood insurance policy. Pay attention to the amount of coverage you decide to choose. Will this amount be enough to cover your losses? Will it be enough if your house is completely swept away by a flood? Make sure the answer is yes to both of these questions.
Do you live in or near an area that is known to have earthquakes? If so, you shouldn’t ignore the very real danger to your home that an earthquake can cause. An earthquake can damage a few items that fall off your shelves or it can crumble your entire home. Like flood insurance, earthquake coverage is not included in your homeowner policy. Many companies offer special earthquake insurance, and some mortgage holders require that you have coverage.
Although there are only three natural disasters listed here, make sure you know of every natural disaster area that you may be exposed to in your area. Talk to your local insurance agent to discover the coverage that best fits your needs in your specific areas. Not having the right coverage in the event of a disaster may leave you and your family without a home and no insurance to back you up.
Stephanie Wilmsmeyer is a State Farm home insurance agent in Columbia, Mo. Find her on Google+ for more information on what Stephanie can do for you and your home.