As the recent hurricane Sandy wrecked havoc in many homes in the U.S., people are asking what type of damages can their home insurance cover? Is a basic coverage enough to protect them and their families?
For those who were affected and those who were spared, it’s about time you learn that not every home insurance can protect you from all kinds of damaged caused by natural calamities. Authorities in the industry pointed out that a basic policy only covers rain and water that get into your home through the roof, windows, doors and holes in the walls. It does not cover water that comes from the bottom such as a storm surge or an overflow from a river or lake or any body of water for that matter. This situation requires a separate flood insurance coverage.
Damage caused by a falling tree is normally covered. Your insurance company will generally pay you to fix the damage to your home. As for removal of the fallen tree, the amount may only be limited to a minimum of $500 and a maximum of $1,000. If the tree within your area falls but does not hit your house, no compensation will be provided.
If you get badly affected by any natural calamity in your area, it is strongly recommended that you contact your insurance agent right away to help you in the claim process. Inform the agent about your situation and keep a record of your communication whether by phone or email.
Take photos of the areas damaged by the flood, storm or hurricane so you can have concrete proof to show your agent. Then take immediate steps to make basic repairs such as in your roof, walls and windows and don’t forget to take the after-repair photos. Also, keep the receipts of the materials you bought and list the labor cost. This will help you in claiming for a refund later.
Your next step is to make an inventory of items in your home and list down those that were damaged. Look for photos as well that show the condition of your house before the calamity and obtain a form that can you fill out and submit to your insurer. Keep the damaged items first while you still haven’t filed your claim.
At this point, you may also contact contractors to make an estimate of your repair costs. But you will have to wait for your insurer’s approval first before you make a commitment and start repair work.
There are lessons to be learned such as in the recent devastation in the U.S. caused by Hurricane Sandy. Do remember that it pays to be educated about what your home insurance covers. Take the time to learn more from your insurance agents.
Photo via dimespring.com