Here are some tips to help property owners deal with hurricane-related losses. It is easier to file a claim if you know exactly what you own and have documentation of it, and free online tools such as the Insurance Information Institute’s www.knowyourstuff.org site let users upload photos of their belongings as well as receipts for major purchases. Homeowners can also keep a written journal of their belongings and keep hard photographs. Read and review your insurance documents to know the extent of your coverage. Make sure to keep a hard copy of policy numbers, information for how to file a claim, the insurer’s contact information, and a physical copy of the policy on hand in case a storm hits and you are left without power. A standard homeowners policy includes a deductible somewhere in the $500-$1,000 range, but 18 states along the East and Gulf coasts let insurers include hurricane deductibles in homeowners policies. These amounts, which apply only to hurricane-caused damage, typically range from 1 to 5 percent of a home’s insured value, though deductibles may be higher in some coastal areas. Do not expect flood-related losses from a hurricane to be covered unless you have a separate flood insurance policy. Damage from water on the ground, or water leaking into a basement from below, is not covered unless a homeowner has a flood insurance policy, which can be purchased through the National Flood Insurance Program and from a few private insurers. Finally, homeowners who live in a federally-declared disaster area may be eligible for federal disaster relief in the form of grants and loans. However, in order to receive this assistance, a homeowner must purchase flood insurance and maintain the policy through the life of the loan. | Read More

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