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Home Insurance Basics: Planning for Hurricane Season

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It’s hard to think about with everything going on with Covid-19 and stay at home orders, the 2020 hurricane season has officially begun.  And it is expected to be an above average hurricane season so now is the time to review your home insurance to make sure your home and your family are protected.

Your home insurance policy is a very complicated document – not even many lawyers completely understand it.  But you absolutely need to know the basics and the place to start is by looking at your Declarations Page.  This is a sample:

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After you find your Declarations page – the first thing you need to find out is what your deductible is.  It used to be that your deductible was limited to 1 or 2% of the value of your home.  But after premiums started increasing after the 2004-5 hurricane season, the Florida legislature started allowing higher deductible amounts for hurricanes.  Your hurricane deductible might be up to 10% of your total policy amount.  If your hurricane deductible is $15,000 and your roof is damaged, you basically have no insurance for your roof – you are on the hook for paying for it.

The next thing you’ll see on your Dec page is that you have 4 coverages for your home:

  • The Dwelling
  • Other Structures
  • Personal Property
  • Loss of use
  1. Coverage for your “dwelling” is for your home; your roof, drywall, everything.  Coverage is generally provided for accidental and sudden physical loss.  Mold coverage is separate and is usually limited to $10,000.  Make sure the total amount would cover re-building your home if necessary.
  2. Other structures is usually coverage for non-attached sheds and structures like barns.
  3. Personal property coverage covers all the things in your home like furniture and televisions and computers.
  4. Loss of Use is insurance for the situation where you have to move out of the home for a time and it covers rental of another place.

Those are the basic coverages which may come into effect after a hurricane.  Know your deductible and policy limits.

Also, before a hurricane you MUST video your home and contents in pre-storm condition.  This video will document the items you owned and the condition of the roof and interior and may be the key piece of evidence in your claim.

Jeremy Hogan
Jeremy Hogan
Attorney Jeremy Hogan is a partner at Hogan & Hogan.