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Common Insurance Questions Following a Hurricane

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Following the devastating impact of Hurricane Sandy, many insurance companies gathered claims adjusters from all over the United States to help with damage claims. After such an incident, it is important to discuss damages with an agent immediately. As residents were left to face extensive damages, they had many questions. The following paragraphs address some common questions following a hurricane.

1. Does a homeowners policy cover wind damage?
Wind damage to the home, duplex or condominium itself is covered. Unattached property features such as swimming pools are also covered. If a garage or deck is attached to the main living structure, it is also covered.

2. Does a homeowners policy cover flood damage?
A standard homeowners insurance policy covers water damage to some extent but does not provide flood coverage. It is important to understand the difference between water damage and flooding. This type of insurance is sold separately and must be obtained from the National Flood Insurance Program. Those who have purchased this government-sponsored coverage may file a claim with his or her agent or with the NFIP.

3. Does a renters policy cover wind damage?
Damages to a renter's personal belongings are covered. Any damage to the structure itself will be covered under the building owner's insurance policy. In some cases, certain renters insurance policies may have some provisions for flood damage. However, it is necessary to obtain coverage from the NFIP in most cases.

4. Is damage from a storm surge considered flood damage?
The damage from a storm surge is considered flood damage, which is not covered on a standard homeowners policy.

5. Does a condo/co-op policy cover flood damage?
If the condo/co-op association bought flood insurance separately, flood damage will be covered. However, only the structure would be covered. The possessions of tenants will not be covered under such a policy, but tenants' renters insurance policies provide coverage for belongings damaged by floods.

6. Does a condo/co-op policy cover wind damage?
If the association purchased a policy, the terms may vary. Some may include the bare walls but nothing behind them. However, some policies may include wiring, fixtures or plumbing. A person living in such a unit with a homeowners policy designed for a condominium would have coverage for the interior part of the dwelling.

7. Does an auto insurance policy cover flood damage to a vehicle?
This depends on what type of coverage was purchased. People who own only collision or liability policies will not be covered. For those who have comprehensive coverage, flood damage is covered.

8. Is food that spoiled due to a power outage covered?
The wording in a homeowners policy provides coverage for food that spoiled due to power outages that come with physical damage. For example, if the storm caused a power surge that destroyed a refrigerator, the food would be covered to a certain point. However, if the power simply went out due to a plant failure and did not cause damage to appliances or the home itself, the food would not be covered. Food coverage amounts vary between $250 and $500 per appliance.

9. Is it possible to be reimbursed for temporary repairs?
If the repairs are completed in order to prevent further damage to the home, reimbursement will be made. Repairs that are considered cosmetic or not necessary will not be reimbursable. For example, repairing a broken window that would otherwise let more moisture in would be reimbursable, but immediately repairing a sofa that was torn by a piece of glass from a broken window would not be a covered expense.

10. Should a claim be filed if the damage is less than the deductible?
It is important to file a claim when there are any damages.

11. Are temporary living arrangements covered for uninhabitable structures?
Coverage is 20 percent or more of the home's value. Mandatory evacuation expenses may also be covered.

12. How much is a percentage hurricane deductible?
Read the details on the policy's declarations page to determine how much must be paid out of pocket.

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