Review Your Renters’ Insurance for Hurricane Season

It can be really heartbreaking hearing about people who attempt to file a claim after losing their belongings during a hurricane only to learn that they either weren’t covered, or could have received higher reimbursement for their loss by purchasing more coverage.

 

The Insurance Information Institute advises consumers to thoroughly review their policies.  They should also talk constructively to their insurance agents.  I.I.I. created a guide for consumers known as the Hurricane Season Insurance Checklist to help inform consumers of things like hurricanes, flood insurance, windstorm deductibles and how important it is to keep the insurance updated.

 

Insurance companies usually either won’t allow increases in coverage or will stop selling new policies when storms (especially hurricanes) are in the forecast. This is why it is a good idea to plan and prepare beforehand. The Atlantic hurricane season begins June 1 and ends Nov. 30.  Here’s what you need to know.

 

Renters Insurance

 

If you rent, your possessions are not covered through your landlord’s insurance in the event a storm hits. You will need to get renters insurance to protect your property.  This insurance can cost as little as $10 a month. This type of insurance will replace damaged belongings due to earthquakes, wind and hurricanes.  Deductibles can start at $100; however, the typical deductible is $250.

 

Valuable Personal Property Coverage

 

Your renters policy will help cover your belongings after a hurricane, however, the coverage you get may not be sufficient enough for items of value like cameras, jewelry, fine art, musical instruments and more. There is a separate insurance policy for this. You can get this extra protection for as little as $5 per month. For many property types, no depreciation or deductible is applied to a covered loss.

 

Flood Insurance

 

Flood damage is not covered in renters insurance; at least floods that result from water rising up over the street lines. A separate policy would need to be issued if you want flood coverage.

In a press release, it was said that at the spring meeting at the Casualty Actuarial Society in Colorado Springs, casualty and property actuaries were watching the hurricane activity very closely since losses resulting from them would boost property insurance rates.

 

A number of property actuaries attempt to determine the amount of insured loss would be caused by a hurricane.  They use catastrophe models for this research. Prasad Gunturi who is Willis Re’s senior vice president, talked about how catastrophe modelers attempt to forecast both medium-term and long-term storm frequency.

 

So far, this years (2015) season is showing similar characteristics to the 1957, 1987, 1991, 1993 as well as the 2014 hurricane seasons.  These were all considered below-normal activity according to Phil Klotzbach who was lead author of the Colorado State University report.   This however, does not mean that coastal renters should not prepare in advance.