According to the National Hurricane Center, June 1st marks the official start of the hurricane season. Before the day even came this year we had Tropical Storm Bonnie come up the east coast and drop a ton of rain on us in New Jersey.
It seems every year we hear how bad the hurricane season is going to be. It’s easy to be cynical after experiencing years of “bad news coming” and the season passing with no hurricanes to report. Yet we need to guard ourselves from letting that cloud our judgment. Hurricane Sandy proved one thing New Jersey is not immune to a major hurricane.
All it takes is one major event to upend our lives and the lives of our family and friends.
So with the start of hurricane season here are some things to consider:
Insurance Coverage and Deductibles
Do you have a homeowners or renters insurance policy and what kind of deductible do you have if a hurricane comes? Hurricanes are considered “wind” events and depending on where you live in New Jersey you may have a high or low deductible.
People who live close to the Jersey Shore will see a percentage based wind or hurricane deductible. It could range from 2% to 5% of your home or personal property value. What kind of deductible do you have? Do you have enough money in the bank to cover that deductible?
If you have a high percentage wind deductible you may be able to buy a separate policy that will allow you to buy a lower deductible. In the trade we call them Wind Buy Back policies. These kind of policies take a percentage based deductible to a set dollar amount.
If you live near a waterway or major body of water check to see if you have flood insurance. If you do have a policy do you have enough to cover the rebuilding of your house? Some people make the mistake of only buying coverage in the amount of their mortgage. In most cases the cost to rebuild your house is much more than the value of your mortgage.
The Federal Government provides flood insurance to homeowners and renters, but there is a 30-day waiting period before coverage can go into effect. So if you hear of a storm coming remember, you cannot get immediate coverage from the Federal Insurance program.
Make a Plan
There are two major questions to consider when planning ahead for the hurricane season:
- What do I need to do to hunker down and wait out a storm?
- What do I do when I need to evacuate my home?
We created a simplified homeowner hurricane checklist that will help guide you through this process.
If you already have a plan in place it’s a good time to review what you think you will do and make any updates to your plan.
When Hurricane Sandy hit we saw firsthand the impact a major storm can have on people’s lives. Many were confused as to what to do and where to go. Having a plan will get you to safety quicker and help you support yourself while the world around you recovers and comes back to normal.