Insurance policy holders to find out the answers to questions they may have about their policies before a storm strikes this hurricane season.
Here are some questions that the Department of Insurance says policyholders should ask themselves now before a storm hits:
What's my storm deductible?
Generally windstorm damage is covered under your standard homeowners, renters and business insurance policies with a separate wind and hail, named-storm or hurricane deductible which usually ranges from two percent to five percent of the insured property value. If a home has an insured value of $200,000 with a two percent deductible, the policyholder would pay $4,000 out of pocket. The single season hurricane deductible law enacted after Hurricanes Gustav and Ike struck Louisiana in 2008 lessens the impact the policyholder must bear when multiple storms cause damage to an insured property during a single storm season or calendar year.
Do I have flood insurance?
Flood damage resulting from heavy rain or storm surge is excluded under standard policies. Flood coverage can be obtained from FEMA's National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). You can find out how to obtain coverage and also check your flood risk by entering your address at www.floodsmart.gov. There is typically a 30-day waiting period before a flood insurance policy becomes effective.
If my home was damaged or flooded, would I know what I lost?
Compiling a home inventory is critical to making a claim for losses. You can use a smart phone or pad and paper, but documenting your belongings can save you valuable time and energy following a disaster. A free phone application from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners myHomescr.APP.book can help you capture images, descriptions and serial numbers and store them electronically.
Are there any incentives for strengthening my home?
Storm mitigation efforts such as roof bracing and installing shutters can go a long way in protecting your home from storm damage and can also provide discounts on your insurance premium. Homeowners who voluntarily build or retrofit their home to comply with the Louisiana State Uniform Construction Code can reap benefits that include insurance premium discounts, tax deductions and state sales and use tax exclusions. Keep in mind premium discounts vary by company and location, with coastal residents receiving a more significant discount than non-coastal residents.
For more information from the Louisiana Department on Insurance visit their website at www.ldi.la.gov or call them at 1-800-259-5300.
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