Homeowners Insurance Check-Up: Are You Prepared for a Natural Disaster

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Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Select NJ# 9483506

Back in 2012, Superstorm Sandy hit our neighborhood. Just last week, Hurricane Ida struck. (Reminder: Regular curbside pickup will not allow for bulky storm waste and debris. You must dispose of it at the Conservation Center.) When a natural disaster strikes, many homeowners rely on their insurance to take care of damages to their property. But when was the last time you checked on your homeowners insurance? You need to do that sooner rather than later.

After Hurricane Ida, it is time to perform a homeowners insurance check-up. Are you prepared for the next natural disaster?

Homeowners Insurance Check-Up

Search Westfield luxury homes for saleTornados. Floods. Hurricanes. Severe cold weather. They may all affect our lives here in the Westfield area at one point or another. If that happens, you want to be prepared.

Floods

Yes, homeowners insurance typically covers damage from a plumbing issue on your property. However, most of these policies do not cover flooding from a natural disaster. According to CoreLogic, flooding represents the #1 natural disaster in the country. And more than 20% of the claims come from homes located in non-flood zones. You must purchase a separate flood insurance policy to cover your Westfield area home in case of a natural disaster.

Tornadoes/Hurricanes

A typical homeowners insurance policy covers most wind damage resulting from a tornado or hurricane. However, it might require a higher deductible. Plus, you might want to increase your payout to cover total damage and loss of property, including how much it would cost to replace your home at its current value. On the other hand, it does not cover water damage. For that, you need a whole separate flood insurance policy.

Cold Weather

Another issue we deal with here in the Westfield area is cold winter weather. Your regular homeowners insurance policy should cover damage from a frozen pipe as long as you maintain a proper temperature on your property. Damage on properties unoccupied for an extended period of time (such as a second home or during a long vacation) will not be covered under a standard policy. If a tree or branch falls on your roof, any removal and repairs should be covered by your regular policy as well. The same goes for damage from hail.

Wildfires

Finally, while more prevalent in the West, wildfires can occur anywhere. Fortunately, this should be included as a "covered peril" in your homeowners policy. But check with your agent to make sure.

Schedule an appointment with your insurance agent as soon as possible. Go over everything included in your policy. Make sure your deductibles fall where you want them to. Also, double-check that your payout covers a total loss of personal property as well as your home. Most likely, it costs more to replace your home now than when you first purchased your insurance policy. But you want it to be up to date. If it isn't, increase it to the current replacement value. The last thing you need to worry about when you lose everything is whether or not you have sufficient insurance.

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Scott Gleason, CRS at RE/MAX Select, Luxury Homes

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