The cleanup of Hurricane Irene is still in full swing, as many are cleaning up their homes after unexpected flooding. The majority of damage the storm brought was flood damage, which has left many policyholders confused about their insurance policies and what they do and do not cover.
According to a MetLife Auto and Home Insurance Literacy study taken in August 2010, 72 percent of people surveyed said they believe that their insurance company would pay the full cost to rebuild their home after a fire or natural disaster. However, the reality is that insurance companies do not pay for the full cost needed to rebuild.
Most insurance companies and homeowner's insurance policies cap the amount they will payout for a total loss. The only way around this is if the policyholder bought additional coverage prior to the disaster.
Either way, insurance companies take depreciation into consideration when they assess the damage, and will most likely make a lower offer than you deserve.
Misconceptions About Homeowner's Insurance Coverage After Hurricane Irene
Another myth is that flood damage is covered under homeowner's policies. The truth of the matter is that most homeowner's policies do not cover losses due to flooding. This type of coverage has to be purchased from an insurance carrier or the federal government in a separate flood insurance policy.
A misconception about flood insurance coverage is that it is expensive; however, it starts around $129 annually and may be well worth it, as the average flood claim is approximately $48,000, according to the National Flood Insurance Program.
Although you may purchase flood insurance coverage, it is still critical to look at the maximum residential building coverage indicated on the policy. Some flood insurance only covers up to $250,000 for residences, which may not be enough if you have a total loss.
Because every insurance policy is unique, it is best to know what your policy states and to talk with a skilled insurance claim lawyer if you are not happy with your insurance company's offer. Especially when insurance companies are getting hit with billions of dollars in insurance claims, they are most likely going to scrutinize every single detail of your residential insurance claim and make you a low offer.
If you have been unfairly denied coverage or offered a low settlement after Hurricane Irene, you need to talk with a knowledgeable hurricane insurance claim attorney at the Voss Law Firm at 888-614-7730 for a free, no-obligation discussion of your case.