Homeowners Insurance + Severe Weather - Part 2

  • Homeowners insurance typically covers dwelling losses on a replacement cost basis. The initial payment may be depreciated and the balance paid when repairs are complete.

  • The policy's dwelling limit is the maximum payout if the house is totally destroyed. This may not be enough to rebuild the structure. Guaranteed replacement cost or modified guaranteed replacement cost coverage are optional endorsements that raise this ceiling. Contact your homeowners insurance agent for details.

  • Personal belongings are insured for specific losses identified in the policy. Claims are typically settled on an actual cash value (depreciated) basis. Many insurers offer contents replacement cost coverage for an additional fee.

  • Payout limitations apply to certain personal property losses. Review the policy for coverage gaps. Ask about increasing limits or adding a personal articles floater for expensive jewelry, coins, antiques, business equipment and more. Electrical storms and lightning strikes can seriously damage electronic equipment Check for restrictions on losses related to power surges and power outages and explore buy-back coverage.

  • Homeowners insurance policies exclude damage caused by flooding. Flood insurance is available, but must be purchased as a separate, stand-alone policy.

  • Water damage from a storm is covered only if the house has exterior damage. Consider adding sewer back-up/sump pump overflow coverage if you have a finished basement.

  • The cost to remove fallen limbs is covered by insurance if branches are on top of an insured structure.

  • Homeowners policies include adjusted living expense coverage. This pays increased living costs for rent, food, etc. if a covered loss forces you out of your home temporarily.

  • Review policy loss provisions for specifics about the claim settlement process and policyholder duties when damage occurs.

After a storm:

It is important to take a close look at your property following a severe weather event. Report storm damage to the insurance company as soon as possible. Make temporary repairs to prevent additional loss. Save receipts for these materials and submit them to the insurance company for reimbursement. Be prepared to turn in a list of damaged personal property. Do not throw anything away until the adjuster has seen the damage and given approval.