Catastrophe Insurance FAQ

Q.What Is Earthquake Insurance?

Interestingly enough, earthquake insurance covers things other than earthquakes, because the definition of an earthquake includes the shifting, rising or sinking of the earth. So, other things such as mudslides, mudflows, sinkholes, and tremors are often included in the definition of an earthquake and may be covered under your policy.

An earthquake insurance policy typically covers the dwelling, other detached structures located on your property and personal possessions.

Q.What Does Fire Insurance Cover?

Typical fire insurance coverage typically includes the repair or re-building of your home, additional structures on your property, personal possessions, clean-up and storage costs, and temporary repairs. Your fire insurance may also include living expenses for an alternative residence while your home is being repaired or rebuilt. However, you should be aware that every homeowners policy is different and it is important to understand your specific coverage and any exclusions listed in your policy. Your fire insurance will not cover fire that you intentionally cause, and will also typically not cover fire caused by your own personal negligence.

Q.How Much Is Fire Insurance?

The cost of fire insurance depends on a range of factors. For example, you will have some basic coverage in your homeowners insurance, which takes into account the risks in your area and your home’s square footage. The amount you pay for insurance will go up if you want additional coverage for high value possessions, or you want full replacement value coverage vs. actual cash value coverage.

Additional factors which may affect how much you pay can also include:

  • Your home’s building construction
  • The age of the building
  • The location of your residence
  • Whether you or anyone in your family smokes
  • Whether you have sprinkler systems
  • Your home’s proximity to a fire department
  • Your home’s proximity to a fire hydrant

Note that if you live in a rural area that is not serviced by a fire department, it may be difficult to buy fire insurance.

Q.What Does Flood Insurance Cover?

Flood insurance covers flooding from overflowing rivers and creeks as well as tidal waters and flash floods.

Your flood insurance policy will cover you up to your policy limits, and may have certain exclusions. Be sure you carefully read your flood insurance policy, whether you purchase it through the NFIP or a private insurer.

Generally speaking, your coverage may include debris removal, structural repair to your home, attached and detached building structures (which may require separate policies), permanently installed fixtures, electrical repairs, and out of pocket expenses for temporary clean-up costs.

Contents coverage for your personal belongings may or may not be included. The contents coverage portion of the policy can be subject to limitations and offers some coverage for your appliances, furniture and personal possessions.

Q.What Does Hurricane Insurance Cover?

Coverage typically includes the house structure, and may or may not include detached structures, your personal possessions, and clean-up costs. Hurricane insurance may or may not include living expenses to help you pay for alternative living arrangements when your home is uninhabitable. Many policies also have a special separate hurricane deductible. This is different from your standard homeowners insurance deductible; typically it ranges from 3 to 5 percent of the policy value, but can also be a specific dollar amount you will need to pay if your home sustains hurricane damage.

Your coverage will include damage caused by wind or rain, but not flooding.  Flood damage will require separate flood insurance coverage.

Q.Does Hurricane Insurance Cover Hail Damage?

Most hurricane insurance and homeowners insurance cover hail damage, but the amount it will pay out will vary. One of the biggest factors taken into consideration is the age of your roof. Typically, roofs that are under 10 years old may be eligible for the full cost of repair or replacement and roofs that are 10 years or older may only be eligible for the depreciated value of the roof.

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