MIAMI – May 19, 2017 – The Atlantic hurricane season officially begins June 1, and homeowners should already be checking their insurance coverage. The season lasts through the end of November.

In analyzing their current property insurance, homeowners should first look at their deductible. Most coastal properties in the U.S. and most Florida policies will have a separate deductible for hurricane damages, which are generally based on a percentage of the home's insured value rather than a flat dollar amount.

While an owner might be tempted to increase their hurricane deductible in order to save money on yearly premiums, they should consider the ramifications because it could leave them underinsured during a serious catastrophe.

Insurance Information Institute (III) spokesperson Loretta Worters says that some insurers include the dollar value of the deductible along with the applicable percentage to eliminate confusion, but hurricane deductibles are distinct from the deductible for other sorts of damage to the home. The hurricane deductible usually goes into effect only when a storm is categorized as a hurricane by the National Weather Service – or, in some cases, when a storm is named, even if it doesn't become a hurricane.

Some policies will have separate windstorm deductibles that apply even for unnamed storms. For flood damages, Worters says that homeowners will want a separate policy from private insurers or the National Flood Insurance Program, though the government program has a 30-day waiting period before coverage takes effect. If a storm is bearing down, it's too late to have national flood coverage in time.

Source: New York Times (05/17/17) Carrns, Ann

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