For immediate release
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NEW YORK, May 15, 2018 — The official start of hurricane season has always been June 1. Yet, tropical weather pays little heed to the calendar. Case in point: The first tropical disturbance of 2018 is forming now in the Gulf of Mexico, and according to the National Hurricane Center, has a 10 percent chance of becoming a hurricane. This disturbance is a timely reminder that now is the time for an annual review of your insurance policies. The Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) urges those living in hurricane-prone states to recognize their increasing risks, including the gaps between coverage that is required and protection that is needed.
Two primary lessons from the 2017 hurricane season include the need to know the exact dollar amount of your hurricane deductible and the importance of flood insurance. Hurricane deductibles have been in place for more than two decades in many coastal states, and they exist as a means to finance the extraordinary losses that can arise from major storms. Flood insurance is required for homeowners living in high-risk flood zones, yet people living outside those zones get flooded, too – including areas that are miles from the coastline.
The I.I.I urges two proactive steps: Check your insurance policy for the hurricane deductible amount, and talk to an insurance professional to understand your flood risk.
Nineteen states and the District of Columbia have hurricane deductibles in place. Some states have hurricane deductibles that apply solely to damage from hurricanes; others have windstorm or wind/hail deductibles that apply to any type of wind damage. Both are percentage deductibles that can vary from 1 to 5 percent of a home’s insured value. What triggers the percentage deductible can differ according to individual state regulations and/or guidelines from the insurance company. It is not confusing, according to the I.I.I., yet it requires policyholders’ attention to help them prepare financially and know what to expect if they have an insurance claim.
“Devastation in Florida and Texas in 2017 from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma was a wake-up call for some. But when the storms pass, too many people hit the snooze button,” said Kristin Palmer, the I.I.I.’s Chief Communications Officer. “Flooding remains the No. 1 disaster risk in the U.S., and it’s increasing as continued development rearranges flood plains. If your area is subject to occasional torrential rains, flood insurance should not be considered optional.”
A call to your insurer before the start of hurricane season is a proactive, annual preparedness step. The I.I.I. has a hurricane season insurance guide to walk you through the checkpoints for the right type and amount of insurance protection.
“Actions taken in advance of a storm make a big difference in how well someone can bounce back afterwards,” said Palmer. “Now is the time to get a plan, be prepared and protect your property and your finances.”