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Last updated: April 17, 2018 • Environmental Real Estate

Atlantic Hurricane Season is Coming: How’s your Home Insurance Policy?

Colorado State University’s Department of Atmospheric Sciences, one of America’s most respected sources for climate change and tropical cyclone forecasting, has released a report on the upcoming 2018 Atlantic Hurricane season (that runs from June 1st to November 30) and the news is unsettling.

According to them, we are expected to have a busier hurricane season than average. They expect 14 named storms (where the yearly average since 1981 is 12), seven hurricanes (where the standard is 6.5) and three major hurricanes (one more than the average). The odds for areas possibly affected by the hurricane season are 63 percent for the entire US coastline (while the proportion is 52 percent), 39 percent for the East coast, including the Florida Peninsula (up from 31 percent average), 38 percent for the Gulf Coast from the Florida Panhandle westward to Brownsville and 52 percent for the Caribbean.

We should all take that information with a grain of salt, as the weather changes a lot, making this prediction subject to change. No need to start packing first aid kits, storing water, food, and gas.

However, climate change is alarming. After last year’s hurricane season – that was classified as an anomaly and left families with damaged homes (or even homeless!) – here comes an even worst one? While settling the environment question requires long-term discussions and solutions, easing it on your end can – and should – get done right now. Is your house prepared for the upcoming 2018 Atlantic Hurricane Season?

First step you should take is reading your homeowner’s insurance policy to find out or refresh your mind as to what perils it covers. Most important thing you should assure: does your home insurance cover an “Act of God”  like a hurricane? Not all types of homeowners insurances do, so make sure yours covers!

Don’t forget about secondary damages; in act of God situations, there are usually layered perils. Aside from wind damages, your house can get damaged by fire, caused because of a fallen tree – hit by lighting – on the power lines; that’s a peril’s bingo right there, right? So, find out not only if your homeowner’s insurance covers wind damages, but also flooding losses, for instance. Hurricane Harvey is pretty fresh on everyone’s mind as to how bad of a secondary damage flooding can be; displacing more than 30,000 people and prompting more than 17,000 rescues.

Pro-tip: usually private homeowner’s insurance policies do not cover flooding damage, so read carefully your home insurance or contact your real estate agent to discover if you require additional home insurance for the hurricane season, like flood insurance. Chances are you do, and if so, the time to take action is now. Most home insurance requires from 30 to 90 days prior to the start of the hurricane season to take effect or even to allow enrollment. And even if not because of the hurricane season, you should have flood insurance anyhow, as (because of climate change) the tides have been high all around and floods have become common throughout America. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), all 50 states have dealt with floods in the past 5 years, and more than 20% of the claims come from moderate to low-risk regions. 88% of Americans do not have flood insurance to their house and you can (and should) help lower this percentage.

While the first step – making sure your home insurance is suitable for an environment worst case scenario – is taken to deal with the aftermath, the second step might be even more important: making sure your house is strong and ready before the hurricane season starts at all.

Check your house for structural flaws, Warning Signs of Roof Disrepair and if your door, walls and power box insulation is up-to-date to endure potential climate change catastrophes. This is vital not only from a survival standpoint – what does it matter if the house gets repaired and your belongings replaced if you and your loved ones get hurt or *knock on wood* something worse happens? – but also to help with the first step of having your homeowner’s insurance work fast for your recovery. If you have pictures and a credible report of your house status before climate change perils strike, you will be able to expedite the due diligence process of screening damages caused by the hurricane season versus depreciation damages and other human-made damages. Again, back to the worst case scenario of an environmental disaster: if a lot of people are in need of contractors to rebuild or repair their houses, your best bet is to have it all ready so you can be in the front of that line, right?

For the curious minds out there – and anyone who wants to have fun with and make a friendly predict-the-hurricane game –  here are the names of the possible tropical storms that can turn into hurricanes: Alberto, Beryl, Chris, Debby, Ernesto, Florence, Gordon, Helene, Isaac, Joyce, Kirk, Leslie, Michael, Nadine, Oscar, Patty, Rafael, Sara, Tony, Valerie, William.

There’s nothing to be scared of. This is only a friendly reminder from us at The OFFICIAL Real Estate Agent Directory®, after all, It’s all about expecting the best while being prepared for the worst. You still have plenty of time to check your home insurance to be prepared as a whole for this potential act of God. If you need extra resources, we have a comprehensive article with Six Things You Should do During Hurricane Season in Florida that you should definitely check out even if you are not in Florida.

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