Having homeowners insurance is no guarantee against major losses for those who live in Hurricane path.
What was once a straightforward arrangement has become less generous and more complicated over the last quarter century as U.S. insurance companies shifted risks and costs onto their customers.
Most standard homeowner policies cover damages involved when winds blow the roof off, a tree falls on the roof or flying debris breaks windows. Most also provide protection from fire, lightning, hail, vandalism, explosions and theft, according to the Insurance Information Institute, a trade group.
They typically don’t cover flooding, which can become a major issue during hurricanes. Other exclusions include earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, war and damages that result from an owner’s neglect. Sometimes wind damage can be excluded in coastal areas or if flooding and high winds wreck a home at the same time.
Homeowners bracing for a hurricane’s devastation may not even realize they need a separate flood policy for losses from surging ocean waves or an overflowing river.
WHAT IS/ISN’T COVERED
Damages typically covered by homeowners insurance:
- Winds (unless winds and floods cause damages at same time)
- Falling objects
- The weight of ice, snow or sleet
- Volcanic eruption
Damages typically not covered by homeowners insurance:
- Power failure
- Nuclear hazard
- Government confiscation or seizure
- Wind damage (if flooding and wind damage happen simultaneously)
Note: This list is based on the standard homeowners policy considered the most popular, as provided by Insurance Services Office Inc. Other types of policies can cover fewer or more protections.
By Leslie Scism
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