Hurricane season: Tips for purchasing flood insurance policies

In the aftermath of severe flooding and the beginning of hurricane season, many homeowners are beginning the process of filing insurance claims. Here are some essential tips to help you get started and ensure your claims are processed smoothly.

NOAA released its seasonal hurricane outlook for the Atlantic basin, and due to warm waters and a diminishing El Niño, they anticipate between 17-25 named storms will form, with 8-13 becoming hurricanes with winds of at least 74 mph.

If your home was damaged in the severe flooding in the Houston area be sure you have documented the damage by taking comprehensive videos and photos of all affected areas and items, including personal belongings, furniture, appliances, and flooring. This documentation will be vital for your insurance claim, so make sure you capture the state of your property before you begin any cleanup efforts, as this will provide a clear picture of the damage for your insurance company and flood insurance providers.

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It's important to note that standard homeowner’s insurance policies do not cover flood damage. Flood insurance is a separate policy often available through your insurance company, but it's underwritten by FEMA.

Flood insurance policies typically have a 30-day waiting period before they take effect. With hurricane season on the horizon, it's wise to consider securing flood insurance as soon as possible.

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Given the financial strain many households are experiencing, some may have canceled or reduced their insurance coverage. If you're concerned about the cost of flood insurance, here are some tips:

  1. Consult with your insurance professional at least once or twice a year to ensure you have the appropriate coverage.
  2. You might consider increasing your deductible to lower your premium. However, be mindful that a higher deductible means more out-of-pocket expenses if you file a claim.
  3. If your rates seem too high, shop around. Compare rates from different companies or work with an agent who can do the legwork for you.

For more information on flood insurance from FEMA, click here.