Natural Disaster Coverage — What to Look For


When it was time to buy a home, you likely did all the right research, from which homeowners’ insurance to go with to the local education system and everything in between. But in all your research and planning, did you take into account the effects that natural disasters could have on your home? Depending on where in the country you live, you may be at a higher risk of a natural disaster affecting your home. Looking into disaster insurance could have a significant impact on your family’s future.

When it was time to buy a home, you likely did all the right research, from which homeowners’ insurance to go with to the local education system and everything in between. But in all your research and planning, did you take into account the effects that natural disasters could have on your home? It’s normal to worry about your home and your belongings, but having the right coverage can help put your mind at ease. Although natural disasters have the potential to damage or even destroy your property, natural disaster protection can provide funds to replace and rebuild the items that you’ve lost.

By sitting down with your insurance agent, you can determine whether the coverage you currently have is enough or you need something more substantial. Here are some questions to ask as you and your agent determine what kind of coverage you might need:

  •  If something were to happen to your property, do you have adequate coverage?
  • Are your insurance policies current and up to date?
  • What type of valuables does your standard insurance cover? Do you have special items that might require additional coverage, such as artwork, jewelry or technology?
  • What claim-filing process would you need to file should catastrophe strike?

When it comes to disaster insurance, it’s important to keep in mind that one type of insurance does not “fit all,” so to speak. Liz Pullman Weston of MSN Money encourages individuals to meet with their insurance agents to help determine any gaps in their coverage.

“Where you can buy extra coverage depends on the location of your home and the particular catastrophe you’re trying to protect against,” Weston notes. “If you live in an area that’s prone to other natural disasters, such as hurricanes, tornadoes or hailstorms, your homeowners insurance may not cover damage from those calamities, or it may limit the coverage you have.”

Although disaster coverage can be an additional expense, there are a variety of reasons to get it, including:

Government help might not be granted. In order for FEMA and SBA to offer assistance after a natural disaster, the president has to declare it a major disaster. If the damage is limited, this may not happen even if you’ve suffered significant loss.

Government-funded assistance might not be adequate. Assistance from FEMA and SBA might be limited; repair costs have an unfortunate way of rising significantly after disasters, so the assistance you do receive might not go as far as you’d like.

Loans taken out for repairs can mean deeper debt. SBA loans — like all loans — have to be paid back, meaning that between your loans and your mortgage, you could wind up owing more on your property than it’s really worth.

Ensuring that your home and your family are adequately covered in the event of a natural disaster can help expedite your recovery.

 

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