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By MarcWites


Many Floridians were spared damage and destruction from Hurricane Dorian.  We may not be so lucky next time. Now is the time to prepare for the next storm by making sure you have enough insurance coverage to cover your claim; to repair or replace your home, and your personal property.  Check your insurance policy’s declarations page, which lists your coverages, and ask your insurance agent the following ten questions:

1. Do I have enough insurance under Coverage A?

Coverage A is known as Dwelling Coverage, and includes your home or building, and any attached structures. If a hurricane destroys your home and it is a total loss, does your policy include enough coverage to rebuild your home?

2. Do I have enough insurance under Coverage B?

Coverage B includes unattached structures, such as a detached garage or shed.

3. Do I have enough insurance under Coverage C?

Coverage C is for Personal Property, such as furniture and clothing.

4. Do I have Replacement Cost or Actual Cash Value for personal property?

A very important part of this coverage concerns whether your policy provides for Replacement Cost (which requires the insurance company to pay the cost for you to replace your damaged property with a new item) versus Actual Cash Value (which only requires the insurance company to pay the current, or fair market value of your damaged property).

5. Do I have enough insurance under Coverage D?

Coverage D is sometimes referred to as Loss of Use or Alternative Living Expenses and includes the cost for you to live in another location if your home is uninhabitable. Depending upon the severity of the damage to your property, you may have to live in another location for many weeks, months or more. 

6. Do I have wind storm coverage, and if so how much?

Most policies include coverage for damage caused by wind unless the homeowner waives such coverage. This coverage may be important in the event that your home is damaged by wind from a storm.

7. Do I have mold coverage and, if so, how much?

Most insurance policies include only limited coverage for mold, and some exclude it altogether. You may able to pay an extra premium for more mold coverage.  

8. If I use my property as a rental property am I still covered?

Some policies will provide coverage only if you, the homeowner, live in the property, and will not provide coverage if you rent the property to someone else.

9. Are any coverages excluded under my policy and, if so, what?

Insurance policies provide coverage, and they also attempt to exclude coverage for many types of losses. You should know what is excluded under your policy, and whether it is possible to pay an additional premium to purchase coverage that is excluded under your policy. 

10. How much is my hurricane deductible?

If your home is damaged by a hurricane, your policy’s standard deductible does not apply.  Rather, the hurricane deductible applies. The deductible is the amount you must pay before the insurance company has to pay you any money.  Generally, your insurance company must offer your hurricane deductibles of $500, or 2%, 5% or 10% of your Coverage A limits for your dwelling.  

These ten questions are a good place for you to start. There are many other questions you might ask, such as whether your policy will cover your claim if the property is used for rental purposes or if your policy has law and ordinance coverage (which provides coverage to build your home to meet the current building codes).

And, if your property suffers damages in a non-weather related event, such as a burst pipe, there are still other questions you might ask, such as your policy’s limits on mold coverage and emergency water mitigation. In addition, your policy includes other coverages not discussed above.

Your insurance agent has a duty imposed by law to make sure that you have the right insurance coverage to properly insure your home and personal property. But, if you have any questions, you should ask now before the next storm is upon us.

Wites & Rogers represents homeowners and commercial property owners throughout Florida in claims against their insurance companies. For a free consultation, call Wites & Rogers at 1-866-277-8631 or via email at info@witeslaw.com

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Marc A. Wites

Marc A. Wites is the founding shareholder of Wites & Rogers. He directs the firm’s litigation practice groups for personal injury and wrongful death cases, class actions, property insurance claims, sexual assault, and investment fraud.

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