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Homeowners Insurance: Lessons to Learn from Hurricane Sandy

As residents of New York and New Jersey slowly recover from the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy, Americans everywhere have come to appreciate the importance of emergency planning. Whether through earthquake, flood, tornado or wildfire, there is always the possibility of a home being destroyed in a natural disaster. So, it's essential to be prepared beforehand for an emergency.

Get Your Home Covered
Your home may be one of the most valuable assets you will ever own. To protect it against the ravages of Mother Nature you need quality homeowners insurance. Unfortunately, many consumers fail to research their insurance policy adequately, which could cost them dearly if the unexpected happens.

Know What Your Insurance Doesn't Cover
Insurance companies add so many exceptions to their standard homeowners policy that it is difficult to determine what is actually covered following a natural disaster. For instance, many victims of Hurricane Sandy now realize that flood and mold damage are almost never covered in a standard homeowners policy; even worse, wind damage caused by a hurricane is often subject to a separate deductible that could be as much as ten percent of the home's assessed value.

Don't Be Underinsured
Routinely review your coverage to make sure that you are not underinsured. Although most insurance policies do not cover either flood or earthquake damage, you can usually add that coverage, albeit at an added cost. In addition, given fluctuating construction costs, you should regularly evaluate the amount of coverage necessary to rebuild your home if it is ever destroyed.

Your Insurance Company Should Be Reliable
Getting the cheapest price is not always the best solution, especially if the insurance company fights you tooth and nail when you attempt to file a claim. Higher deductibles, combining coverage, and certain home improvements, such as a security system, can often reduce the cost of insurance, but remember that the insurance company's reputation is just as important as the cost of the policy.