CSC reminds Virginians to review property insurance
The State Corporation Commission Bureau of Insurance reminds Virginians that late August to early October is often the most dangerous and active time for tropical storm activity – and the potential property damage these storms can cause.
If you haven’t looked at your home insurance yet, the Bureau is urging Virginians to do so now while hurricane season is underway. Whether you own, rent or own a business, protect yourself financially by making sure you have the coverage you need before disaster strikes.
The hurricane season officially runs from June 1 to November 30. Even areas hundreds of kilometers from the coast can be affected by high winds, heavy rains and flooding that accompany hurricanes and tropical storms. You might find it difficult to increase your insurance coverage once a hurricane develops in the Atlantic and until the threat has passed, so review your coverage now and make the necessary changes.
“Disasters can happen anywhere and anytime. Don’t wait until it’s too late to protect yourself and your property from a hurricane or other disaster, ”Virginia Insurance Commissioner Scott A. White said. “Assess your risk now and make sure you have the coverage you need before a storm starts to brew. “
The Bureau encourages Virginians to speak to their insurance agent or company if they have any questions about what is and is not covered, how to reduce property damage, and what to do if damage occurs.
Most homeowners, renters, and commercial insurance policies do not cover losses due to flooding. Speak to your insurance agent about flood insurance or visit the National Flood Insurance Program website at www.floodsmart.gov to learn more about protecting your home or business from damage. due to flooding, surface water or storm surges. There is usually a 30 day waiting period for a new flood insurance policy to take effect.
The Bureau also encourages Virginians to create a detailed home inventory with photos, videos and serial numbers of your belongings. The free smartphone app from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners can help with this process.
Store your insurance policies and your home inventory in a safe place and take them with you if you need to evacuate. These records will contain your policy numbers and the phone numbers of your insurance companies in case you have any questions or need to file a claim.
If your property is damaged by a hurricane, contact your insurance agent or company as soon as possible. To protect your property from further damage, make the necessary emergency repairs. Document all damage to your property and include photographs, notes and receipts related to the repairs.
Policyholders should consider the following questions about potential hurricane damage when reviewing their policies:
- Does your home insurance policy contain a special deductible for damage caused by wind or hurricanes? These deductibles are applied separately from any other deductible on a home insurance policy and can be written as a fixed amount, such as $ 1,000, or applied to a loss as a percentage of home insurance coverage.
- Does your home insurance policy cover things like sewer backup? Most home insurance policies do not cover sewer backup, but policyholders can purchase additional coverage for this purpose.
- Are vehicles covered in the event of a hurricane or windstorm? If you have non-collision (or full) coverage for your vehicle under your auto policy, your vehicles will generally be covered for flood and wind damage.
For more information, contact the Bureau of Insurance Property and Casualty Division toll-free at 1-877-310-6560 or in Richmond at 804-371-9185. Specially trained staff at the Bureau can help consumers answer their insurance questions and concerns.
The Bureau also offers free consumer guides for home owners and commercial property owners with information on what to do in the event of a disaster. These are available in the Disaster Preparedness section of its website at scc.virginia.gov/pages/Disaster-Readiness.
For more information on preparing for emergencies related to hurricanes and other types of disasters, visit the Virginia Department of Emergency Management website at www.vaemergency.gov.