The devastation wrought by Hurricane Harvey on the Gulf Coast is a stark reminder of nature’s power.
An event of this magnitude should serve as a pause for all members – especially those in areas that can potentially be affected by hurricanes – to assess their homeowners or renters insurance policies and understand the scope of their coverage.
These are the five essential elements of reviewing your coverage:
Perhaps the most important factor to consider is that flood insurance, which covers losses from rising water and tidal surge, isn't included in most homeowners policies. It is available from the USAA Insurance Agency through the National Flood Insurance Program. USAA’s renters insurance policies provide coverage for flood, but many other carriers do not.
For homeowners policies, be aware that flood coverage doesn't become effective until 30 days after purchase.
Windstorm damage is often covered with its own deductible in some homeowners insurance policies, and an entirely separate wind or hurricane policy might be required in some places. Hurricane and windstorm coverage in coastal areas may only be available through a state-managed insurance pool. It may also have a waiting period before coverage begins.
Homeowners policies typically include coverage for personal belongings while renters policies can cover the loss of renters' personal belongings, which are not covered by the landlord's insurance. It’s important to understand how much coverage is provided and if the coverage is based on the belonging’s actual cash value or replacement cost.
Temporary living expenses
Review your homeowners policy's coverage for temporary living expenses. See how much and for how long it will pay after the storm ends. Renters also should inquire about this coverage in their policy.
High-value personal possessions
Coverage under USAA’s Valuable Personal Property policies can help replace those costly items, including jewelry and artwork, that a homeowners policy may not.
Things you can do
“An insurance representative should be able to recommend improvements homeowners can make to reduce hurricane-related risks and control insurance costs,” says Tom Woods, assistant vice president of P&C underwriting at USAA.
The recommended improvements endorsed by the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes cover roofing materials, garage door fortifications and a variety of other relatively low-cost precautions.
To review your coverages, click on "My USAA" on the home screen and select the policy you want to view from the menu.
Other Essential Information
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Property and casualty insurance is provided by United Services Automobile Association and its affiliate property and casualty insurance companies and is available only to persons eligible for P&C group membership. Each company has sole financial responsibility for its own products.
Use of the term “member” or “membership” refers to membership in USAA Membership Services and does not convey any legal or ownership rights in USAA. Restrictions apply and are subject to change.
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