Gov. Andrew Cuomo today urged homeowners to prepare for the possibility of New York being hit by any of the storms expected in the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season.
Nine to 15 storms are predicted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and as many as three of them could strengthen to hurricane force with top winds of 111 miles per hour or higher. Hurricane season extends through November 30.
“New Yorkers need to act now to make sure their homeowners’ policies offer an adequate level of protection against storm losses,” Cuomo said in a statement. “As the typical homeowners’ policy does not always cover flooding damage, homeowners should also make sure they are protected from flooding.
“With the possibility of strong storms this summer, I urge homeowners to review their insurance policies, understand what is covered and contact their insurance agent or broker if they have questions or need to update their policies,” he said.
Many coastal homeowners are subject to deductibles for particular kinds of events, including damage caused by windstorms and hurricanes. These deductibles are often expressed as a percentage of the home’s insured value, which is usually the cost to rebuild a home, not the cost to purchase it, according to the news release.
For instance, for a home insured for $500,000, a 5 percent windstorm or hurricane deductible would mean that the homeowner is responsible for $25,000, or five percent of the value, before the insurer will begin payment. Thus, for example, if the home sustains $75,000 in damage, the homeowner would have to pay for the first $25,000 in damages before the insurer would cover the remaining $50,000, according to the release.
The amount of the windstorm or hurricane deductible appears on the declarations page of any policy to which it applies.
Renters should also consider how to protect their possessions because their personal property is not covered by their landlords’ insurance policies. In addition to providing protection for their possessions, many renters’ policies cover the cost of additional living expenses if there is damage to the property and the renter needs to live elsewhere while the property is being repaired.
Additional information can be found at the Homeowners’ Insurance Resource Center on the Department of Financial Services’ website. Information about the specific deductibles offered by individual companies is available at here.
Homeowners can also call the Department’s Consumer Assistance Unit at 1-800-342-3736 Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.