Some Delaware residents are still recovering from Hurricane Sandy's lashing in October 2012. Sandy struck with isolated hurricane force gusts, widespread gales and heavy rain, and caused significant coastal area flooding. Only the catastrophic coverage of a hurricane insurance policy helps property owners recover quickly from such events. Before you search for quotes on hurricane insurance, however, there are a few things to keep in mind.
A History of Hurricanes in Delaware
- On Sept. 27, 1985, Hurricane Gloria provided more scare than wind. Hurricane force gusts blew along the lower Delaware shore.
- On July 12, 1996, Hurricane Bertha tracked through Delaware bringing gales and several inches of rain. On Sept. 5, Hurricane Fran passed about 150 miles west of Delaware but still whipped most areas with gusts of 40 to 55 mph.
- On Sept. 16, 1999, Hurricane Floyd's eye tracked over Fenwick Island in extreme southeastern Delaware. Epic rainfall deluged interior sections, with more than 10 inches in some places. A state calendar-day rainfall record was set at Greenwood – 10.58 inches.
- On Sept. 18 and 19, 2003, Hurricane Isabel tracked through Maryland. Peak gusts were generally 50 to 65 mph in Delaware. Widespread power outages occurred, and the winds uprooted thousands of trees. Isabel brought modest rainfall and minor coastal flooding, as seaside resorts missed the brunt of the storm.
- On Aug. 27 and 28, 2011, Hurricane Irene skirted the coastline, with gales and tropical storm force gusts throughout the state. Rain totaling 5 to 10 inches was widespread. In early September, the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee brought heavy rain and some flooding.
- More than one year after Hurricane Sandy swept the East Coast in October 2012, the economic impact of the storm is still unclear. There was more than $75 billion in damage to structures in Delaware and elsewhere throughout New England alone, but the far-reaching impact is still to be calculated.
Why Is Hurricane Insurance Coverage Important?
Since the fallout from Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, more and more people are realizing that federal disaster aid is not sufficient protection against these epic storms. Government assistance programs, such as the following, are distinctly different from insurance coverage and may or may not provide the assistance you need to recover from a hurricane:
- Federal disaster assistance will usually provide temporary housing and necessities such as food, clothing and shelter following a hurricane or flood.
- Federal financial assistance comes in the form of low-interest loans that you must repay to the government. You are not required to repay insurance claims, however.
- Disaster relief is often subject to congressional approval and delay.
Hurricane coverage that you buy for your DE home and personal belongings can provide immediate benefits after a natural disaster, as soon as an insurance adjuster can get to you.
Hurricane Coverage for At-Risk Delaware Residents
Hurricane coverage in Delaware is available and could be worth purchasing for your home and property, as they are at risk for these tropical storms.
More than half of the most damaging hurricanes to hit the United States have occurred since 1990, and climatologists predict more of these severe weather events for the future. Even if your Delaware home is hundreds of miles from the coast, you may experience the damaging effects of a hurricane that hits landfall.
High winds are the primary cause of hurricane-inflicted property damage. Hurricane-force winds can uproot trees, overturn vehicles, shatter windows and even level buildings. Heavy rains can also damage roofs and allow water to leak into homes, prompting many homeowners to wonder whether their homeowners policy covers water damage from storms and other causes.
Be sure you fully understand your homeowners insurance, including your limits and the exclusions in your policy. Because no two home insurance policies are alike, make sure you know what your policy covers and whether you may need to add coverage or increase limits to prepare for the risks inherent to Delaware.
How Does Hurricane Coverage Work?
Hurricane insurance coverage is a bit tricky. Most homeowners insurance should cover any damage caused by hurricane winds. Even so, many homeowners policies have special deductibles for hurricane damage that are separate from the general deductible for other damage. While the general deductible is likely set at a dollar amount, the deductible for hurricane damage is often set as a percent of the hurricane damage costs. It's usually around 3 percent, although it can run as high as 5 percent of the damage costs.
Does Hurricane Coverage Include Flood Damage?
As many Delaware residents discovered in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, homeowners insurance does not usually cover property destroyed by cresting rivers.
Hurricane insurance coverage only pertains to water damage caused by rains. Any hurricane damage from rising water, not wind and rain, is covered by flood insurance, which must be purchased separately through the federally run National Flood Insurance Program.
It is important to know that, while you can apply for flood insurance with the NFIP anytime, there is a 30-day waiting period before you can use the coverage. It's important to find this coverage before the next hurricane season.
What Does a Hurricane Insurance Quote Look Like, on Average?
The cost of catastrophic insurance that includes hurricane coverage varies, as there are a number of factors that impact quotes. Most Delaware insurance companies take several things into account when calculating your hurricane coverage quotes.
One variable that can significantly influence your premium quotes is the deductible you choose. Be sure to choose a deductible that you can comfortably afford should you need to file a claim for hurricane damage.
Your insurance quotes also depend upon whether you are buying actual cash value coverage, which takes depreciation into account, or replacement cost coverage, which will cover complete rebuilding if needed. Actual cash value is generally less expensive coverage than replacement cost but typically does not provide the funds to rebuild your home in the event of complete destruction.
How Do You Find Hurricane Coverage in Delaware?
Severe weather events that affect Delaware have increased in number and extremity over the years. Navigating the sketchy waters of catastrophic insurance that includes hurricane coverage is complex. That's why it is vital to work with an experienced insurance agent. Knowledgeable, independent insurance agents in the Trusted Choice® network are always available to help answer any questions you have on your homeowners insurance policy, suggest coverage options and even help you file a claim.
Contact a Trusted Choice agent to find out how you can be better protected against the next hurricane.