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MAIN Arrow to HomeYour Money Arrow to InsuranceInsurance Arrow to Hurricane Insurance Hurricane Insurance

hurricane wind damageA hurricane has been forecast and you've taken all the necessary precautions or learned expert tips on hurricane preparedness.

But are you really insured against the storm?

During hurricanes Katrina and Rita, for example, local area residents thought they bought hurricane insurance as part of their homeowners policy. What they later discovered was that most hurricane policies exclude damage from floods.

Note that while a typical homeowner’s policy covers wind damage, it only covers water damage that is a direct result of rain entering through a wind-damaged area.

In short, it's wind-and-rain vs a full-blown flood in collecting a hurricane policy claim, so be sure you know the difference - and obtain both hurricane and flood insurance when protecting your home.

Depending on the policy, hurricane insurance will cover any resulting fires or vandalism, as well as hurricane clean up (such as debris removal and repairs), and cash or replacement value of damaged property. Additional Living Expenses (ALE) may also be provided should it become necessary for you to stay at a hotel if your home becomes unliveable.

Insurance adjusters are specially trained to tell the difference between flood and hurricane damage. However, since qualifications vary among insurance professionals, you might find yourself protesting the claim if you think it has been wrongfully determined by an inexperienced adjuster. You can also file a complaint with your state insurance department or as a last resort hire an attorney to continue the fight.

Before you purchase a home, it's always smart to investigate the area's hurricane history and whether or not it is designated as a known US flood zone.

Top 10 most hurricane-vulnerable areas in the US:

1. New Orleans, Louisiana
2. Lake Okeechobee, Florida
3. Florida Keys
4. Coastal Mississippi
5. Miami/Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
6. Galveston/Houston, Texas
7. Cape Hatteras, North Carolina
8. Eastern Long Island, New York
9. Wilmington, North Carolina
10. Tampa/St. Petersburg, Florida (more)

A word about hurricane insurance for boat owners

For boat owners, boat insurance may or may not cover hurricanes and major tropical storms. Ask your insurance agent about special premiums before purchasing hurricane coverage. These may include as much as 25% higher rates if you live in a hurricane zone, as well as certain conditions that need to be observed - such as securing your boat before a named storm - or other special precautions that needed to be taken before you can file a claim.

More facts & information about hurricane insurance around the Web:

On the Web, find out more about protecting your home from hurricane damage, how to navigate the minefield of hurricane and flood damage coverage, when and how to file a claim, along with expert tips and advice, and related resources for information on insuring against hurricanes ....

Will You Regret Not Buying Hurricane Insurance? - Check out a good discussion on the pros and cons, whether you can afford hurricane insurance in your area, and alternatives to hurricane insurance that might fit the bill..

Preparing for a hurricane - Read good, basic advice with tips on replacement cost coverage, additional living expenses, and related advice what to do before a hurricane hits along with tips on filing a claim and documenting damage.

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