TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Hurricane Preparedness Week runs May 9 through 15 and is your time to prepare for the potential of a tropical storm or hurricane.

Wednesday marks Day 4 and focuses on home insurance. You are urged to seek out a homeowner’s insurance check up as we get closer to the start of hurricane season.

Call your insurance company or agent and ask for an insurance check-up to make sure you have enough homeowners insurance to repair or even replace your home. Don’t forget to ask about coverage for your car or boat.

Have your agent print out your policy for you and explain the different elements, especially relating to storm coverage. Often times, you have a separate deductible for damage incurred during a hurricane or tropical storm and it can be much higher than your traditional deductible. 

Remember, standard homeowners insurance doesn’t cover flooding. Whether you’re a homeowner or renter, you’ll need a separate policy for it. It’s available through your company, agent or the National Flood Insurance Program. It is important not to wait until closer to hurricane season, as flood insurance requires a 30-day waiting period.

According to the National Flood Insurance Program, floods cause billions of dollars in property damage in the U.S. every year. If you live in a high-risk area, your home has a 26% chance of being damaged by flooding during the course of your 30-year mortgage, compared to a 10% chance of being damaged by house fire.

Also ask your insurance agent about the process after the storm if you have damage to your property. He or she can walk you through the process, explaining how adjusters will survey the damage and make an estimate of the cost of repair. Ask if you can use any licensed contractor or if you are bound to use the insurance companies’ assigned contractor. 

Basic questions to ask your insurance agent from FLASH:

  •  What coverages are appropriate for my living arrangement?
  •  Who sells these coverages?
  •  What coverages do I need to purchase and are they available?
  •  What perils are covered in the policy I purchase?
  •  What is the proper amount of insurance to purchase?
  •  Are there steps I can take to lower my premium?

Types of insurance policies – what’s right for you?

Several lines of insurance are available to cover various perils. The most appropriate insurance product for your needs depends primarily on your type of dwelling.

Owning a Home – If you own a home, there are two available policy forms: homeowners and dwelling forms. The main difference between these two types of forms is that the homeowners form combines property coverage with liability coverage, while the dwelling form only covers property losses. In addition, a dwelling form is more typically used for a dwelling that an insured person owns but does not live in, or only lives in during part of the year. Both types of policy forms have the various peril coverage available for both the dwelling and its contents.

Owning a Manufactured Home – There are policy forms specifically designed to insure manufactured homes. This type of policy covers both the dwelling and contents and provides liability protection.

Owning a Condominium – There are policy forms specifically designed to cover condominiums, which typically cover contents (i.e. your personal property) and liability. A small amount of dwelling coverage is provided to cover the portions that you are responsible for, as defined by the governing rules of the condominium association. This may include condominium common areas, and you can purchase additional dwelling coverage if the protection included in the package is insufficient.

Renting a Residence – There are renter’s insurance policy forms specifically designed for you if you are renting and do not own your residence. These forms provide coverage for your contents and liability.

Owning a Home on a Farm – Farm owner’s policy forms are specifically designed to cover farms or ranches which may not qualify for standard homeowners insurance. This policy may be the most appropriate form to cover property losses to your home, and other structures such as barns and silos, from the damage of tornadoes, hail, and other perils. Farm owner’s policies also cover both the personal and commercial exposure of farms, along with liability coverage.

For more detailed information about homeowners insurance policies and what they cover during times of disaster, check FLASH’s guide to insurance.