Hurricane activity has gotten off to an early start this year. While the 2020 Eastern Pacific hurricane season runs from May 15 to November 30, a tropical depression already formed on April 25 in the Eastern Pacific Ocean. According to the Weather Channel, it was the first April Eastern Pacific tropical depression on record. Thankfully, it didn’t threaten any land areas – but the next storm could be different.
Climate change may be making the situation worse. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the United States experienced 14 weather and climate disasters with losses of $1 billion or more in 2019. This was the fifth consecutive year with at least 10 such events.
If the trend continues, 2020 could be another bad year for weather and climate disasters. As the hurricane season kicks off, homeowners should prepare for next big storm.
It’s a question of when – not whether – the next hurricane will strike. Make sure you’re ready.
- Keep important supplies on hand. This should include water, non-perishable food, pet food, flashlights, batteries, a radio, clothes, blankets, a first aid kit and medications. See FEMA’s Hurricane Preparedness Emergency Kit for more details.
- Determine how safe your home will be in a hurricane. Maui County says you can consider sheltering in your home if you live in a sturdy structure away from coastal and rainfall flooding.
- Have a plan for your family and pets. Know how you will communicate, the safest room in your house and which storm shelter you can go to in an emergency.
- Takes steps to protect your home, such as installing storm shutters and trimming potentially hazardous tree limbs.
During hurricane season, it’s important to stay vigilant.
- Watch the news for hurricane watches and warnings. Remember that storms can change their course, so stay alert even if a nearby storm isn’t predicted to hit your area.
- If a storm is approaching, close your storm shutters or board up your windows.
- If you need to evacuate, turn off your utilities and disconnect your appliances.
- See the Department of Homeland Security hurricane page for more safety tips.
Get the Right Insurance
If a storm strikes your home, you’ll need the right insurance coverage to get back to normal as fast as possible. Unfortunately, many people lack adequate coverage.
Homeowners insurance alone is not enough. The standard homeowners insurance policy excludes flood damage. This means that if you only have homeowners insurance, your house will not be protected from the flood damage that a hurricane can cause. According to FEMA, a single inch of flood water in an average home can cause more than $25,000 in damage.
Some homeowners insurance policies also exclude damage caused by hurricanes. Although this is not the case in all states, according to the Insurance Information Institute, most homeowners insurance policies in Hawaii exclude hurricane coverage.
Make sure your home is fully protected with hurricane and flood insurance in addition to regular homeowner’s insurance.
When reviewing your policies, do the following:
- Check your limits. If your property value has increased, you may need to increase your limits.
- Conduct an inventory of your belongings. This will help you verify that you have enough coverage. It will also be helpful if you need to file a claim.
- Check your deductibles. If you have to file a claim, the deductible is the amount you’ll have to pay out of pocket. There may be different deductibles for different types of claims, including hurricane-related losses.
- Check your additional living expenses coverage. If you need to stay in a hotel while your home is being repaired, your additional living expenses coverage will cover the eligible costs, up to the limits. Make sure your limits are high enough.
The team at FICOH is here to help you prepare. Contact your FICOH agent for a comprehensive coverage review.