Before hurricane season ramps up, check your homeowner’s insurance

DELRAY BEACH, Fla. – Rick Robinson is no stranger to dealing with insurance companies. His home suffered roof damage from Hurricane Wilma in 2005 and again from Hurricane Irma in 2017.

”We had an adjuster come out and basically didn’t authorize a new roof or anything so we had repairs done but the roof has been problematic ever since,” Robinson said.

August, September and October are typically the months when South Floridians see the greatest threat from storms and it’s a good time to review your homeowners insurance policy.

Insurance expert Adrian Dzielnicki, Co-CEO of NSure, said the big mistake many people make is putting the premium cost ahead of coverage and not making sure that the coverage they have meets their needs.

”You can always switch your policy and get back money from the unused amount of the previous carrier,” Dzielnicki said.

When factoring cost, he said people need to remember that the hurricane deductible is actually 5 percent of the value of the policy which is far greater that the deductible for non-storm related claims.

”That means a policy for $300,000 would have a deductible of $15,000. That would be your out-of-pocket expense — what you have to to cover before insurance kicks in,” Dzielnicki said.

And things like fences, sheds, pool screen enclosures, and detached garages may have separate deductibles that can be so high, the homeowner won’t get any reimbursement for damage or loss.

”Some of the carriers have this coverage included automatically, some of them do not have it included automatically and that’s why it creates confusion,” Dzielnicki said.

Although Robinson picked a policy that cost him less than he’s paid in the past he now realizes his out of pocket expenses might eclipse what he would have paid for a pricier policy.

”I think in the future we are going to go with one of the more expensive companies so we don’t have to deal with this again,” Robinson said.

Last but not least, check to see if your policy has what’s called “actual cash value” or “replacement value.” Replacement value covers the current cost of an item while actual value factors in depreciation, which means you may only get a portion of the money needed for repairs.

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