10/9/2012 - Four questions renters and condominium residents may have about insurance after a hurricane
While most homeowners understand that damage resulting from wild weather is usually covered by their homeowners insurance policies, people who live in apartments and condominiums may wonder if their plans are as inclusive. With this in mind, the Insurance Information Institute recently answered some of these frequently asked questions.
1. Does my renters insurance policy provide for hurricane damage?
The III indicates that renters insurance covers damage resulting from hurricanes. Generally, a resident's personal belongings will be taken care of up to a certain amount, while any damage affecting the residence's physical structure is covered under a separate policy that's usually held by the owner or landlord.
2. Am I covered for hurricane damage if I live in a condominium or co-op?
According to III, if you purchased a homeowners policy tailored to a condominium or a co-op, you are covered for damage to the interior space of your home as well as to your personal property. However, some restrictions may apply. For example, condo associations may already have a plan in place that covers the essentials, such as walls, floors and the ceilings. The particulars, on the other hand, may be the responsibility of the individual owners, such as wiring, fixtures and appliances. To make sure there are no gaps in coverage, residents should obtain a copy of the condo or co-op association's insurance policy and talk with their condo association insurance agent.
3. My condo was flooded. Can I make a claim with a condominium policy?
The III notes that so long as the condo association has purchased a separate flood policy, condo owners can make a claim if they're impacted by high water levels. Some people often mistakenly believe that flooding is provided for under a standard homeowners insurance plan, but policyholders need to purchase flood coverage separately, which is traditionally obtained through the National Flood Insurance Program.
4. My home wasn't damaged by a hurricane, but I've been without power for several days. What recourse can I take?
If a power outage occurs due to a hurricane or some other weather-related event, some insurance policies include food-spoilage coverage, which reimburses homeowners for any food that's no longer safe to be eaten. Amounts vary, but they usually range between $250 to $500, according to the III. Coverage levels may be higher if homeowners have more than one refrigerator in the house.
To read all the most common questions after a hurricane that III has answered, click here.