Whether you believe in climate change or not, it is undeniable that people in the United States have been experiencing an increasing number of weather-related disaster events over the last few years. From hurricanes, to floods and wildfires, it seems no one is immune from mother nature. Since so many people are being forced to become intimately familiar with disaster claims, we decided to write this blog to go over our top three tips to keep in mind when it comes to insurance claims and weather-related events.
Many people don’t realize that one major disaster, one storm for example, can actually be classified as multiple events. That’s important to understand because most insurance companies will require a separate deductible for each event. Those deductible costs can very quickly add up, which is why it’s important to consider the possibility of multiple events when you are deciding what the deductible on your policy should be. This is also something to consider when you are deciding how much money to set aside for emergencies.
Claims Can Take A While
Another thing to consider when it comes to financial planning, is that even though your insurance policy may cover the damage, it still might be a long time before you actually see that money. This is particularly true when it comes to catastrophe claims. Naturally, when a weather-related catastrophe occurs multiple people are usually affected. That means that all of those people are going to go and file insurance claims at roughly the same time. This can easily causes insurers to become temporarily overloaded as they work through those claims.
This does not mean that you will never get paid. It does mean that you may have to wait a few weeks, or even months, longer than normal in many cases. Make sure to take this into account when you are planning how much money to have in your emergency fund. You don’t want to run out of funds before your claim comes in.
You’re Probably Underinsured
We hate to be the bearers of bad news here, but you are probably underinsured when it comes to storm damage. We say that because most people in the United States are underinsured for storm damage.
Amy Bach, executive director of United Policyholders, a consumer advocacy group in San Francisco spoke with Insure.com about this issue. According to Bach, “…many homeowners are not able to rebuild after weather disasters because their policies weren’t large enough to cover the costs…In United Policyholders’ ‘2012 Colorado Wildfire One-Year Survey Results for the High Park and Woodland Heights Wildfire,’ 54 percent of survey respondents reported being underinsured on their dwelling by an average of $101,000. I recommend that homeowners get at least two opinions about the replacement value of their home for purposes of setting adequate dwelling limits so they can make sure that their policies will cover the cost of rebuilding if disaster strikes. Be careful about relying 100 percent on the number set by your insurer.”.
The reality is that whether you take the time to properly insure yourself or not, weather-related catastrophes are going to continue to happen. With the rate of these catastrophes continuing to grow, it is increasingly likely that will, or your family, will be affected by one at some point. Take the time to properly insure yourself now, you can thank us later.
If you have any insurance questions, or want to inquire about purchasing a new policy, you should reach out to the staff at TGS Insurance. They are experts in the industry and are always willing to work with you to find the right policy for your life, and your budget. Visit www.tgsinsurance.com to learn more.