What you need to know about “Storm Damages”
Settling claims is more difficult than ever
“Storm Damages” can include wind, water, hail, and floods. It is important to know what exclusions and deductibles apply to your loss.
When catastrophes reduce insurance company profits, carriers pass on the cost to consumers in the form of higher premiums to keep their shareholders happy. Carriers also raise deductibles, limit coverage’s and instruct their employees on how to deny claims.
Insurance carriers also insure their own companies’ assets by using Re-Insurance Companies, who for a fee share your carrier’s financial losses.
These specialty re-insurance companies offset large loss events and then pass on the cost in the form of higher premiums to your insurance carriers who then pass their cost onto consumers.
As sea levels rise and storms become more violent and unpredictable, policy language will continue to change. As the cost of insurance increases, higher deductibles are offered to offset annual fees, which could result in reduced and or altogether excluded coverage.
The special deductibles associated with “Wind Storms” such as “Hurricane” and Tornados are based upon wind speed formulas that increase your deductible as the category of the wind gets higher, making you a co-insurer of your own property.
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This may be the busiest hurricane season yet!
East Coast hurricane season extends from June until the end of November, and as we have seen in the past with Irene and Super Storm Sandy the back to back devastation didn’t stop at the coastal areas, rather it struck inland areas with heavy winds and rain.
If your roof is damaged and water destroys your property, you may have coverage, but special exclusions and limitations for wind and surface flood damage may severely limit or exclude coverage for standard insurance policies. You should review and if necessary purchase specific coverage’s in order to satisfy your lifetime investments.
Super Storm Sandy
Hurricane Sandy was one of the most costly natural disasters in US history. According to Eqecat, it is estimated that the American economy will lose up to $50 billion dollars. The economy affected victims in a number of ways:
Physical Damage by Hurricane Sandy
Physical damage in households, business premises, and public infrastructure cost the US billions of dollars after building roads, rails, sewage and water systems were destroyed. Power outages also impacted large areas due to the destruction of power lines.
Reduction of business activity
Physical damage to infrastructure slowed business activities. The food industry, for example, experienced a snag due to bags of rotting food. The same has been true in households that have not been physically damaged by the superstorm, but experienced power blackouts. Car sales were disrupted. For the Irene and Sandy Event expert predicted that about 60% of the lost business output was from New Jersey, New York City, and Philadelphia.
To reduce the hurricane’s negative impact, Americans are advised to take preventive measures against physical damages. They should ensure that they know their surroundings. For example, they should identify nearby dams and levees that might pose a hazard and move items to safer places. People are also urged to know the elevation level of their property in order to keep items at risk of damage in safe places.
The outcome of storm damage on the US economy is always higher than the initial estimates. The time it takes for the economy to revive depends on when power is restored. If power takes longer to resume normal services, then the economic consequence will be more costly.
As terrible as Superstorm Sandy seems to be, the economic effects will not be as bad as what was experienced during Katrina.
Hurricane Irene resulted in 15.8 billion dollars in damage to the east coast.
Hurricane Irene, which first made landfall in North Carolina on August 27, and went on to cause devastating flooding in several Northeastern states, is now ranked as the costliest Category One storm to strike the U.S. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Irene caused $15.8 billion in damage, much of it due to inland flooding.
This ranking is a testament to how much expensive real estate the storm struck, as it marched up the eastern seaboard, passed directly over New York City, and swept through northern New England. Fortunately, the storm weakened prior to hitting New York, but fears of coastal flooding from the storm surge caused the mayor’s office to issue an unprecedented evacuation of low-lying areas of the city and shut down the entire transit system for the first time.
Irene posed a major threat to the city’s subway system, which is prone to flooding from heavy rainfall, let alone a significant storm surge. Despite the storm’s weakened state, the Atlantic Ocean still came within a few inches of flooding subway tunnels in lower Manhattan.
Irene eclipsed 1972’s Hurricane Agnes to take the crown for the most expensive Category One storm. Both Agnes and Irene caused major inland flooding, but Irene was not nearly as deadly as Agnes, killing 48 people compared to Agnes’ 122. This is probably related to the advancements in weather forecasting that have been made since the 1970s.
Of Irene’s 48 deaths, 40 of them occurred in the U.S., and the biggest cause of death was inland flooding, which is also the biggest weather-related killer in the U.S. Flooding was especially damaging in Vermont and New York, where some communities are still working to recover after the storm turned small streams into raging rivers, taking out covered bridges, homes, and other infrastructure.
The $15.8 billion price tag also makes Irene the sixth-costliest hurricane on record in the U.S., just behind Hurricane Charley, a compact Category Four storm that roared into Southwest Florida in 2004, causing $15.82 billion in damage.
Hurricane experts, along with the insurance industry and others, have been warning for years that the buildup of homes and businesses in coastal areas, many of them located in areas frequented by powerful hurricanes in the past, will continue to drive storm damage upwards, regardless of the effects that global warming may have on hurricanes.
At the same time as coastal areas have been built up, global warming has begun to accelerate, and this promises to make the storm surge from any land-falling storm, even a lowly Category One like Irene, more damaging.
Insurance usually covers certain wind and hail damages. If your carrier covers wind and hail damage, be aware that limits may apply. Make sure that your insurance coverage includes enough to repair your building. Policies that exclude wind or hail damage can also exclude a loss resulting from a tornado.
TORNADO DAMAGE THAT RESULTS IN FLOOD DAMAGES AND MOLD OR OIL CONTAMINATION
Tornadoes usually include intense rain, which can also be excluded from coverage if it damages your building with runoff water entering your building in the form of surface floodwaters. In such a case you will need a flood insurance policy. If tornado winds damage your roof and allowing rainwater to enter, you should have coverage for both your building and personal property, although special wind deductibles and coverage limits may apply, as well as limits and or exclusions for contaminants such as mold or oil spills.
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