Don’t Let Hurricane Season Catch Your Insurance Policy By Surprise

Coastal residents need to take precautions, review policies

Tropical Storm Arlene, the first named storm of the 2011 Atlantic hurricane season, made landfall in Mexico on the last day of June. It meant little to people in the Tri-State area. But here’s something that should: We’re now deep into what the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration predicts will be an “above-normal” hurricane season, which means at least six to 10 hurricanes, three to six of them “major” — Category 3 or above.

Hurricanes, thankfully, aren’t that common in and near New York City. But the city does have a hurricane history. An unnamed hurricane in 1938 killed 10 in the city and caused millions in damage. Hurricane Carol in 1954 made landfall in eastern Long Island and southeastern Connecticut, devastating those areas and causing major flooding in NYC. In 1999, the remains of Hurricane Floyd unloaded 10 to 15 inches of rain on upstate New Jersey and New York state in a 24-hour period.

So it can happen here, and people in the Tri-State area, especially those on or near the ocean, need to take some basic steps:

  • Review your coverage. Wind damage from hurricanes is covered under standard homeowners, renters and business policies, but not flood damage, which is available through the government’s National Flood Insurance Program and from a few private insurers. Be aware that flood insurance generally takes effect only after a 30-day waiting period.
  • Specifically, know whether your homeowners policy carries a hurricane deductible, based on a percentage of the insured value of a house. The 18 coastal U.S. states — including New York, New Jersey and Connecticut — allow insurers to incorporate these deductibles into their policies, and because they’re percentage-based rather than dollar-based, they can be much higher than your standard deductible.
  • We can’t say it enough: do a home inventory.
  • Prepare an evacuation plan. This is a good place to start, and take a look at this informative video.
  • Whether you decide to evacuate, you can make your home more hurricane-resistant. Check out the video here.

Whether you rent or own, live on the beach or way inland, Gotham Brokerage Co., Inc., knows the risks Tri-State residents face every hurricane season. Even if a few seasons pass without a hurricane making landfall, you’d be foolish to ignore that risk. Gotham is a family-owned, New York City-based insurance brokerage that’s served the five boroughs for more than a half-century. If you want to review your existing coverage or feel secure in a new policy, call or email us for a quote. We’d be happy to find the right coverage for you and your home.

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