Saturday, June 11, 2011

Who's Afraid Of The Big Bad Wolf?

I am not afraid of the 'Big Bad Wolf' blowing my house down...  but with all the tornadoes lately, I am a little concerned about a tornado blowing my house down!  So I sent an email to my insurance agent to ask some questions about my coverage and "typical" coverage in our area.  Specifically, I asked about hurricanes and tornadoes....and I thought I'd share what I learned with you. 
-  Tornado damage is considered wind damage, and wind damage is covered!  (Score!)
The dwelling and contents are covered up to their applicable limits specified on the declarations page of the policy.  I have State Farm, whose policies have one deductible applicable to property losses. The deductible applies one time per loss. So one tornado causing losses to the dwelling and contents would only have the dedictible apply once for all the damage. (Good news! Just what I wanted to hear!)

- Hurricane damage is also covered, BUT.... (Yikes...I don't like 'but's)
Just as stated above, the dwelling and contents are covered up to their applicable limits.  This includes wind damage and wind blown water damage (hurricanes are wind + rain usually). In rare cases you might see policies with a separate, higher deductible for hurricane losses, even in our area (my policy is not that way). 
Where you get into gray areas is where homes sit on the edges of the ocean, rivers or lakes where the storm surge caused by the barometric pressure of the storms and high winds force the ground water in the ocean, rivers, and lakes inland. That's considered a flood and flood insurance is needed. The difference is if it's wind blown or surge. It can be a very fine line since wind has a part to play in surge too. Many people think poor drainage on their property/house is a flood and would be covered if they had flood insurance. Not so. Generally, to be considered a flood there has to be standing water over 2 sq acres or your neighbor has to also experience the same water damage effects.

Hmmm.... Should we be worried about flooding?
When you buy a home you will probably have a flood certification done.... this is where someone certifies the risk level of your home flooding.. and based on that risk level, you may or may not be required to carry flood insurance.  But, if you're not required to have flood insurance, does that  mean your home can't flood?  No.  It doesn't.  No one can guarrantee that your home won't flood.  So, assess your risk tolerance, and talk to your insurance agent if you feel you need insurance for this type of event. 

I would like to thank my insurance agent, John for his contributions to this post.  He's been an asset to me many times over.  If you're looking to change agents, give John a call.  His rates are competitive and the service is great...and HE is a delight.
John G Lindsay Ins Agency Inc
State Farm Insurance Agent
(703) 777-5547
831 S King St, Leesburg, VA 20175

Disclaimer: Please remember, my insurance agent gave me answers about MY policy (not yours) but I have a fairly standard policy for the Northern Virginia area. His contributions are noted in red below. Please note that policies vary LARGELY in different regions.... so you are encouraged to check with YOUR INSURANCE AGENT about YOUR POLICY.


The Land You Love in is a Flood Zone?

No worries! I would also like to tell you that I have a great client, Licking Valley Construction, who builds homes and enjoys building homes in the flood zones.  Strange as it may seem, he knows that living on a river or lake can be worth certain risks, and he knows how to minimize those risks.  For example, he builds elevated homes on columns... like the photo on the left, which results in a minimal requirement for flood insurance since the finished space is well above the flood zone.  Check them out!
Clicky Web Analytics