SCC Encourages Virginians to Plan Now for Hurricane Season
MAY 31, 2022
RICHMOND – The Atlantic hurricane season begins tomorrow, and the State Corporation Commission’s (SCC) Bureau of Insurance encourages Virginians to review your insurance policies now to make sure you have the coverage you need if a hurricane or other natural disaster strikes.
Hurricane season runs from June 1 through November 30 each year. Once a hurricane develops in the Atlantic, it may be difficult to find an insurance company willing to write related coverage for your home, auto or business until after the storm threat passes.
“Protect yourself physically and financially before the waters start to churn,” said Virginia Insurance Commissioner Scott A. White. “Review your insurance policies and understand what is and is not covered. Contact your insurance agent or company or the Bureau of Insurance if you have questions.”
Keep in mind that even areas hundreds of miles from the coast can experience floods and other damage caused by hurricanes’ high winds and torrential rains. Most hurricane damage results from flooding, not high winds, and even minor floods can cause extensive damage to your home, business, or belongings.
The Bureau offers the following reminders:
- Homeowners, renters and commercial insurance policies issued in Virginia typically do not cover damage caused by floods, surface water or storm surges. The federal government sells insurance for direct flood and flood-related damage to homeowners, renters and businesses in eligible communities through its National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). In most cases, there is a 30-day waiting period for a new flood insurance policy to take effect. To learn more about this program, contact your insurance agent or the NFIP at 1-800-427-4661 or visit floodsmart.gov.
- Some private insurers also offer flood policies, so check with your insurance agent about the availability of a private flood insurance policy. In either case, ask whether your flood policy covers your personal property.
- Some homeowners policies require a special deductible for wind or hurricane losses. These deductibles are applied separately from any other deductible on the homeowners policy. Additionally, these deductibles may be written as a flat amount, such as $1,000, or they may be applied to the loss as a percentage of the insurance coverage on the dwelling. Remember that the deductible is the amount that you must pay before the insurance company pays its portion of a claim.
- If your property is damaged by a hurricane, contact your insurance agent or company as soon as possible. Make any necessary emergency repairs, and take reasonable steps to prevent further damage to your property. Make a list of all damage to your property and include photographs, notes and repair-related receipts.
- Prepare a complete inventory of your personal property now, including photographs, videos and serial numbers. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) offers a free smartphone app – NAIC Home Inventory – to facilitate this process. The app is available through the App Store and Google Play. Keep your insurance policies and home inventory together in a safe place.
- If you must evacuate, know the name of your insurance company, and take your homeowners, auto and other insurance policies and your home inventory with you or make sure you have saved these important documents electronically. The policies will contain your policy numbers and the phone numbers of your insurance companies in case you have questions or need to file a claim.
The Bureau of Insurance offers free consumer guides for homeowners and commercial property owners with information about what to do when disaster strikes. These and many other consumer insurance guides are available at scc.virginia.gov/pages/Insurance. The Bureau’s specially trained staff stand ready to assist consumers with their insurance-related questions and concerns. For more information, contact the Consumer Services Section of the Bureau’s Property and Casualty Division toll-free at 1-877-310-6560 or in Richmond at 804-371-9185.
For additional emergency preparedness information relating to hurricanes and other types of disasters and hazards, visit vaemergency.gov.
Contact: Katha Treanor, 804-371-9141
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