Hurricane season is here. The Weather Channel’s 2021 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook predicts another above-average season, meaning policyholders must take the time to ensure they are adequately prepared. Condominiums and other multi-family properties are strongly encouraged to safeguard their facilities and addresses any coverage gaps or underinsurance issues with their policy.
The 2021 outlook is predicting 18 total named storms, with 8 becoming hurricanes and 3 being Category 3 or higher. Last year’s historic hurricane season saw 30 named storms, 12 of which made landfall in the continental U.S. 13 of these storms became hurricanes and 6 were considered major hurricanes. 2020’s hurricane season set another record for 9 named storms between May and July. If last year’s season is any indication of what can happen this year, policyholders need to start preparing as soon as possible.
While most condominiums typically administer a ‘master policy’ that utilize a Single Entity approach that typically covers items like fixtures, walls, appliances, floor coverings, and cabinetry in single units, an individual policy is required to cover personal property, medical payments, and improvements. Condominium owners must procure an individual condo policy (HO-6) to acquire coverage that protects against what master policies do not.
You can find more information in Amy Currotto‘s recent post, Understanding How Your Condominium Insurance Works – The Individual vs. Master Policy Coverages.
Damage from storm surge is common with hurricanes, but most policyholders are unaware that their standard homeowners insurance does not cover damage from flooding. This is why it is recommended to obtain supplemental flood insurance to ensure full coverage. Commercial policyholders should obtain loss of income coverage in case their business is temporarily shut down due to damage from a hurricane. Residential and multi-family property policyholders can secure additional living expense coverage to assist with costs while their home is being rebuilt.
Another element for policyholders to review are their policy limits. Recent increases in lumber and construction costs may require higher policy limits. You can speak with your insurance agent about increasing your policy limit to better protect yourself in the event your home needs repairs or rebuilding. The recent COVID-19 pandemic has also led to delays in labor, making additional living expense coverage even more vital in case your home cannot be repaired for an extended period.
We have created several assets geared towards assisting policyholders prepare for hurricane season. For residential policyholders, we have a Hurricane Checklist with tips on safeguarding your home and reviewing your insurance policy. We have also created a Condominium Hurricane Preparedness Guide for multi-family properties.
Merlin Law Group is here to assist with any hurricane damage claims. Please do not hesitate to reach out to one of our many experienced attorneys with questions regarding your hurricane damage claim.