With the first major storm of the 2011 hurricane season now in the record books, it’s also worth remembering that a very rare east coast 5.8 magnitude earthquake, immediately preceded it. This unprecedented pairs of natural disasters over the past several days have forced many people up and down the East Coast thinking about earthquake and hurricane coverage.
In fact, many insurance agents from South Carolina to South Boston, have been getting calls for the past several days from clients who don't have much damage this time around but want to find out whether they're covered for any future quakes or storms.
If you’re one of these folks who’s wondering whether you need more protection against the weather or even seismic disturbances in these uncertain economic times, we’ve got news for you.
First the earthquakes. According to a new report by Kiplinger, “Homeowners insurance policies don't cover earthquakes, but you can generally buy a rider to add the coverage to your policy. And in areas that rarely experience major earthquakes, like most of the East Coast, the coverage is relatively inexpensive.”
In reality, it costs about $250 per year to add earthquake coverage in our area to a policy that has a maximum coverage limit of $500,000.
“Earthquake coverage generally has higher deductibles than standard homeowners coverage does -- you may have a regular deductible of $500 or $1,000 for other types of damage, for example, but have a deductible of 2% to 10% of your coverage limits for earthquake damage. If the deductible is 2% of $500,000, for instance, the earthquake coverage kicks in for amounts above $10,000 in damage…With events that are rare in your area, such as earthquakes, you may want a higher deductible in return for lower premiums. But you'll need to balance the premium savings with how much you could pay out of pocket for repairs.”
As for withstanding the winds of storms like Hurricane Irene, companies are putting a hold on issuing new homeowners policies. As Kiplinger writes, “Homeowners insurance covers wind damage and other losses from hurricanes -- except for flooding -- but many insurance companies temporarily stop issuing new coverage or cease raising coverage limits in areas where a hurricane watch or warning has been issued. Some expand the moratorium to areas within 100 miles of the affected coastline. Homeowners insurance doesn’t cover losses from flooding, which can also cause a lot of damage during a hurricane. For that, you’ll need to get coverage from the federal government’s National Flood Insurance Program. You can find price quotes and flood-risk information at FloodSmart.gov, and you can generally buy a policy through your homeowners insurance agent. But there’s a 30-day waiting period before that coverage can take effect.”
While there hasn’t always been a strong relationship between major natural disasters and bankruptcy filings—generally, filing trends in a state or district keep on about the same pattern as they were before the disaster—in an unprecedented economic climate any additional expense, whether caused by an Act of God or not, could mean disaster for your family’s beleaguered budget.
In these stormy economic times, it may be time to turn to a more definitive option: buying yourself some breathing room with a better financial future through bankruptcy. If you have been impacted by Hurricane Irene, the earthquake, or the lingering economic malaise, and are wondering how to get out of the eye of the storm, knowing a qualified bankruptcy attorney can also help you face your financial fears, yielding the right kinds of support, information and insights—at a low cost—for a viable and secure future beyond the latest national disaster.The bankruptcy attorneys at the Law Offices of John T. Orcutt offer a totally FREE debt consultation and now, more than ever, it’s time to take them up on their offer. Just call toll free to 1-888-234-4181, or during the off hours, you can make your own appointment right online at www.billsbills.com.