Regardless of the specific type of damage, an insurer may arrive at a finding that differs from yours about whether repairs are covered. Photos of missing shingles or a gash in the roof can help bolster a claim.
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Standard homeowner policies generally cover damage to a home caused by wind and rain. But special hurricane deductibles often apply in coastal states, said Loretta Worters, a spokeswoman for the Insurance Information Institute, a trade group. The amount usually ranges from 1 to 5 percent, but it can vary by state and insurer and may run higher for homes in high-risk areas. Worters said. For flood coverage , you need a separate flood policy.
Most flood policies are sold by the National Flood Insurance Program , although a few private insurers sell them, too. Rates for flood insurance reflect several factors, including the year a house was built, its elevation and whether it is in a flood-prone area. But premiums can be much steeper in high-risk areas.
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New flood policies typically do not take effect until 30 days after they are bought. The federal flood program has come under scrutiny in recent years, as the cost of cleaning up after intense storms has increased.
Various plans have been proposed in Congress to make flood insurance more widely available and to ensure that rates reflect the risk to the insured property. Flood damage to your car is covered by your auto insurance policy, if you carry optional comprehensive coverage, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.
Although it may be challenging to find a contractor soon after a major storm, Ms. Bach also recommended obtaining an independent quote for repairs, if possible, rather than simply accepting the amount set by your insurance company. Install battery-operated or battery-backup carbon monoxide alarms in your home.
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Test these alarms often and replace batteries when needed. Electrical Hazards: Generators create electricity, which can kill if you receive a shock. Keep the generator dry. Operate on a dry surface in an open area. Dry your hands before handling it. Plug appliances directly into generator or use a heavy-duty, outdoor-rated extension cord that is free of cuts or tears and has all 3 prongs, especially a grounding pin. This practice, known as backfeeding, can cause electrocution risk to utility workers and others served by the same utility transformer.
Fire Hazards: Generators use flammable fuels, increasing the chance of an accidental fire that can threaten your life and property. Before refueling the generator, turn it off and let it cool. Always store fuel outside and store fuel away from any fuel-burning appliance.
Chainsaw Safety While it is necessary to clear downed trees and branches, use great caution when operating a chainsaw. Safety tips to help keep you safe and injury-free: Before starting the saw: Read your owner's manual, wear proper safety gear, and check all parts to ensure they are functioning properly.
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Fuel your saw at least 10 feet from sources of ignition and clear debris that may interfere with cutting. While running the saw: Keep hands on the handles, and a secure footing. Do not cut directly overhead or overreach with the saw and be prepared for kickback.
Restroom Facilities Improperly disposed human waste can lead to outbreaks of cholera, dysentery, and other diseases. Tips for a sewer outage: Do not use kitty litter in your emergency toilet. This cannot be flushed after the sewage system is operational. Use a chemical toilet if one is available. Also, create an emergency toilet by using your toilet bowl or a 5-gallon plastic bucket with a tight fitting lid.
Line either with a heavy-duty trash bag and use household bleach as a disinfectant. If using your toilet bowl, first turn off water and flush 1 time to empty before lining with trash bag. Wash hands thoroughly with antibacterial soap and water after handling the emergency toilet.
When instructed, do not use or flush your toilet. Powered sewer lift stations may be out of order, which could lead to a sewage back-up into homes.
Driving Safely A hurricane can turn a familiar road into an unfamiliar and dangerous one very quickly. Driving safety tips: Constantly scan for pedestrians who can quickly lose their footing. Do not drive through standing water. You will not know the depth of the water nor will you know the condition of the road under the water.
Drive with car lights on and slow down. Know where you are going and give yourself ample time to get there. Maintain a safe distance from the car in front of you.
Match your speed to road conditions. Cars can quickly become uncontrollable when driving on damaged, debris-choked roads. Not all damaged or destroyed road signs have been replaced; be prepared to yield to a pedestrian or another driver or to stop unexpectedly. Obey all road closed signs.
Just because you can't see road damage doesn't mean it is safe. Traffic patterns may be shifted in work zones; obey posted work zone speed limits at all times. Be aware of equipment and workers. Treat any intersection with non-working traffic signals as an all-way stop. Be prepared to stop at every intersection. Visibility may be limited. Increased traffic on congested roadways and large trucks can obstruct your line of sight. Debris Depending on the severity of the storm, the city's contracted waste hauler, Waste Management, Inc. A separate hauler will pick up: Construction and demolition items such as roof shingles, siding, concrete material, drywall, furniture, or carpet Vegetative such as unbagged sticks, limbs, branches, or cut tree stumps White goods large appliances Do not mix debris types.
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