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Flood Insurance

Get Prepared for This Year’s Intensifying Hurricane Season

As this year’s hurricane season enters its peak, predictions have intensified around both the number and intensity of storms we can expect across the Atlantic coast. If you live in the area, it’s critical to start preparing now - before a storm is headed your way - in order to protect the safety of both loved ones and your home.

Take a moment to explore what’s expected for the remainder of the season - and find out how you can take action, right now.

What’s on the hurricane horizon?

The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recently issued its annual mid-season update, forecasting a 65% likelihood of an above-normal hurricane season. NOAA also upped its prediction of the number of storms we can expect from six to 10 hurricanes with winds of 74 mph or more (May forecast) to seven to 10, with three to five bringing winds at 111 mph or greater.

How long will hurricane season last?

Generally, peak hurricane season begins in August and continues through October. These months present the most favorable conditions for tropical storms and hurricanes thanks to highly developed African easterly waves and lessening Saharan air layers, low wind shear, rising sea-surface temperatures and more atmospheric convection.

This season, however, NOAA warns of a potential La Nina pattern that could form over the eastern equatorial pacific that would extend hurricane season into November.

Why prepare now - and how?

As we face more storms of higher intensity and a potentially prolonged hurricane season, how can homeowners get prepared? Even if you’re not certain that a hurricane is headed your way, there are steps you can take right now that will better position you in the event that you wind up in a hurricane’s path. As a result, you can limit the property damage that occurs from storm surges, wind damage and flooding - and most importantly, stay out of harm’s way.

Pre-storm preparedness:

  • Document your possessions with photos and/or videos
  • Print important items like IDs and insurance cards and store them in a waterproof container
  • Review your home insurance and flood policy with your insurance agent to identify any possible coverage gaps. Please note, any coverage changes may be subject to a 30 day waiting period or storm-related binding restrictions.
  • Create an evacuation plan - how will you leave? Where will you go?
  • Designate an emergency contact
  • Stock up on supplies: backup chargers, non-perishable food, bottled water, flashlights, etc.

As we can see, many of these items involve forward planning, like setting up a meeting with an insurance agent or buying items that could be in short supply once a storm is imminent. By taking the time now to check these items off, you can lower your risk from both a liability and safety standpoint. Plus, you can reduce the stress of an already challenging situation should a storm arise in your area.

Now let’s look at what you can focus on once you know a tropical storm or hurricane is likely to arrive.

When a storm is forecast to make landfall in the next few days:

  • Fill your gas tank(s) and refill prescriptions
  • Keep electronic devices like your phone fully charged
  • Take precautions to secure your home with shutters or alternative methods
  • Secure any outdoor furniture, garbage cans, etc. that could become flying debris
  • Share your storm plan with a family member, friend or neighbor

Finally, be sure to follow any and all evacuation orders from local authorities. In the event that you are in a storm, avoid floodwaters and fallen power lines at all costs.

One final tip

Keep these steps handy as you get prepared for the remainder of the hurricane season. Increase your readiness in the event of a hurricane, be prepared and get storm ready!


Have you reviewed your coverage? No time like the present

The 2021 hurricane season is showing no signs of slowing down, so why wait to review your coverage? Connect with an Acentria Insurance agent today and make sure your home has the right level of protection moving forward.


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Home Insurance | Replacement Cost vs. Actual Cash Value

Your homeowner insurance policy can offer financial protection in the event of an unexpected disaster involving your home or personal property. But how you will be reimbursed following a claim depends on the type of coverage you have. There are two main valuation methods when it comes to homeowners insurance—replacement cost coverage (RC) and actual cash value coverage (ACV). By understanding the difference between these valuation methods, you can make informed decisions about your homeowner insurance policy(s) and secure coverage that meets your needs.

Key Differences Between Replacement Cost and Actual Cash Value
Although replacement cost coverage and actual cash value coverage can both offer financial protection in the event of a claim, the amount that your policy will pay out differs between these two valuation methods.

Here are the key differences:
  • Replacement cost coverage can offer compensation for the cost of replacing your stolen, damaged, or destroyed property with a brand-new version (as long as it’s similar in kind and quality to the original). For example, if your couch is destroyed in a house fire, replacement cost coverage would reimburse you for the cost of purchasing a comparable new couch. In other words, replacement cost coverage will replace your property without any deduction for depreciation.
    • This form of coverage can be especially beneficial in protecting against major losses, such as significant damage to the physical structure of your home or expensive items within your home. However, keep in mind that replacement cost coverage typically requires you to pay a higher premium. In addition, remember that you will only be compensated up to your policy limit amount—if you experience a covered loss that exceeds your policy limit, you may have to cover the difference. If you are concerned about the risk of a covered loss totaling more than your policy limit, be sure to consult your trusted broker to discuss additional policy options—such as guaranteed replacement cost coverage or extended replacement cost coverage—which can provide further financial protection.
  • Actual cash value coverage, on the other hand, can offer compensation for the depreciated value of your stolen, damaged or destroyed property. This value is determined by the age, condition and expected remaining useful life of your property. Under this coverage, you wouldn’t be reimbursed for the full cost of replacing your destroyed couch from the above example. Rather, you would be compensated for the current market value of the couch, based on the condition it was in before the fire. That being said, even if you initially purchased the couch several years ago for $2,000, you might only be reimbursed $1,000 for your loss due to depreciation.
    • Although this form of coverage typically offers reduced compensation in the event of a covered claim, you will likely save money on your policy premium. Actual cash value coverage can be more suitable for individuals that live in low-risk areas (e.g., locations, where incidents such as heavy winds, fires or theft are less common,) or own fewer expensive items.


Which Coverage Is Best for You?

There are pros and cons to both replacement cost coverage and actual cash value coverage. In order to select the best coverage that meets your specific home insurance policy needs, follow these steps:

  • Determine what you can afford by assessing the impact of both coverages on your financial stability. It’s important to consider the difference in premium costs and claim compensation amounts between each form of coverage.
  • Create a home inventory checklist (be sure to include photos) of all of your belongings and their original value, as well as an estimate of their current value. This practice will help you better determine which coverage offers the best protection for your unique belongings. Keep in mind that certain high-value items—such as jewelry, collectible items or fine art—won’t be covered by your home insurance policy and will require specialized coverage.
  • Calculate how much it would cost to rebuild your home if it were completely destroyed. Include added costs for labor, materials and any new or updated building codes in your community that you would be required to comply with. Avoid making a rough estimate for this cost—be as specific as possible to ensure you know just how much coverage you need.
  • Analyze your personal risk and speak with a licensed insurance agent to review your options. Be sure to select a coverage option that fits within your budget, risk profile and comfort level.


We’re Here to Help

There are several factors to consider when determining which type of coverage is right for you, but you don’t have to navigate this decision alone. Acentria is here to walk you through your home insurance policy and provide expert guidance regarding which coverage option is best for you, your belongings and your wallet. For further coverage guidance, contact us today

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The Dangerous Truth About Flooding – and Your Home

Water may seem unobtrusive. But even a single inch of water can be devastating for homeowners. According to Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), floods are the number one natural disaster in the United States, costing Americans millions of dollars collectively every year in flood damage.

Floods have the power to damage not only your home and sense of security but also your financial future. To mitigate your risks from flooding, it’s important to protect your home with a comprehensive flood insurance policy. But what goes into that? What are your flood options? And why is it necessary if I live in a landlocked city?

Let’s dive in.

Why do I need flood insurance?

Everyone is suspensible to devasting flood damage – no matter where you live. It’s estimated that twenty percent of flood claims are filed by people living in moderate- or low-risk areas. 

Just ask Susan Smith.

When floodwater from the storm surge after Hurricane Katrina started pouring through the walls of Susan’s Florida home, she knew she had to get out fast. By the time she and her son ran upstairs to grab the family cat, rising water trapped them on the second floor of their home.

With the help of a neighbor, they manage to escape. But when the water receded and Susan finally returned to her property, she discovered most of the contents and drywall were unsalvageable due to the severe flood damage. She thought her homeowner's insurance policy would cover the losses, but found out most standard homeowners policies do not cover flood damage. 

"The water got so high, everything was just destroyed," Susan told the National Flood Insurance Program. "I didn't have flood insurance because I wasn't in a flood plain, so we were told we didn't need it."

As Susan found out the hard way, flood losses from disasters like these are specifically excluded from homeowners and personal umbrella insurance policies. While some regions like coastal areas are certainly more flood-prone than others, the unpredictability of climate change exposes all property to some risk. 

And storm surge isn’t the only culprit. Flood damage is also caused by torrential rainfall, mudflows and even rapid snowmelt in spring that cause rivers to run high and surge into lower-lying areas. Even small creeks, dry streambeds, dried-up canals or low-lying ground that appears harmless in dry weather can flood.

Are you prepared for a flood?

Knowing what to do during a flood is important – because you may only have minutes to react. 

If flooding is potentially expected in your area, start by moving your furniture and valuables to higher floors – or elevated areas within your home. In case of evacuation, fill your car tank up with gas.

 If a flood warning is issued for your area, take the following precautions:

  • Gather emergency supplies and fill bathtubs with clean water.
  • Tune your radio to weather updates, disaster directions and signals.
  • If you must evacuate, take only essential items with you.
  • Move to higher ground, staying away from rivers, streams, creeks and storm drains.

If your home is affected by flood damage, follow the following guidelines immediately:

  • Throw away food that is not safe to eat and use only bottled water until local authorities have determined that tap water is safe to cook with and drink.
  • Stay away from damaged buildings and structures and do not touch fallen power lines.
  • Don’t turn on your power until a qualified electrician has determined that it is safe.
  • Wear protective clothing when handling hazardous materials or cleaning up mold.

The thought of a flood permanently damaging your home can be scary. Luckily, there’s a way to protect you and your family’s livelihood: flood insurance.

Finding the right protection

Flood insurance provides the protection you need to cover losses after flooding ravages your property. The cost of premiums varies based on the amount of coverage you need, what your coverage entails and your property’s flood risk. 

Many people believe that federal assistance from the US government (FEMA) will suffice if they suffer flood damage. This is a dangerous gamble. Federal assistance is only available if the US president formally declares a disaster – and if that doesn’t happen, you’ll have to shoulder the massive costs alone. If you do obtain federal assistance, you’re also often required to repay it with interest – along with any mortgage loans that you still owe on the damaged property.

Only a personal flood insurance policy can provide secure protection that safeguards your most valuable asset – while providing invaluable peace of mind. And unlike federal aid, flood insurance claims never have to be repaid.

What does flood insurance cover?

For your losses to be covered under a flood insurance policy, the following definition of a flood applies: a general and temporary condition of inundation of two or more acres of normally dry land area or two or more properties (at least one of which is your property) from an overflow of inland or tidal waters.

You might be surprised to learn that not all water losses are considered flood damage. For instance, water damage from mold – that is not due to flood damage – is not covered by flood insurance, as this could have been avoided through homeowner proactivity. 

It’s important to note that new flood insurance policies usually have a 30-day waiting period. You will not be insured if you buy a policy a few days before a flood. However, if your lender requires flood insurance to make, increase, extend or renew your loan, there is no waiting period.

Getting started with a flood insurance policy

As long as your community participates in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), you’re eligible to purchase personal flood insurance. Acentria can assist you in determining if your community participates in the NFIP.

You don’t have to face the threat of floods alone: contact an Acentria agent today to learn more about affordable flood insurance coverage options.

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