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Prepare for the Worst | Disaster Insurance & Preventive Measure

Earthquakes, landslides, floods, and fires all serve as examples of how chaotic Natural World could be.


Due to recent natural disasters, real estate investors have paused to consider safety measures for their property in case of an unexpected disaster. Of course, insurance is a part of this, but there is much more to it.





Disaster Insurance?


Real estate properties are covered by disaster insurance in case of natural disasters as well as occasionally man-made occurrences like riots, terrorism, or explosions.


Even though these catastrophes are uncommon, the damage they do can be expensive, therefore property investors and homeowners should opt for insurance in order to be prepared for the worst.


How does it work?


You may question why you would want disaster insurance if you have homeowners insurance. Let me clear that up for you; what homeowners insurance doesn't cover is covered by catastrophe insurance. Only named risks are covered by homeowner's policy.


Your homeowner's insurance does not cover the costs if a natural disaster damages your property if the disaster or damage is not specifically included in the policy.







Even an "all perils" policy frequently excludes some calamities from coverage. These insurance policies frequently exclude damage brought on by mudslides, earthquakes, pollution, and other man-made calamities.


What kinds of Catastrophe Insurance can You Get?


Be sure to understand the details of what you're searching for because disaster insurance differs from company to company and their policies differ as well. You will find insurance that cover many man-made disasters. While other insurance may be focused on natural disasters, such as policies that exclusively pay for damage from tornadoes or floods caused by storms.


Therefore it is highly recommended to read the details of all the insurance policies available on the market before opting for one.







The most common type of insurance, required by lenders when a property is at risk of flooding, is flood insurance. Depending on the locational hazards, additional insurance for disasters, such as earthquake coverage in California, may be required. There are limitations to the coverage with flood insurance and other types of insurance, though, that you should be aware of.


  • Learn if your insurance covers either your personal property or your real estate, or both.

  • Identify the types of harm that the policy will cover.

  • Make yourself aware of the waiting time prior to the coverage begin; the waiting period for flood insurance is generally 30 days.



Alternative forms of property protection to consider besides insurance


Due diligence


Although the first step may seem obvious, it's crucial to evaluate your risk of potential property damage when buying a property. Obtaining a CLUE report (Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange Report) that details the claims experience of the house you're interested in is not a bad idea.







These reports demonstrate whether prior insurance claims may affect your premium because a portion of your insurance costs is determined by the history of the property.


Identifying if the house is in a floodplain should be included in your due diligence. When financing real estate in locations where flooding is a known risk, lenders often demand flood insurance. However, did you know that the majority of the Houston, Texas, properties damaged by Hurricane Irma weren't in flood plains and lacked flood insurance?


Therefore, it might be wise to start with the FEMA's flood zone maps.


In addition to floods, consider whether the specific geography of the area you're buying entails additional danger. Is it in a region that has had earthquakes, tornadoes, or wildfires in the past? Investors in California, a state prone to earthquakes, are fully aware that even if that were the case, it would not be a deal-breaker. You should take these risk factors into account, though. Another tip is to check the property's trees to ensure sure they won't fall.







Aspects of the property's construction should also be taken into account. Check the living area, is it elevated? The HVAC systems of the building, are they located on the ground floor or higher? Use of hurricane straps Are the materials resistant to fire? These are the kinds of issues that merit investigation.


Insurance for Homeowners and Reserves


Landlords are typically not allowed to insure the components of their properties. Instead, tenants are responsible for this obligation, which is frequently stipulated in the lease agreement. Due to this, real estate investors are now in charge of purchasing homeowners insurance and perhaps flood insurance.


Your homeowners insurance may cover damage brought on by hurricane winds if you reside in a hurricane-prone region, but it might not cover flooding-related damage. The deductible for hurricane insurance is often larger than the deductible for other types of damage, and earthquake insurance is also notorious for having high deductibles.







However, not all insurance policies are made equal, and there isn't a single type of insurance that works for everyone.


RealProtect's president, Lee Rogers encourages real estate owners to ask the following questions from insurance agents before opting in:


  • How much of it is deductible? Is it applicable per location or instance?

  • What risks are protected? Many insurance provide extensive or fundamental coverage. What forms of losses are insured are restricted by the hazards. Unless it is expressly prohibited, you are insured under a special or "all risk" form. Please be aware that earthquakes and floods are typically excluded.

  • Will you be compensated at actual cash value or replacement cost? Depreciation is not excluded from the settlement amount if you have a replacement cost.

  • Is there a coinsurance clause? It's crucial to learn how coinsurance functions in a property insurance policy if you don't already know.

  • How much insurance do you have in place? Is the insurance you have in place sufficient to rebuild or repair?

  • What coverage do you have for lost rental income? In the event of a claim, numerous investors also experience an income loss. If you experience a covered insurance loss, do you have adequate loss of rental income coverage in place? The majority of insurance companies will pay for up to 12 months' worth of missed rental income while your home is being fixed or replaced.






Does purchasing flood insurance make sense, especially if you own the home outright and are not required to have it, given that flood damage is often excluded in a homeowners policy? No, not always. You must evaluate the risk to your property and the possibility that the incident will occur, as was already discussed.



Preventive Maintenance



You can take measures to reduce the risk of damage to the property through proper maintenance. Additionally you can make use of newer construction techniques weather it's a new property or you already own it and want to protect it against natural disasters.


For instance, numerous locals repaired their homes using various techniques after Hurricane Sandy devastated the East Coast of the country several years ago. Many others built their houses several feet higher and converted the first floor into a garage or a basement.







Moving utilities like the HVAC system and hot water tank from the basement onto the first or second story may make more sense. Newer building techniques can also aid in preventing roof damage in strong winds.


Winterizing vacant properties, replacing smoke alarms, and carrying out annual inspections are examples of good maintenance activities that could help prevent harm.



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Justin Brennan
MultiFamilyi
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