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Hurricane-Proof Your Home

 
As we edge closer to another hurricane season in the New York/Long Island area, preparing your house for disaster should be a priority.

 

Whether your home is old or new, it may not be able to withstand hurricane force winds.  To protect your home, the American Red Cross recommends that you focus in on three particular areas of your home: the roof, the windows and the doors (including a garage door if you have one).

 

 

Hurricane Roof Damage

Hurricane Roof Damage

 Window Protection:

 Unprotected windows are very vulnerable to wind damage and damage from wind blown debris therefore it is critical that you protect them. The easiest and most effective way to protect them is with storm shutters. Steel is the best and the most expensive. Aluminum and plywood shutters are also available.    

  

 

These are readily obtainable from many building supply stores, including Home Depot and Lowes.  If you live in a hurricane or storm-prone area, you may want to also think about installing impact resistant windows according to the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes. These windows are designed to withstand flying debris. Also be aware that taping your windows will not protect them and is not effective.

 

Storm-Proof the Roof:
Another vulnerable area of your home is the roof. During a hurricane, the wind can actually get underneath the roof shingle and peel it off the roof.  The Federal Alliance for Safe Home recommends you go to your local building supply store and get premium flooring adhesive. Apply with a caulking gun to the underside of your roofwhere the roof and the support beams meet. Be sure to look for an adhesive that has been tested and has a strong rating.

 

Hurricane Damage to Garage Door

Hurricane Damage to Garage Door

Even the best methods of roof and window protection is not enough if you don’t also protect your doors (including your garage door). The garage door is potentially the largest and weakest opening of your home to a hurricane. According to the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes about 80% of residential hurricane wind damage starts with wind entry through garage doors, making this a critical area to reinforce.  However, many garage doors are made of lightweight materials that make it vulnerable to hurricane damage. A qualified inspector can determine if both the door and the track system can resist high winds and, if necessary, help replace them with a stronger system.  
 
Pay special attention to any sliding glass doors that you may have, as they are more vulnerable to wind damage than most other doors. When building a home or replacing a door, you should consider impact resistant door systems. As a temporary measure, you can cover the entire patio door with plywood.
 
Finally, periodically review your home insurance policy with your agent and make sure you are properly covered BEFORE disaster strikes.
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Long Island Car InsuranceAn auto insurance policy generally consists of several kinds of coverage’s and will vary by state. A general description of the coverage’s are as follows:

  • Bodily injury liability: for injuries the policyholder causes to someone else. This coverage also pays legal defense and court costs.
    • Medical, or in some states, Personal Injury Protection (PIP) for treatment of injuries to covered persons. At its broadest, PIP can cover medical payments, lost wages and the cost of replacing services normally performed by someone injured in an auto accident.
    • Property damage liability, for damage the policyholder caused to someone else’s property.
    • Collision, for damage to the policyholder’s car from a collision with another vehicle, an object or a vehicle rollover.
    • Comprehensive, for damage to the policyholder’s car that doesn’t involve a collision with another car, object or vehicle rollover. Covered risks may include fire, theft, falling objects, flood, hail and hitting an animal.
    • Uninsured motorists coverage, which pays for damages when a covered person is injured in an auto accident caused by a driver who does not have Liability insurance. The application of this coverage will vary by State. Staten Island Car Insurance

No state requires car owners to carry insurance for all these risks. But many states require drivers to carry minimum amount of liability insurance for bodily injury and property damage, as well as personal injury protection coverage.

In New York, the limits required by law for automobile insurance are 25/50/10. The first two figures refer to bodily injury liability and the third figure to property damage liability. For example, $50,000 for all persons injured in a single accident, subject to a limit of $25,000 for one individual, and $10,000 coverage for property damage.

 

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Won’t my landlord’s insurance provide coverage for damage to my personal property?
No. Your landlord’s insurance will provide coverage only for damage to the building itself, but  not to your personal property. As a result, you should purchase renters insurance to protect your property from winter storm damage.

Long Island Home Insurance

Long Island Home Insurance

What type of winter storm damage does renters insurance cover?
Standard renters insurance provides coverage for damage to your personal property that results from any of the named perils that are listed on your policy (e.g., hail, wind, fire). As long as the winter storm damage results from one of these named perils, your personal property should be covered but you will need to check with your personal agent for specific coverage questions.

What if the damage is the result of a flood?
Basic renters insurance doesn’t provide coverage for damage that is the result of a flood. If you live in a flood-prone area, you’ll need to purchase a separate policy  to cover damage to your personal property as the result of a flood.

What is the difference between replacement cost and actual cash value coverage?
When you purchase renters insurance, you’ll want to know whether the policy provides replacement cost or actual cash value coverage for damaged property. Replacement cost coverage pays the actual amount of what it costs to replace the items that are damaged. Actual cash value coverage pays an amount equal to the depreciated value of the item that is damaged. Premiums for replacement cost coverage are a little higher than those for actual cash value coverage, but is worth the cost.

Staten Island Home Insurance

Staten Island Home Insurance

Are there any coverage limits for damage to my property?
Most renters insurance policies have coverage limits for certain items, such as jewelry. As a result, you should consider adding a rider to your policy or purchasing a separate policy, sometimes referred to a personal articles policy,  that is specifically designed to protect your valuables.

How much will it cost?
The cost of renters insurance varies, and depends on factors such as where you live and the coverage amount, but most people are surprised at how low premiums are.

Preparing for winter storm damage claims
There are some steps you can take to prepare yourself in case you ever need to file a claim for winter storm damage:

  • Prepare a household inventory by photographing or videotaping items
  • Keep receipts for valuable items
  • Have insurance information handy (e.g., insurance company phone numbers, insurance policy numbers)
  • Keep copies of the documents and information you’ve compiled in a safe place outside the house

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