Be Proactive With Natural Disaster Coverage
Pacific Northwest summers have become hotter and drier, leading to more frequent and severe wildfires, according to climate studies. Add flooding, landslides, wind storms and earthquakes, and this region is at risk for its share of natural disasters. I could fill pages of this magazine with many insurance products designed to protect homes from these perils, but the best advice can be summed up in one sentence: Be proactive, and work with a knowledgeable agent.
Insurance companies commonly deny natural disaster claims because the homeowner is not insured against the specific peril. It’s easy to say, “that won’t happen to me,” or to overlook the details of your coverage until you need it most. Plus, some policies can have surprising gaps. Wildfires and wind are typically covered in a standard homeowners policy here in Washington and Idaho, but flooding, earthquakes and landslides are not.
This is where the knowledgeable agent comes in. Although an agent can assist with any type of insurance, natural disaster coverage can be complicated. The agent should know the geography and unique insurance needs of your region. Skilled agents can identify specific perils as well — such as the risk of a landslide or surface flooding because of your home location.
The agent can advise you on the proper level of coverage for personal belongings and loss of use, or identify special insurance products that might be important for you. For example, some insurers offer “difference in condition” coverage that can protect you from multiple natural disasters with one policy. Certain providers even offer coverage that will send a crew to your home to defend it from an approaching wildfire. A thoughtful agent may even reach out to you proactively when a disaster strikes your area.
Do you know which natural disasters you’re covered against? If your answer is “no,” you’re certainly not alone. But be sure to contact your insurance agent before it’s too late.
–Written by Michael Riley, director of sales of AAA Washington Insurance Agency, has more than 25 years of experience in the insurance industry and is a guest lecturer at Washington State University.
–This article appears in the Summer 2022 edition of AAA Washington member magazine, Journey.