By Jim Donovan
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – We’ve been calling the storm Hurricane Sandy, but governors up and down the east coast are now saying, not so fast! They say Sandy wasn’t a hurricane, but instead a “post tropical cyclone.” As 3 On Your Side Consumer Reporter Jim Donovan tells us, that may not seem like a big deal, but the difference in wording may save homeowners thousands of dollars as they clean up and start making repairs.
All around the region the cleanup from Sandy has begun. Many homeowners have already filed insurance claims in the wake of the massive storm and for those who haven’t yet, some insurance companies are taking their offices on the road.
A mobile claim center in the parking lot of The Home Depot in King of Prussia is just one of 11 that Allstate has positioned throughout the northeast and mid-Atlantic. Julia Reusch of Allstate says, “This claim center is fully functional like any of our other claim centers so it has a satellite connection and computers inside, the point of these is so that customers can file claims quickly.” Claims that normally include a deductible. According to Reusch, “For Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey, your standard homeowners deductible should apply.”
But that isn’t always the case. With most home insurance policies there’s a $500 or $1,000 deductible that you have to pay before your insurance kicks in and pays the rest. But with storms like this, often other deductibles apply. While it’s common for shore homes to have higher deductibles to cover wind and hail damage, many states also allow insurance companies to designate even higher deductibles for named-storms like hurricanes. Those deductibles vary from 1 to 5 percent of the insured value of the home. For example a $400,000 shore house, with a 5 percent deductible, would have out-of-pocket costs of $20,000.
For the most part, hurricane deductibles only go into effect when you have a named-storm with sustained winds of 74 miles per hour or more. Governors say Sandy didn’t make that cut. So while homeowners are still responsible for paying standard homeowner deductibles, states in our region say they don’t have to pay a hurricane deductable. In the end this will save many homeowners thousands of dollars.
This is yet another example of why you should regularly check your policy with your agent, so that you know how you’re covered.
For more information on Allstate and their mobile claim centers, click here.