Weathering the Economic Storm of a Damaging Hurricane

by

Chris McDonald

While hurricanes on Long Island are rare, storms like Hurricane Sandy, the infamous 1938 hurricane coined the “Long Island Express,” Hurricane Gloria in 1985 and Hurricane Bob in 1991 are local legend on the East End. With Atlantic hurricane season stretching from June 1 through November 30, Chris McDonald an agency principal from Amaden Gay Agencies in East Hampton talks about the best coverage to help homeowners weather the storm.

What are some specific concerns East End families should have in terms of Hurricanes?

Some houses here on the East End are right off the coast. We are sticking right out into the ocean, and hurricanes can come right up the coast, so we are definitely a target. Houses out here are also frame houses. Concrete houses in Florida are less likely to be damaged because they are a more sturdy structure. Houses built in frames are more easily compromised. Insurance carriers tend to look more favorably on a concrete house than a frame house.

What kinds of insurance can protect you from hurricane damage?

To be fully protected from a hurricane, a homeowner needs to have both home and flood insurance. Homeowner insurance covers wind damage, not flooding. We recommend obtaining homeowners insurance from a reputable carrier with an “A” rating. Homeowner insurance for homes in the Hamptons usually have a separate deductible for hurricane damage, which can be quite high. So we recommend that people review their homeowner insurance every year and become aware of what their deductibles are—particularly what their hurricane deductible is. Try to purchase the policy with the lowest hurricane deductible possible.

In terms of flood insurance, we recommend that everybody, whether they live on the water or not, consider purchasing a flood policy. Flood insurance is usually obtained through FEMA, but an agent can help you get it.

Are there any physical things that people can do to protect their homes?

If you have a lot of large trees around your house, you can have a tree expert inspect them annually. If trees get diseased, they’re more likely to be knocked over by a storm and damage your house. You should also have your roof inspected periodically to make sure the roof is in good condition. If there’s a storm approaching, people should try to reduce the potential for flying debris, like outdoor furniture or any other loose items in the yard that could blow into the house and break windows, etc.

Another suggestion is that if you have storm shutters for your house, make sure that they’re ready to go. Make sure they’re operating properly before the storm hits.

What else should people be thinking about this hurricane season?

One thing that comes to mind is just developing a hurricane plan with your family. Have a discussion about it, make sure you have a plan if a major hurricane hits; what to do if your water, gas, or electricity goes off. Just have a plan in place if we get hit by a major storm.

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