Knowing that your insurance company has your back can make all the difference when disaster strikes. Catastrophe claims, or “cat claims” for short, are a crucial aspect of insurance that comes into play during these challenging times. In this blog, we’ll explore what cat claims are, delve into the types of CAT perils, and highlight the exceptional customer service you can expect from Bankers Insurance Group. Our aim is to equip you with the knowledge and confidence to navigate storms and other catastrophic events with ease. 

Understanding Catastrophe Claims 

Catastrophe claims arise from significant events that cause widespread damage to multiple homes or businesses, such as hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, and wildfires. These events are not just physically devastating but can also be emotionally taxing for those affected. Recognizing the unique nature of cat claims is the first step in understanding the comprehensive support and specialized service insurance companies must provide their clients during these times. 

The Types of CAT Perils in Insurance 

CAT perils refer to the specific events that are covered under catastrophe claims. These typically include natural disasters like hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, earthquakes, and severe storms. Each of these perils can cause extensive damage, and it’s crucial for policyholders to know what their insurance policy covers. Flood claims, in particular, require expertise due to their complexity and the significant impact they can have on homes and businesses. 

What to Expect: Customer Service During Catastrophe Claims 

Bankers Insurance Group prides itself on delivering exceptional customer service, especially when handling catastrophe claims. Here’s what you can expect from us: 

  • Prompt and Compassionate Response: We understand the urgency and emotional distress that comes with CAT claims. Our experienced claims team is prepared to respond quickly and compassionately, ensuring your claim is handled efficiently and empathetically. 
  • Expertise in Handling CAT Claims: Our internal claims team has over 60 years of experience managing CAT claims, including non-named and named storm claims. Our expertise is unmatched, with a proven track record of handling 52,252 non-named storm claims and 17,660 named storm claims in the last decade. 
  • Specialized Flood Claims Handling: Floods can be particularly challenging to navigate. Our team, which includes seasoned professionals and former FEMA employees, boasts a combined 62 years of claim-handling experience. Since January 2016, we have managed 8,348 flood claims, providing our policyholders over $471 million in flood claim payments. 
  • Access to Our Storm Center: For additional support, our Storm Center offers invaluable resources to help you prepare for a storm and understand what to expect afterward.  

Making Bankers Insurance Group Your Choice for Catastrophe Claims 

Choosing the right insurance company is crucial, especially when it comes to managing the aftermath of a catastrophe. At Bankers Insurance Group, we are not just an insurance provider; we are a partner in your recovery. Our years of experience dealing with cat claims and our dedication to exceptional customer service make us the ideal choice for anyone looking to secure their property against CAT perils. 

With Bankers Insurance Group, you can confidently navigate storms and other catastrophic events, knowing that we have the expertise, resources, and compassion to support you every step of the way. Our commitment to our customers is unwavering, and our performance metrics speak to our proficiency and leadership in the industry. 

What Is A Flood and What Are Flood Hazards?

With Floods being the most common natural disaster in the United States, it’s important to understand what zones require flood insurance and your chances of flooding. Make sure you have a plan in place for you, your family, and your home. You can search flood zones by address using FEMA’s Flood Map Service Center.

Flooding isn’t just a threat to people living near water. It happens all across the country — in all regions, climates, and various ways. Floods can occur due to snow melting quickly, heavy rainfall, ocean waves coming onto shore, or overflows from dams or other water systems. Flash floods are especially hazardous as they can happen within minutes and are very destructive.

Using Flood Maps To  Search Flood Zones By Address

Using a flood map, make sure you know if your home is at high-risk or low-risk of flooding. Living in a high-risk area means you have a 25% chance of flooding during a 30-year mortgage. However, your home doesn’t have to be in a high-risk zone for you to experience flooding. Almost 25% of all flood claims come from low to moderate-risk areas. 

The odds of you experiencing a flood may seem slim. But it happens more than you’d think. 90% of all presidential-declared disasters involve flooding. Even minor flooding can mean significant financial challenges. Just a couple of inches of floodwater penetrating your home is enough to destroy floors, damage walls, and ruin appliances, which could cost you thousands.

Nature isn’t the only cause of flooding either. New construction and paving can alter the land’s ability to drain properly. As a result, run-off can increase two to six times over what would occur on natural terrain. Areas that were initially zoned as low-risk can quickly become high-risk as development changes topography.

Have A Plan – Know What Zones Require Flood Insurance

Having a plan for you and your family will provide peace of mind and ensure you’re prepared. When making a plan, it’ll be important to consider dietary needs, medical needs, shelter, and even plan for your fur babies. With your family safe, it’s time to consider your home and what zones require Flood insurance.

Homeowners’ policies may cover fire, tornado, or even earthquake damage, but they rarely cover damage from flooding. There are two types of flood policies: Preferred and Standard. The flood hazard zone you live in determines the type of policy you should buy. If your property is located in a low-risk zone, you may qualify for a Preferred Risk Policy, making you eligible for coverage at a lower rate. If you find you live in a high-risk zone, you should speak to an agent as soon as possible, as Flood insurance has a mandatory 30-day waiting period on new flood policies.

New Requirement In Florida 

Florida recently passed Senate Bill 2A. This bill only affects Floridians with a homeowners policy, including wind coverage with Citizens Property Insurance. The bill requires Citizens’ residential policyholders to obtain flood insurance as a condition of having coverage from Citizens. The requirement will be phased in based on the flood zones and in specific years. The flood industry has also made it easier to understand rates and ensure rates accurately reflect a property’s flood risk for more individualized coverage and cost. To learn more about the new Risk Rating 2.0, check out our blog on how to protect yourself from unexpected flood damage

Ready To Get Coverage?

Our agents are always here for any questions you may have and are happy to walk you through the process. Reach out to an agent or request a quote. Are you looking for more answers? We’ve got you. Our blogs are full of tips for homeowners, and one of our most recent blogs covers 6 most asked questions about homeowners insurance.

Assignment of benefits is a legal contract between you and a third party, such as a roofer, contractor, or other vendors. The AOB allows you to transfer specific rights that your insurance policy grants you to a third party. These rights can include filing a claim, financial payments to a contractor, and even allowing the third party to file a lawsuit on your behalf

While there are reputable entities that use this form, AOBs have often been abused and broadly written. In some cases, they can give away all of your rights under your insurance policy to a third party. Unethical contractors commonly use AOBs to inflate damages and the cost of a claim, which results in legal battles and increased insurance premiums.

How To Avoid an Assignment of Benefits

Assignment of benefits (AOB) is commonly used when a homeowner experiences roof damage, a leaky pipe, etc., and they contact a contractor for assistance. The contractor may take this time to present the homeowner with an AOB. Most Assignment of Benefits agreements presented to the homeowner allows the contractor to stand in the homeowner’s shoes for insurance payment purposes. 

What To Look Out For? 

If the contractor hands you a form that reads, “I transfer and assign all insurance rights, benefits, and causes of action under my property insurance policy to the contractor.” They are asking you to sign away your rights to the claim under your homeowner’s insurance policy, and you don’t want that! If you experience a loss, be sure to contact your insurance company first before doing anything else. This will help protect yourself and avoid dealing with an AOB issue altogether.

Here are some red flags to look out for:

  • Someone knocks on your door to tell you about damage to your home that you had no idea about
  • Someone says you will get a free kitchen or free roof for no particular reason
  • They claim the damage is a lot more than it clearly is
  • Permanent repairs start before your insurance company is allowed to inspect or be notified
  • They claim to cover your deductible

Protect Yourself

If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Don’t be a victim of AOB. Contact your Bankers’ agent if you have any questions or concerns. Our agents are available to answer any questions you may have, don’t hesitate to call us at 800-627-0000.

Stay safe! It’s hurricane season, and we’ve got tips to keep you and your loved ones safe, as well as a free hurricane survival guide. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Hurricane Center is another excellent resource that tracks hurricanes and tropical storms.

With the most active hurricane season behind us and the new hurricane season just months away, policyholders and new homeowners want to know “does homeowners insurance cover roof leaks” along with a tirade of other questions. We get it, 2020 was rough, and 2021 looks a lot like 2020’s twin. We’re here to answer some of the most asked questions for homeowners insurance policies.

We hope the information we provide will leave you feeling confident in knowing how and when your policy kicks in and what you can do to stay on top of home maintenance. Knowing the difference could keep you from being stuck in a situation your policy doesn’t cover because it could have been prevented. Let’s start with the basics.

What Is Homeowners Insurance, and Why Do I Need It?

Homeowners insurance is a package policy that combines several types of insurance coverage in a single policy and applies to most single-family homes. A standard homeowners insurance policy covers:

Dwelling Coverage: Pays for damage to your home in the event of a covered loss.

Personal Property Coverage: Covers your belongings, such as furniture, clothing, or electronics, in the event of a covered loss.

Personal Liability Coverage: Pays for legal damages that are awarded to a third party when you are found to be liable for their bodily injuries or damage to their possessions while they are on your property.

Loss-of-Use: Reimburses for living costs incurred if you cannot live in your home due to a covered loss.

Medical Payment: Helps pay for medical bills incurred by visitors to your home who sustain a bodily injury while on your premises or due to your personal activities.

Your policy can have additional coverages added based on your individual needs.

So, Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Roof Leaks? 

Your insurance policy would cover roof leak repair caused by covered perils, such as a hurricane, hail storms, etc. (unless your policy has exclusions). If the roof leak is caused by poor maintenance or general wear and tear, it would not be covered. 

It’s recommended to inspect your roof twice a year, once in the fall and once in the spring. Having your roof inspected before a hurricane season could be a saving grace. It will help prevent minor roof damage from leading to severe problems that can cause leaks and damage to the building’s interior.

Does Homeowners Insurance Cover A Pipe Bursting?

Homeowners insurance will typically cover the damages if a pipe burst is sudden and unforeseen. However, some policies do exclude water damage coverage (make sure you know which coverage you have.) Remember, there is a difference between sudden damage and inadequate maintenance.

Regular maintenance could prevent a from pipe bursting. It is up to the homeowner to make sure they are having their plumbing inspected regularly. If there is a leak in a pipe and the homeowner is not following proper maintenance procedures, damages will not be covered.  

Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Tree Removal?

Your homeowners insurance might cover tree removal depending on what caused the tree to fall and where it fell. If the tree fell on and damaged a structure, the homeowners insurance usually covers the damage and the removal up to a certain dollar amount.

Will Homeowners Insurance Replace My Water Heater?

Usually, a homeowners insurance policy will only replace a damaged water heater if it is damaged by a covered peril, such as a fire or natural disaster.

However, if a water heater bursts suddenly and causes water damage, the water damage may be covered. The water heater will not be covered or replaced if it breaks down. We highly recommend extended warranties be purchased on expensive home appliances to cover the appliance itself.

Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Mold?

Homeowners insurance may cover mold if caused by a covered peril. The insurance policy will typically cover mold removal, repairs, and clean-up.

Mold growth or damage caused by flooding would most likely be covered under a separate flood insurance policy. 

The Big Takeaway

The big takeaway is that homeowners insurance policies do cover unforeseen events. Still, the homeowner is responsible for the home’s general maintenance and wear and tear upkeep. Sometimes a little bit of money spent throughout the year could save you thousands of dollars and a disastrous event. If you are ever unsure what your next step should be, your agent will always help guide you and answer any questions.

Many policyholders may have received notice of insurance rates increasing nationwide. We understand many people are confused and frustrated with the new changes in the insurance industry. To help bring some perspective and provide context around the numbers, we urge you to read our blog 4 Reasons Why We See Homeowners Insurance Rates Increasing. You can also read more about how lawsuits are affecting insurance rates.