Sign up for our FREE Monthly Email Newsletter
In addition to keeping in the financial know, you may be interested in checking your credit score and report.
¹The credit scores provided under the offers described here use the Equifax Credit Score, which is a proprietary credit model developed by Equifax. The Equifax Credit Score and 3-Bureau scores are each based on the Equifax Credit Score model, but calculated using the information in your Equifax, Experian and TransUnion credit files. The Equifax Credit Score is intended for your own educational use. It is also commercially available to third parties along with numerous other credit scores and models in the marketplace. Please keep in mind third parties are likely to use a different score when evaluating your creditworthiness. Also, third parties will take into consideration items other than your credit score or information found in your credit file, such as your income.
²The Automatic Fraud Alert feature is made available to consumers by Equifax Information Services LLC and fulfilled on its behalf by Equifax Consumer Services LLC.
³Equifax Credit Report Control™ is only available while you have a current subscription to Equifax Complete Premier. Locking your credit file with Equifax Credit Report Control will prevent access to your Equifax credit file by certain third parties, such as credit grantors or other companies and agencies. Credit Report Control will not prevent access to your credit file at any other credit reporting agency, and will not prevent access to your Equifax credit file by companies like Equifax Personal Solutions which provide you with access to your credit report or credit score or monitor your credit file; Federal, state and local government agencies; companies reviewing your application for employment; companies that have a current account or relationship with you, and collection agencies acting on behalf of those whom you owe; for fraud detection and prevention purposes; and companies that wish to make pre-approved offers of credit or insurance to you. To opt out of such pre-approved offers, visit www.optoutprescreen.com/.
4We will require you to provide your payment information when you sign up and we will immediately charge your card $4.95. After that, we will charge the card $19.95 for each month you continue your subscription. You may cancel at any time; however, we do not provide partial month refunds.
Equifax® is a registered trademark and Equifax Complete™ Premier is a trademark of Equifax, Inc. © 2014, Equifax Inc., Atlanta, Georgia. All rights reserved.
According to Ron Sachs, executive producer of the National Hurricane Survival Initiative, experts are predicting 2014 will be a modest year for hurricanes—but that’s no reason to be lulled into a false sense of security.
“I would liken it to crime,” Sachs said in a May teleconference. “Crime statistics may be down, but if people in your family are victims of a crime you know it only takes one.”
Ten of the 12 costliest hurricanes in US history have been in the last decade, according to the Insurance Information Institute. Together, they caused $135 billion in insured damages.
If you live anywhere near water, you could be vulnerable to hurricanes, even if the 2014 hurricane season winds up being mild. Don’t wait until it’s too late.
Here are four key things to remember about hurricane coverage:
1. Your homeowner’s insurance may not cover all hurricane-related damage.
Most homeowner’s insurance will only cover wind damage after a hurricane. Some policies contain a water damage clause, but in general they only protect against water that comes from the sky down. A storm surge resulting from a hurricane could cause extreme flooding, so be sure you have adequate coverage.
2. Flood insurance is important.
“Too often, we see people who don’t have adequate levels of flood insurance,” Brian Koon, vice president of the National Emergency Management Association and director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management, said in the teleconference. “If you just take a little bit of time, you can make sure you’re well positioned.”
Flooding caused by hurricanes is only covered by flood insurance, so it may be a good idea to have flood insurance whether you live in a designated flood zone or an inland area.
If your homeowner’s insurance provider does not offer flood coverage, you can buy it through an independent agent. The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) also provides coverage for up to $250,000 for the structure of your home and $100,000 for your personal possessions. Keep in mind that it takes 30 days for the NFIP policy to go into effect.
3. Your insurance may not cover everything.
Every insurance policy has its limits. Here are some things that are not usually protected by standard flood insurance policies:
Ask about extra coverage if you want to avoid paying for these items if they’re needed as a result of or damaged by a hurricane.
4. Document everything in your home before and after you file a claim.
One of the best things you can do before a hurricane strikes is create a record of your home and all your belongings. Keep an up-to-date inventory as you acquire and get rid of property.
Start by taking photos and videos of everything you can before any damage occurs. Then, put the pictures in a fire-and-water-safe box and consider keeping copies off site. After a storm hits, photograph the same items again so your insurer can use the images as a reference. Organized records could make your claims process move along much faster.
It’s impossible to prevent a natural disaster, but with the right amount of insurance coverage and some prep work, you could help keep one from completely devastating your finances.
Ilyce Glink is the author of over a dozen books, including the bestselling 100 Questions Every First-Time Home Buyer Should Ask and Buy, Close, Move In! Her nationally syndicated column, “Real Estate Matters,” appears in newspapers from coast-to-coast, and her Expert Real Estate Tips YouTube channel has nearly 4 million views. She is the managing editor of the Equifax Finance Blog, publisher of ThinkGlink.com, and owner of digital communications agencyThink Glink Media. In addition to her WSB radio show and WGN radio contributions, she is also a frequent guest on National Public Radio. Ilyce is a frequent contributor to Yahoo and CBS News.
Equifax maintains this interactive forum for education and information purposes in order to allow individuals to share their relevant knowledge and opinions with other members and visitors. We encourage you to participate in discussions about personal finance issues and other topics of interest to this community, but please read our commenting guidelines first. Equifax reserves the right to monitor postings to the forum and comments will be published at our discretion. Do you have questions or comments about your Equifax credit report or customer-service issues regarding an Equifax product? If so, please contact Equifax directly. All opinions and information expressed or shared in blog comments are solely those of the person submitting the comments, and don't necessarily represent the views of Equifax or its management.