JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – As hurricane season in the United States begins Thursday, June 1, protecting your house against storm damage isn’t as simple as having homeowners insurance.
There isn’t one policy that protects against hurricanes. But according to Mississippi Commissioner of Insurance and State Fire Marshall Mike Chaney, homeowners can get policies that cover the damage caused by hurricanes.
“There is no specific insurance policy that says, ‘This is hurricane insurance,'” Chaney said to WJTV 12 News. “Although an agent may tell you that wind and hail insurance, which we call wind plans, are hurricane insurance, but they also cover windstorms, hailstorms, tornadoes, any wind damage.”
Chaney also told WJTV 12 News that wind and flood insurance are elements needed alongside homeowners insurance to protect against hurricane damage.
For Mississippians near and along the coast, flooding resulting from hurricanes making landfall is a more significant threat. But since a typical homeowners insurance policy does not include flood insurance, it must be purchased as separate, stand-alone insurance.
Though many policies often include coverage for wind damage, Chaney recommends that homeowners ensure this is the case, especially if they live in flood-prone areas.
“Talk to your insurance agent,” Chaney said. “Be sure that you know what you got, what coverage you have.”
In a May press release from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NOAA predicted a 40% chance of a near-normal hurricane season, a 30% chance of a below-normal season, and a 30% chance for an above-normal season. With 70% confidence in their predictions, NOAA anticipates 5-9 hurricanes, 1-4 major hurricanes, and 12-17 named storms. These numbers leave room for 4-11 tropical storms -which are less powerful than hurricanes.
But no matter how many storms impact the Magnolia State this hurricane season, state leaders like Chaney insist on the same things.
“Know your evacuation route if you live on the Gulf Coast. Let people know where you are going. Take pictures of your homeowner if you have a cell phone,” Chaney said.
Mississippians have a plethora of resources to choose from. Many insurance agents have information about flood insurance or how to buy it.
The Mississippi Insurance Department (MID) also answers questions about insurance coverage or claims overall. Information about FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program and disaster preparation is available on its website. MID also has a weather preparedness section on its website.