The Atlantic Hurricane Season generally runs from June 1st to November 30th.
This year so far has been quiet. So now is the time to prepare your Long Island home, have an emergency plan for your family, and check the coverage on your Long Island homeowners insurance policy!
So What is a Hurricane?
A Hurricane is a tropical cyclone. This is a low pressure system that usually forms in the tropics and is accompanied by thunderstorms and a counterclockwise circulation of winds near the earth's surface. Hurricanes are categorized according to the strength of their winds. A Category 1 storm has the lowest sustained wind speeds between 74 - 95 mph. A Category 5 storm has sustained winds greater than 155 mph.
Hurricanes usually start as a Tropical Depression, which is defined as an organized system of clouds and thunderstorms with maximum sustained winds of 38 mph. The next natural progression in the development of a Hurricane is a Tropical Storm. This is still an organized system of clouds and thunderstorms, however the maximum sustained winds are between 39 - 73 mph.
The National Weather Center usually tracks the progression of a Hurricane's development and its projected path. Warning and watches are posted for the coastal areas where the Hurricane is expected to make landfall. A Hurricane Watch means that a Hurricane may occur within the next 24 to 36 hours. A Hurricane Warning means that a Hurricane will probably strike your area within the next 24 hours.
So What Does This All Mean for You In Your Long Island Home?
You need to be prepared; starting with an emergency supply kit. You should have:
- A supply of water & non-perishable food
- A manual can opener
- First Aid Kit
- Personal hygiene items, like toothbrush & toothpaste
- Change of clothing
- Battery Powered Flashlight and Radio with extra batteries
- Emergency cash and credit cards
- A full tank of gas
If you live on the coast of Long Island, know ahead of time your evacuation route. You will also need to make prior arrangements for your pet. Most emergency shelters do not allow pets.
The most important thing you can do now to prepare for a Hurricane is to check your homeowners insurance policy.
If you have made changes to your Long Island home, such as putting on an addition, you need to notify your local independent agent to make sure you are insured properly.
The Newbrook Insurance Agency is here to help you. We can help you make sure that your home is insured properly.
On Long Island most Homeowners Insurance policies have a windstorm deductible. For most homeowner policies that windstorm deductible is 2%,3%, or 5% of your dwelling coverage. So if your dwelling coverage on your Long Island home is $350,000 and you have a 3% windstorm deductible,your deductible becomes $10,500 should your home suffer damage from a Hurricane. Most policies put this higher windstorm deductible into play with a Category 2 or higher Hurricane. A Category 2 Hurricane has sustained winds of 96 - 100 mph.
Also, when Long Island is under a Hurricane Warning , there is a serious concern for flooding. A Hurricane can dump tremendous amounts of rain, which can cause flooding in areas that don't normally flood. Your homeowners insurance does not cover damage to your home from flood waters. You need to have a separate flood insurance policy to protect your home and belongings.
Also a big concern for Long Island homes in coastal areas is the storm surge that occurs when a Hurricane makes landfall. Storm surge is an abnormal rise of water generated by a storm. If storm surge coincides with normal high tide, the resulting flooding can mean tides reaching up to 20 feet or more in some cases. Again, your homeowners insurance does not cover flood. You would need a seperate flood insurance policy to help recover from this type of devastation.
So even though the prediction for the 2011 Hurricane Season is "above-normal", let's hope that Long Island is sparred.
In any case the Newbrook Insurance Agency is here to answer your questions regarding flood insurance and homeowners insurance. We are located in Port Jefferson Station, Long Island, New York. We are your neighbors and we have the same concerns you do!