In Sandy-ravaged New York, lawmakers introduced legislation to cap percentage-based hurricane deductibles at $1,500.
'Paying more and getting less'
Do you have a percentage-based home insurance deductible?
- Reread your policy to see if it contains a hurricane or windstorm deductible. Insurers involved in Superstorm Sandy or worried about the next doomsday event might have snuck it in the deductibles section or put it there awhile ago at your renewal time without you even knowing.
- Compare this year's and last year's policy to see if the percentage deductible went up. A 1 or 2 percent windstorm deductible could now be 5 percent.
- Determine what "triggers" your deductible, such as wind speed, and if so, for what length of time the wind has to blow at that speed.
- Find out if your insurer lets you choose the type of deductible in your policy, either a percentage-based deductible or a capped dollar deductible, which often costs more but may be a better choice if you live in a storm zone.
- See if the insurance company offers any alternatives to the percentage-based deductible. New Jersey Manufacturers, for example, is willing to forgo it if the policyholder "hardens his home" with hurricane straps on the roof rafters, venting, laminated glazing on the windows and improved garage doors.