It’s hurricane season. Make sure you have sufficient insurance coverage for your home.


In case anyone needs a reminder of the value of flood insurance, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says there will likely be more than your usual number of powerful storms this year. After Sandy, Irene, Isaias and Ida, you have to assume that one or more of these tropical storms will follow a northerly track for New England – or a northeasterly if not. If rising water is not a major concern for you based on the location of your home, falling trees might be.

Any discussion of storm proofing your home should start with the obvious – your own safety is the key thing. If you haven’t already, get a reliable plan with a few options for where to go if your home is in the bullseye of an impending storm too powerful to risk riding it. Connecticut’s Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security offers tips for preparing for storms online at

The next consideration is for your most valuable investment – the home itself. And there’s a major change this year in how the federal government insures against the costliest threat of rising floodwaters. While home insurance policies in Connecticut cover windstorms — policies may contain additional deductibles for hurricane-force storms — they do not cover flood damage. As part of the National Flood Insurance Program Risk Rating 2.0 change that went into full effect in April, the NFIP will no longer calculate premiums based on a property’s location in a general flood zone. as policies are renewed. Instead, insurance is priced based on a home’s elevation and specific proximity to bodies of water; the ability of the foundation to withstand any flooding; and the structure’s replacement value, among other variables.

Tim Russell is one of Connecticut’s foremost experts on flood insurance, having served as chairman of the National Committee of Flood Insurance Producers, which acts in an advisory capacity to federal agencies. “If you think about it, two inches of water in a house that would cost $300,000 to build will cause less damage than two inches of water in a house that costs $1.5 million to build, simply because the materials are more expensive,” says Russell, a senior member of the Russell agency in Southport. “It’s a fairer way to price flood insurance.”

Russell says that while 46% of Connecticut flood insurance policies in force will see a slight increase under the new risk rating, 37% will see a decrease. Around 14% will be hit by larger increases – the 2.0 Risk Rating allows rate increases of up to 18% in any given year for a primary residence, and 25% for a vacation home or homes which have been repeatedly hit by devastating storms. Add fees, and it can add up to $200 or more in a year for a single property.

Don’t neglect the top. Experts recommend spring and fall inspections of your roof — and after a major windstorm — to make sure everything is nailed down properly for the next one.

Then there are the walls themselves. Even if you don’t have dead trees threatening your home, you might miss the warning signs of weakened trees that look relatively healthy to the untrained eye, according to Pat Flynn of the Danbury office of Bartlett Tree Experts, who is president of the Connecticut Tree Protective Association.

Even healthy trees have different wood strengths and soil bases which can make some species more prone to failure during a tropical or northeast storm.

While pandemic disruptions have impacted the tree industry workforce, for many businesses the wait time is only a few weeks for an estimate and dispatch. a team on the property, says Flynn. Work deemed urgent is generally given priority.

“Whenever a hurricane is forecast, people start worrying about their trees, and arborists get really busy,” Flynn says. “The best thing homeowners can do is have an arborist who regularly maintains the property. This arborist will monitor those trees and alert the homeowner if there is anything that is potentially dangerous to the home.


Comments are closed.