Hurricanes and Home Insurance: What You Need to Know

Hurricanes have been all over the news lately, and Texas was particularly hard hit by recent Hurricane Harvey. If you live in Cypress, TX, you may have found out too late that your home insurance didn’t cover enough when you were hit with hurricane damage. With more hurricanes continuing to hit the United States, it’s time to learn more about hurricanes and home insurance so you make sure you’re covered.

Does Home Insurance Cover Hurricanes?

There’s no one policy that is going to cover all the damage a hurricane has the potential to do to your home. You may need to consider a mixture of several policies from InsureUS, such as home insurance, flood insurance, and wind insurance. Keep in mind, if you’re living near the coast, it’s possible that you may need to have a special windstorm policy along with your home insurance.

Do I Need Flood Insurance?

If you think you may need coverage for water that enters the home as a result of a hurricane, such as pooling water from heavy rains or water damage from storm surge, then you probably do need flood insurance along with your home insurance. Many homeowners think that their home insurance will cover them, but you’ll probably need a good flood insurance policy to ensure you’re well covered.

Will I Need to Pay Special Deductibles?

Living in a hurricane-prone area may mean that you do pay some special, higher deductibles. You may be asked to pay a percentage deductible when dealing with hurricane damage. When buying insurance to keep you covered during a hurricane, make sure you find out the deductible information.

What to Do After a Hurricane Hits

If a hurricane does hit your home in Cypress, TX, make sure that you document your damage with video or photos and work to prevent further damage to your home. Make sure you keep track of temporary repairs that are made. You’ll also need to make sure that you notify the insurance company immediately.

Don’t wait until another hurricane hits to make sure you’re well covered. Contact InsureUS to learn more about your options and the coverage you need. 

Is it better to buy or rent a home in retirement?

The kids are gone, the house is paid for, and you are ready for retirement. The question is whether keeping the house is the best idea.

According to USA Today, as many as 46 percent of seniors aged 65 or older are deciding to rent a home rather than buy a new house or keep their previous one.

There are pros and cons to each option.

For someone who already owns their own home with no monthly mortgage payment to worry about, it might seem an obvious choice to keep the house. According to the Motley Fool, this house can be used as a source of income in retirement through a line of credit or a reverse mortgage if there is a sudden need for extra money. On the other hand, annual upkeep eats up as much as 1 percent to 4 percent of the value of the house each year. These expenses can add up quickly on an older home. Then there are property taxes and homeowner’s insurance. Meanwhile, it is entirely possible that a housing market crash could erode the value of the home right when it is needed the most.

On the flip side, selling a home near or during retirement when the market is priced right could add a lot of cash flow and savings to draw from in the event of an emergency. The idea here is that cash can be invested and might be worth more over time than the house’s appreciation.

Kiplinger’s took a look at several scenarios involving home ownership, selling, and renting to decide which option made the most financial sense. They determined that in the short run renting was the better choice while buying a new home was more profitable after ten years or more. They also noted that it could be possible to pay yearly rent with interest gained from investing profits from the sale of a home.

Remember too that retirement is also about freedom. Separate from the financial aspects, renting a home could allow retirees to move around to different parts of the country more easily rather than worrying about having to sell or maintain a house from a distance.

How to buy a home when there aren’t many on the market

In economic parlance, many describe today’s housing market this way: demand is high and supply is low. In practical terms, this means there are more buyers than homes for sale. While this isn’t true in all areas of the country, it is true in many areas.

According to USA Today, there was a 4.3 month supply of homes nationally in August of 2017. That means it would take a little more than four months to run out of homes for sale if no other homes came on the market. This number was down from earlier in the summer when there was a 4.6-month supply. The normal number of homes for sale is a 6-month supply.

Why is supply of homes for sale so low? Baby Boomers don’t want to sell, according to USA Today. A recent realtor.com survey showed that 85 percent of Baby Boomers aren’t selling but 60 percent of millennials are.

In this market, sellers may easily get the price they want, but buyers must have all their shingles in a row these days.

Here’s how you have the best chance of snagging the house you want:

*Get your financing ready
First get pre-qualified for a loan. This is an informal process where you visit with various lenders, giving them an overview of your financial situation. The lenders can then give you an idea of how much you can borrow and an idea of interest rates. But, beware, this is not a promise to loan you the money. It merely gives you working numbers.

*Shop around
The good thing about pre-qualification is that you can start shopping around before you are ready to buy. You can get an idea of what you can afford and what you want in a house. Even if this isn’t your first time in the market, don’t skip the growing period, according to USNews. If you have been out of the market for more than a year, then you don’t know what is out there.

*Get pre-approved
When you know you want to take the plunge, get pre-approved for a loan. At this point, you should have an idea of which lender you might want to use. The lender checks your credit, verifies employment, and confirms your ability to qualify for a mortgage. With a pre-approval in hand, you are ready to make a credible offer when you find the home you want.

Never use a Roth IRA as an emergency fund

Roth IRAs are unique retirement tools in that they allow the owner of the account to withdraw their original deposits from the account at any time without penalty. Because the accounts are funded with after-tax money, Uncle Sam doesn’t have to worry about getting a cut as money moves in and out of the IRA. This feature could lead some people to use their Roth IRA as a sort of emergency fund if they have no other savings to draw from.

According to The Simple Dollar, however, it is not a good idea to use the account in this way because most of the gains will be lost with a withdrawal and only so much can be contributed over a lifetime. Say that a 25-year-old deposited the $5,000 yearly limit and wanted to see how much this would turn into when they retire in 40 years. At 7 percent interest compounded annually, there will be $74,872 when they turn 65. Taking that $5,000 back out when they are 30 to cover an emergency will result in only $21,489 over the same time frame. Taking money out early might sound good in the short term, but it will be disastrous for long-term financial security.