Guess what our State Farm home-insurance "hurricane deductible" is. Go ahead! Guess how much hurricane damage we'd have to pay for before State Farm shells over one red cent!
Well, according to the "we-got-burned-by-Katrina"-ish notice in our latest policy, it's a whopping $25,000. That's for at least a Category 1, and State Farm specifies that the storm's duration "includes the time period beginning 12 hours prior to the time hurricane force wind speeds are measured at any National Weather Service measuring site in this state" and "ending 12 hours after the last time the [service] declares that the hurricane has been downgraded to a tropical storm."
The deductible is calculated at 5% of the dwelling replacement cost. Holy crap, is that not a staggering, indeed ludicrous, deductible? I mean, if the roof blows off, State Farm—like a good neighbor—will stand by sympathetically while we shell out the first $25 grand...or, just about the ballpark cost of a new roof. Thanks, neighbor! (And it's not like we're a beachfront house in Cape Hatteras, either; we're way inland in Flatbush. Something tells me these trivial distinctions don't count.)
I had read that the insurance companies planned to jack up hurricane deductibles, since tiresome policyholders kept pestering them to pay claims on actual damage from hurricanes. Fortunately, the deductibles for alien invasions, meteor strikes, and spontaneous human combustion have remained low. Meanwhile, check the fine print on your homeowner's policy. And then pray for all those tropical depressions to stay way offshore.
Images: Buster Keaton in Steamboat Bill, Jr.