Even before the official start of hurricane season last week, two named storms have already hit the East Coast. It’s time ask – does your homeowners insurance policy really have you covered?

Last year, Hurricane Irene caused $400 million in damage across Maryland. When the skies cleared, many who filed claims found that special deductibles applied that added thousands to their repair costs. Worse, in some cases, they found out that they weren’t covered at all!

Remember: Insurance companies make their business under the guise of pretending they exist for the benefit of their policyholders. Once upon a time, insurance underwriters in America recited a powerful oath: “I shall strive to ascertain and understand the needs of others and place their interests above my own.” Today, that oath might as well read: “My company’s profits come before all else.”

Today the heart of their operation is purely profit driven. Keep payout costs low, deny as many claims as possible and invest the rest.

That’s one reason insurance companies rush to befriend you right after you file a claim so you will hopefully settle for as little as possible. Once you sign on the dotted line it’s a done deal … no matter how much money you’ve left on the table from unclaimed losses.

The whole idea of insurance is to recover all that you have lost. We want to know that, if something terrible happens, our financial futures are safe. Unfortunately, that security is often nothing more than an illusion. It is no illusion, however, that some insurance companies routinely engage in bad faith when dealing with their policyholders.