Does homeowners insurance cover hurricane damage?

According to the NOAA 2020 was a record year for natural catastrophes. September saw the end of the annual 21-name hurricane list. The remainder of hurricanes were renamed using the Greek alphabet for the second consecutive year. A few hours or a few days of preparation can make a difference to the extent of damage to your home and the outcome of other natural disasters.

Preparing your home doesn’t have to end with securing the outside and boarding up windows. It is a good idea to make sure that your homeowners insurance covers damage from hurricanes. The majority of natural disasters are covered by standard homeowners insurance policies. However, not all. A standard policy typically excludes flooding from hurricanes and storm surges. To have coverage for flooding and hurricanes, you may need an endorsement or separate policy.

You may want to review your policy in light of the onset of hurricane season in June. Although June 1 is the official beginning of the season for hurricanes, they have been developing earlier due to climate change. Although the National Weather Service had previously proposed that moving hurricane season begin on March 15, it was ultimately ruled out. The NWS will issue routine Tropical Weather Outlooks starting May 15.

The Key Takeaways

  • Standard home insurance policies do not cover all aspects and consequences of hurricane damage.
  • Flood insurance covers flood damage and hurricane-related storm surges.
  • You might have a higher deductible for hurricane insurance.
  • It is a good idea to get hurricane coverage before the season begins. There are usually moratoriums (restrictions on buying or adjusting coverage) when a hurricane is likely.

What amount of hurricane coverage do your needs?

You may want to add coverage or limits to your policy that are higher than what is offered by a standard HO-3 policy. Most homeowners policies provide financial protection for:

  • Your dwelling (the home’s structure)
  • Detached units, such as a shed or detached garage
  • Personal property (your belongings).
  • Living expenses for displaced persons

Coverage for dwellings

The dwelling coverage covers your home’s structure, roof, and any built-in appliances like your water heater or kitchen cabinets. This coverage is usually equal to the cost of rebuilding your home.

Hurricane damage can be costly and more expensive than you might have anticipated. You can ask for extended coverage to protect your home if you are more cautious.

Coverage for other structures

Garages, sheds barns, gazebos, and other detached structures are all included. The coverage is calculated based on a percentage of your dwelling coverage, usually 10%. If you have $400,000 of dwelling coverage, you could have coverage for up to $40,000 for detached units.

Protection for personal property

It is basically what it sounds. It covers any property that isn’t physically attached to your home, such as clothing, furniture, appliances, and other items.

The limit on personal property is generally a percentage of the dwelling’s insured value. According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), personal property coverage is offered by many insurers in 50 to 70% of the insured value of your home.

A hurricane can cause significant property damage, but you might also need insurance to protect your home’s contents. Hurricane winds can cause more damage to your home than to the structure. You can insure your contents at the replacement cost, not their actual cash values to help you replace them with equivalent items.

Additional living expenses

It is crucial to understand your coverage for living expenses, as you may be forced from your home by a major storm. This coverage covers additional living costs resulting from a loss. These expenses could include food and hotel costs while your home is being renovated.

What does hurricane deductibles mean for homeowners insurance?

A separate deductible may apply to homeowners insurance that covers wind damage and other hurricane damage. These deductibles are usually higher than standard homeowners insurance. They are usually set at a percentage (typically 1% to 5%) of your dwelling coverage. If your hurricane deductible is 5 percent, you might have to pay a $20,000 deductable.

Are you a hurricane deductible required?

Nearly every state along the Atlantic coast permits insurance companies to require a separate hurricane deductible. You may be able to choose to pay a higher premium in order to lower your fixed-deductible.

Although hurricane deductibles are typically triggered by a National Weather Service official hurricane ruling, they can vary by state and insurer. Although hurricane deductibles can be expensive, they are essential coverage for people living in high-risk areas.

Which states have hurricane-deductibles?

There are hurricane deductibles in 19 states and Washington, D.C.

  • Alabama
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • District of Columbia
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Mississippi
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • Texas
  • Virginia

You may also be eligible for additional hurricane coverages

Flood insurance

Many homeowners are surprised to find that flood insurance does not cover flooding, even if it is caused by a hurricane. If you are in a flood zone, and have a mortgage, then you will need to buy flood insurance through NFIP (the National Flood Insurance Program).

According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the federal program offers up to $250,000 for dwelling coverage and $100,000 for personal property coverage. Your lender may require that you purchase flood coverage from a private insurance company if your home’s value exceeds the NFIP limit.

FEMA estimates that more than 20% of flood claims are from properties located outside high-risk federal flood areas. FEMA states that flood insurance is a good idea if you live in an area susceptible to flooding. Sara Singhas, director of the Mortgage Bankers Association, said that you might end up paying the whole bill if your house is damaged by water.

Water backup coverage

Although sewage overflow is something that you don’t want to think about after a hurricane it can happen due to flooding. Water backup coverage protects your home and personal property against water damage when sewage water backs-up through your sump pump or plumbing.

Removal coverage

The homeowner’s insurance covers the removal of debris if a tree falls on your home. The coverage typically covers a maximum amount. You may need to ask your insurance company if they offer a coverage endorsement to increase the amount of debris removal.

Regular documentation can streamline the claims process

You can help speed up the claims process and reduce stress during a crisis. To document the condition of your home and what it contains, take photos and videos every six months to one year. Moss suggests that you also take an inventory of any major renovations or repairs and upload it to the cloud. This will allow you to access the information remotely.

It can take some time for an insurance adjuster inspect your home after a storm. Make sure you document everything as soon as possible. Moss suggests that you have your own documentation to help your insurer quickly process your claim and resolve any potential dispute.

Condo and renters often require special coverage

For two reasons, renters insurance policies are equally important as homeowners policies. Your landlord will insure your apartment. However, you must have renters insurance to protect your possessions.

Find out which areas of your condo are covered by the association, and what you need to insure. You may also be responsible for paying part of the repair costs to damaged structures. Before you purchase, check with your property management company or association attorney to determine the type of coverage that you need.

Renters insurance policies do not usually have a hurricane deductible. They only have the standard deductible.

Questions frequently asked

What is hurricane insurance?

Although there is no “hurricane insurance” (or “hurricane coverage”), insurance can be purchased to protect against the damage caused by hurricanes. The two biggest dangers are flooding and wind damage.

Windstorm insurance is not covered by some home insurers in coastal areas. Flooding is another concern. Flood damage is not typically covered by home insurance. Therefore, a separate flood insurance policy will need to be taken.

What is a hurricane moratorium?

A moratorium on insurance is when insurance companies won’t write new policies or provide coverage updates for existing policies. A hurricane moratorium is typically put into effect when a NOAA hurricane watch or warning has been issued.

What happens if your vehicle is hit by a hurricane?

Comprehensive insurance is required to cover hurricane damage to your vehicle.

What is the cost of hurricane insurance?

Flood insurance costs will vary depending on whether you buy from a private company or government flood insurance provider. Flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program is about $700 annually on average. Rates will vary depending on where you live and if you live in a flood area. Also, what coverage you need and what deductibles you select.

You should shop around with several insurance companies to compare prices and coverage if you’re looking to purchase a house soon. It might be worthwhile to go beyond a quick glance at your policy. It is important to take the time to read your policy and understand how you can file a claim.