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What Is Hurricane Insurance?
The term “hurricane insurance” can be misleading. There is no single coverage that addresses all the damage caused by a hurricane. However, most homeowners insurance policies, like the ones from Kin, do offer coverage for hurricane wind damage. If you live in a hurricane-prone area like Florida, your homeowners insurance policy usually has a separate deductible – a hurricane deductible – that applies for the wind damage caused by named storms.
For the flood damage that accompanies hurricanes, you need either a separate flood policy altogether or to add a flood insurance endorsement to your policy. A standard homeowners insurance policy doesn’t cover water damage caused by storm surge, and hurricane insurance doesn’t cover storm surge damage, either. (More on that distinction in a bit.)
- New Jersey
- New York
- North Carolina
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
States in “Tornado Alley”, like Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri, Iowa, and South Dakota, may also have separate wind/hail deductibles.
How Do Hurricane Deductibles Work?
As mentioned earlier, your hurricane deductible is separate from the standard AOP deductible that applies to other covered perils, such as fire, theft, or vandalism claims.
While your general deductible is usually a flat dollar amount, your hurricane deductible is a percentage of the coverage you have for your dwelling – typically 1%, 2%, 3%, 5%, or 10%. So if you have $300,000 in dwelling coverage and a 2% hurricane deductible, your out of pocket expense for a hurricane claim would be $6,000.
Your hurricane deductible is triggered by specific conditions outlined in your policy. Generally, a storm declared as a hurricane by the National Weather Service or a named storm triggers this deductible.
Deductible options may vary based on state regulations. For example, Florida insurers are required to offer hurricane deductible options of $500, 2%, 5% and 10%.
Such as your garage, fence, greenhouse, shed, and more
Your personal belongings
Such as clothing, furniture, appliances, and more
Hurricane screened enclosure endorsement can be added to pay for wind damage to screened enclosures, aluminum‐framed carports, or awnings.
This protection is usually available in increments of $5,000 up to $50,000 maximum.
Storm surge damage that accompanies hurricanes
That said, it may sometimes cover water damage that wind damage made possible
Hurricane Insurance vs. Flood Insurance
Where hurricane coverage ends and flood insurance begins can be hard to assess, so let’s look at a few sample scenarios.
- Scenario 1: A hurricane hits the coast of Florida and tears the roof off your house. Without its roof and exposed to the hurricane’s torrential rain, the home is flooded. Because the water damage was a result of the wind’s damage to the roof, your hurricane insurance would likely cover both the roof and water-related repairs.
- Scenario 2: A hurricane strikes, but your home stays miraculously intact despite the incredibly strong winds. However, your street is flooding from the storm surge and downpour, and your basement floods. Because hurricane wind damage didn’t create an opening for the flooding, you would need flood insurance to pay for this water damage.
- Scenario 3: This time, a hurricane hits your home and rips an opening in your roof, allowing the downpour into your home. Your street is also flooded from the heavy rains and storm surge. Because it would be hard to separate which was the true source of flood damage to the home – the storm surge from the flooded street or the opening in your roof that let all the water in – your hurricane insurance would likely apply in this case.
These scenarios are meant to be illustrative only. Every insurance company will have their own criteria for assessing damage and its source. That’s why, if you live in a region prone to hurricanes and flooding, it’s smart to have both hurricane and flood insurance. You never know when you’ll need them.
How Much Does Hurricane Insurance Cost?
Hurricane coverage is not separate from your home insurance. That means your home insurance premium includes this protection. So, for example, the average cost of Florida home insurance that includes hurricane coverage is $1,172 a year, according to our data.
That said, your proximity to the coast increases the likelihood that your home may experience hurricane damage, and that can drastically influence the cost of your premium.
Your premium is also dependent on a host of other factors, such as the home’s construction, windstorm mitigation measures, the age of your home, and more.
A wind mitigation inspection that proves your roof is resistant to hurricane winds can help you reduce home insurance premiums considerably in Florida.
Florida home + hurricane
When Should Homeowners Buy Hurricane Insurance?
As with any type of insurance, the time to have coverage is before you need it. That’s why we always say it’s smart to shop for coverage or to switch insurance providers well before hurricane season.
It’s also worth noting that moratoriums, or binding prohibitions, may be in place during hurricane season that could delay your ability to purchase coverage or change insurance companies. Though moratoriums are infrequent, they can be put into effect because of hurricanes, tropical storms, wildfires, or other catastrophes.
For hurricanes specifically, insurance companies tend to wait until a storm is 24 to 48 hours from reaching the coast before putting a moratorium in place.
Tips for Buying Hurricane Insurance
- Choose a hurricane deductible that’s realistic. A higher hurricane deductible reduces your premium, but you’ll be on the hook for more out of pocket expenses when you need to rebuild your home after a storm.
- Don’t wait to buy or switch your coverage. If you're thinking about buying a policy or switching carriers, do it before hurricane season. You don't want a moratorium to delay your protection.
- Get a windstorm mitigation inspection. Florida home insurance companies are required to offer discounts for wind mitigation efforts. Make sure yours are rewarded! Plus, your inspection will tell you what updates can make your home even more wind resistant – and save you more money on your premiums.
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