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Hurricane Insurance

What To Know About Hurricane Insurance

Finding yourself and your home unprotected in the event of a disaster is a horrible situation to be in. To avoid this, most homeowners purchase an insurance policy to protect themselves from paying in full for home repairs. But what about when your home is damaged by a hurricane? Will your insurance cover you then?

Hurricane Insurance
Hurricane Isabel in 2003 hit the Northeastern and Southeastern parts of the U.S.

Most homeowners insurance policies will not pay for repairs in the event of a hurricane leaving you in a tough spot. To be protected from a hurricane you might want to look for hurricane insurance. Hurricane insurance, strictly speaking, does not exist in its own for but rather, are two forms of added insurance policies that can protect you from a hurricane.

These two policies are flood insurance and windstorm insurance, neither of which are covered under your typical homeowners policy. Your home may be covered by your basic homeowners insurance policy but to be protected from a hurricane, you’re going to need to search for these extra policy options.

Flood insurance and windstorm insurance will protect your home from a hurricane’s two biggest risks, flooding and heavy winds. If your home is in an area that is prone to hurricanes you may wish to speak with your insurance company sooner rather than later and find out which policy is best for you. Now what exactly are these two types of insurance?

Flood Insurance

This will keep your home protected in the event of external flooding and water damages, something that is common when a hurricane hits. On average, one inch of water costs $10,000 in damages and upwards of $30,000 in claims costs. If you have flood insurance, you won’t have to pay out of pocket for any repairs to your home caused by external water damages.

Photo by Wade Austin Ellis on Unsplash

Most communities throughout the United States take part in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and buy their coverage through them. Some insurance companies partner with the NFIP allowing you to buy flood insurance through your company. Regardless of whether your insurance company offers you flood insurance, it’s important to seek out coverage to protect you from a hurricane or flood.

You can search your local area to discover how at risk of flooding you are. Some neighborhoods are required to have flood insurance by their mortgage lender to avoid a financial loss. Even if your neighborhood does not require it, it’s still smart to see how “at risk” you are and buy your flood insurance accordingly.

Floods are one part of the risk of hurricanes but the one that’s uninsured by all homeowners policies. You may not be required to buy flood insurance but if your home is damaged by external flooding, your homeowners insurance will not cover the cost of repairs. Speak to your agent today to find out the best options for you.

Windstorm Insurance

The other half of hurricane insurance is windstorm insurance. Windstorm insurance will cover you in the event of damages to your property caused by heavy winds in hurricanes or other. If your roof is ripped off by 40 mph winds, you will be covered by windstorm insurance.

There are some homeowners insurance policies that will cover you for wind-related damages, but it’s not guaranteed so it’s still recommended to seek out windstorm insurance policies. In some states that are at higher risk of hurricane damage, you may be required to buy a separate policy to cover you from wind damages. These states are typically the coastal states – Maryland, Florida, Louisiana, New York, etc. – that are in hurricane-prone areas.

If you are required to buy separate insurance solely for windstorm protection, all wind related damages will fall under this policy. This includes tornadoes, cyclones, and any other form of high-speed wind damages. You will not be restricted to hurricane winds.

You might need both to be properly covered

Hurricanes bring both water and winds, you will not be safe with merely protecting your property from one or the other. Insuring yourself from both forms of hurricane insurance will allow you to make an undisputed claim to your insurance company after a hurricane.

If you’re covered by windstorm insurance and your roof is damaged by the hurricane but your basement was destroyed by a flood, you’re going to need both forms of insurance. If you don’t have the flood insurance, your insurance company will pay for your roof repairs, but your basement will be up to you. Remember, one inch of water caused on average $10,000 in damages and hurricanes can bring much more than one inch of water.

By purchasing both wind and flood insurance, you will protect yourself from the insurance company refusing your claim on the basis of you weren’t covered. This means that if your house is hit by a fallen tree and you claim the tree was knocked over by the wind, your insurance may claim the tree was uprooted by the flood. An investigation will follow to determine the true cause and if you are uninsured for flood protection, you better hope the tree was knocked down by the wind.

Being properly protected by both windstorm and flood insurance allows you to cover all bases and protect yourself and your property from both aspects of a hurricane.

Windstorm Deductibles

Before you get paid for your claim by your insurance, you may be forced to pay the windstorm or hurricane deductible. This will differ on which state you are in, as each state has a different standard and some don’t require this deductible at all.

19 at-risk states require you to put down a deductible for windstorm protection before allowing you to purchase insurance. This deductible will also be used to cover the costs to repair and hurricane related damages before the insurance kicks in. But how is this deductible determined?

As previously mentioned, there are certain states who require this windstorm deductible and the amount necessary varies by state. You will be required to put down anywhere from 1%-5% of your home’s value. This means that if your home is worth $500,000 you may need to put down $15,000-$25,000 for your deductible. Florida offers the choice of a $500 deductible, but this will grant you less insurance coverage.

Hurricane insurance is difficult to figure. Many factors go into whether it’s right for you but it’s always better to be safe rather than sorry, especially in a hurricane prone area. Talk to your insurance company to find out if you’re already covered for windstorm damage and get the best quote for flood insurance. Your home is your biggest investment, protect it from the risk of hurricanes.

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