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Homeowners Insurance and Hurricanes

Does Your Homeowners Insurance Cover Hurricanes?

Know Your Homeowners Insurance Coverage in Advance of Storm Season

A hurricane can cause several types of damage to your home. Did you know that your homeowners insurance policy may not cover all of them? You may need a mixture of insurance policies to fully protect your home from hurricane damage – home, wind, flood, and extra hurricane-specific coverages. In this newsletter, we break down what kinds of damages these policies and extras cover.

To make certain that your home and personal belongings are insured during a hurricane for the amount it will cost to replace them, speak with your FBAlliance Insurance agent to review your current policies.

Homeowners Insurance

With a homeowners insurance or windstorm policy, you have coverages for storm damages such as:

  • Blown-off shingles
  • Downed trees
  • Shattered windows
  • Rain entering your home as a result of wind damage (such as roof damage or broken windows)

Flood Insurance

If your home is likely to flood during a hurricane from water entering from the ground, you need flood insurance. If you live in a government-designated flood zone, you may even be required to purchase flood insurance by your mortgage lender.

The Difference Between Homeowners and Flood Insurance

If your home floods during a hurricane, you may not think that it matters how the flood happened. A flood is a flood is a flood, right? Well, not exactly.

If your home has water damage or flooding that was caused by wind, wind-driven rain, and water that comes through the roof, windows, doors, or holes in the walls, that is covered by homeowners insurance.

If you have water damage or flooding caused by water rising from the ground into your home, such as a body of water overflowing or a storm surge, that is only covered by a separate flood insurance policy.

For more detailed information on flood information, refer to the NFIP.

Special Deductibles

If you live in a hurricane-prone area, there are special deductibles that are often added to your policy to pay for hurricane losses. For a hurricane deductible to be applicable, a “trigger” event must have occurred. Triggers vary by state, but they usually start when the National Weather Service officially declares a named tropical storm or hurricane.

The deductible is the amount you pay out-of-pocket before your insurance kicks in. Hurricane percentage deductibles typically run from 2 percent to 5 percent of your home’s insured value.

For example, if your home is insured for $250,000 with a 2% hurricane deductible, this would make you responsible for the first $5,000 of repairs.

Common Losses During Hurricanes

If you live in a hurricane prone area, you may consider adding some endorsements to your homeowners policy for an additional charge. These extra coverages can come in handy in the aftermath of a storm. To apply any of these extra coverages or deductibles to your policy, contact your FBAlliance Insurance Agent.

Fallen Trees and Debris

Even if your home is safe after a hurricane, it can still cause a huge mess! Your yard may end up covered in fallen trees, limbs, and debris. If a tree falls on your property and doesn’t hit anything, your homeowners insurance policy will pay $500 per tree up to $1,000 total for the cleanup.

However, if you think the trees on your property can do more damage in a storm, consider increasing your policy limits. Increased limits are available for debris removal for fallen trees felled by a hurricane by endorsement for an additional premium charge.

If one of your trees falls and damages a neighbor’s property—say, crushing a garage or fence—your neighbor should file a claim with their insurance company, which will generally pay to fix the damage.  And of course the same is true if your neighbor’s tree falls and damages your property; your policy will pay for your damage.

Refrigerated Food

Don’t worry, we haven’t forgotten the food! Don’t cry over melted ice cream – we can cover your groceries.   Add an endorsement to your hurricane policy that pays $500 if the power goes out or if there’s a mechanical failure. When you pay the $100 deductible, you’ll be able to replace all of your goodies in the refrigerator and freezer.

Living Expenses

If the hurricane destroys your home or makes it uninhabitable, your homeowners policy will cover any necessary increase in living expenses in order for your household to maintain your normal standard of living. We’ll cover rent or hotel costs, food and other expenses while you’re unable to live in your home.

Keep the receipts for reimbursement. Payment will be for the shortest time required to repair or replace the damage or, if you permanently relocate, the shortest time required for your household to settle elsewhere and is limited to 20% of your Dwelling — Coverage A amount.

As with the example above, if your home is insured for $250,000, you have up to $50,000 for additional living expenses.

Ordinance and Law

If the hurricane destroys your home, your homeowners policy will provide up to 10% of the Dwelling – Coverage A limit.

Using the same example, if your home is insured for $250,000, you have up to $25,000 to cover increased costs necessary to bring your residence to up code, including the construction, demolition, remodeling, renovation or repair of your dwelling or other structure.

For example, older structures that are damaged may need upgraded electrical, heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning (HVAC), and plumbing units based on city codes.

For an additional premium, your policy may be endorsed to increase this basic Ordinance and Law coverage.

Contact Your FBAlliance Insurance Agent

Hurricane season is coming. Make sure you are protecting your family, home, and belongings by reviewing your policies. For more information and guidance about what kinds of coverage fit your unique insurance needs, contact your FBAlliance Insurance agent.

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FBAlliance Insurance is providing this document as a courtesy to answer some of the most frequently asked questions we receive regarding coverage for damage due to hurricane. This document does not change or replace any policy language and you should review your Homeowners Declaration Page and Policy contract for exact terms, conditions, limitations and exclusions.