Does Homeowner’s Insurance Cover Hurricane Damage?

hurricane from space - does homeowners insurance cover hurricane damage

If you live in a hurricane-prone state, it’s important to consider insurance options that will protect you from hurricane-related damages. Many standard policies don’t cover hurricane damage. Coverage gaps are fillable via options like flood or wind insurance, but it’s generally better to be safe than sorry.

Depending on your policy’s details, deductibles for different damages could be separated. As a result, coverage limits can fluctuate. Deductibles for hurricane coverage can be higher than average. Thus, closely monitoring how policy percentages might shift is part of how to calculate the right coverage options.

How Does Home Insurance Cover Hurricane Damage?

Hurricane-related incidences that your homeowner’s insurance may cover include:

  • Structural damage
  • Personal belongings or personal property damage
  • “Loss of use coverage,” which could cover hotels, meals, and other living expenses.

What Is Hurricane Insurance?

Typically, hurricane insurance includes a bundle of coverage. Formally, “hurricane insurance” doesn’t exist. However, coverage like wind, flooding, sewer backup, and others are sold together. The combination of policies equates to “hurricane insurance.”

What Does Hurricane Insurance Cover?

Generally, hurricane insurance protects you from many occurrences. Flooding, heavy rainfall, storm surges, tornados, and wind are just a few examples. The idea is to cover all hurricane-related damages that aren’t covered in basic homeowners’ policies. 

Hurricane-Related Policy Types

  • Homeowner’s insurance:  This coverage focuses on your home’s structure. Exclusions do exist. Contact your insurer to learn more.
  • Flood insurance: This policy must be purchased separately from homeowner’s insurance and usually covers most damages associated with rising waters. Flooding, storm surges, and wind-driven waters are covered here. Renters can also buy this insurance.
  • Sewer Back-Up: Sometimes heavy rains can cause sewers to flow into the streets, or into homes. This coverage must usually be requested directly. Check with your insurer for more information.
  • Additional Living Expense (ALE) Coverage: Hurricanes can leave you homeless. If damages make your home uninhabitable, this policy should cover displacement-related expenses. This is ideal for rebuilds. These claims can be extremely complicated and lack of knowledge can lead to not getting the full coverage and compensation you are entitled to. Consulting with a hurricane damage claims lawyer about your situation may offer help to maximize your ability to lay claim on the full benefits due.

What Hurricane Insurance Doesn’t Cover

Grasping the limitations of hurricane insurance can be tricky. For starters, a basic homeowner’s policy doesn’t cover damages from hurricanes. Wind-driven damages and storm-surging waters require specific coverage.

Settlement terms on home insurance claims differ. It’s important not to be underinsured if you want the whole value of your home covered. A rebuild at a fraction of your home’s value could be a major downgrade. 

Condominium residents can contact the condo association for information on which coverage options represent the appropriate minimum coverage needed for them. 

Personal property of high value should be reported to insurers from the beginning. This insurance can give you the best options for coverage of the value of said items if they’re damaged. 

At least 19 states provide special policies that cover hurricane-related damages. Deductibles range from one percent to ten percent. Read the fine print and make sure you can afford the insurance you’re purchasing. 

How Much Hurricane Coverage Do You Need?

The amount of coverage needed can depend on several factors, like proximity to flood plains, exposure to high-risk areas, building specifications, financial status, and more. Most coverages fit into the following policy types:

Dwelling Policies

This includes your home’s foundation and structural shell, attached add-ons, roof, and appliances. Typically this plan covers the exact cost of a rebuild. Despite this coverage, homeowners can still be underinsured if they aren’t careful. As a result, it’s wise to purchase insurance with greater dwelling coverage limits than the house value.

Other Structures Policies 

Other structure policies include barns, gazebos, garages, sheds, and more. Generally, this coverage is calculated using a percentage of dwelling coverage. So $800,000 at ten percent equals $80,000 in coverage. $40,000 would equal five percent. 

Personal Property Policies

Personal property policies include appliances, clothing, and furniture. Like other structures, personal property is generally covered as a percentage of the dwelling policy value. It’s suggested that policies be covered at the replacement value, versus the actual cash value. 

Additional Living Expenses

If you’re displaced, this policy covers the associated expenses. The goal is to have a coverage limit that’ll cover all costs, so be careful and patient when agreeing to these policies. Talk with a seasoned lawyer about these coverage details right away. 

Hurricane Deductibles and Homeowners Insurance

Because bundles of coverage are made up of separate policies, there will be multiple deductibles. Different damage scenarios will present different deductibles. Spreadsheets outlining the different damage-related scenarios help gain a comprehensive understanding of hurricane-related damages and associated deductibles. 

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