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Will my home insurance policy cover hurricane damage?

Posted : 01/01/2011

Where you live determines whether or not your home insurance policy covers damages related to a hurricane.  Most homeowners are covered as part of their homeowner policy.

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But if you live near the coast, you may be required to purchase a separate windstorm policy that covers damages related to wind or wind-blown water.  Homeowners who live in such an area and do not purchase separate windstorm coverage will end up paying out of pocket to repair any damages.

If flooding occurs as a result of a hurricane, your damages will not be covered unless you have a separate flood insurance policy.  Some homeowners find this confusing – they think that because their home insurance or windstorm policy covers damages associated with rain that enters through broken windows or a hole in the roof, it will also cover flooding damage. But this is not the case.

How do you know which type of water damage is only covered by flood insurance? In essence, any water that enters from the ground is considered flood damage. So, your home insurance or windstorm policy would not cover water damage resulting from:

  • A swollen river or creek.
  • A storm surge.
  • Massive pooling of water due to heavy rain.

Talk to your agent to find exactly what is and is not covered by your home insurance policy.

High hurricane insurance deductibles

Many homeowners who live in hurricane-prone areas also do not realize that deductibles for storm damages often are much higher than the deductible charged on other types of home insurance claims.

Home insurance policies sold in these regions of the country typically have separate percentage hurricane deductibles. That means if you file a claim, you pay a percentage of your home's insured value before your coverage kicks in.

So, if your home is insured for $200,000 and your hurricane damage deductible is 2 percent, you are on the hook for the first $4,000 in damages before your insurance company starts paying out.  

How do you know if you have a percentage deductible for storm damages? Check your insurance policy declarations page, where it should be spelled out.