Be it wind, rain, storm surge or hurricanes, natural disasters can wreak havoc on your property. That is why protecting your home and belongings from nature’s wrath requires going beyond a standard homeowners’ policy. Here are some facts to help you understand the options.
Hurricane insurance protects homeowners against hurricane-related damage, or wind and rain damage from storms with sustained winds of 75 mph or more. General wind damage, like torn shingles or broken windows, as a result of a hurricane is often covered under your standard homeowners’ insurance policy. However, your homeowners’ policy may not insure against wind or wind-blown water damage if you live near a coast. In such circumstances, you may need to purchase a separate windstorm policy to ensure you’re fully protected against all hurricane wind and rain-related damage.
Windstorm insurance protects homeowners against certain storms, like thunderstorms, tornadoes, blizzards and hailstorms, where damage as a result of high winds exceeds a homeowner’s standard policy coverage.
Flood damage that is not a result of a windstorm or hurricane-related wind and rain. Instead, flood insurance covers water damage from ground-water surge, tidal surge, or overflowing lakes and rivers. Residential and commercial flood policies can be purchased separately from the National Flood Insurance Program.
Coverage Amounts: Hurricane and windstorm policies can be purchased as riders or endorsements to your homeowners’ insurance policy and are based on a percentage of the building’s insured value rather than a dollar amount.
“Property owners know that their homeowners’ insurance policies are critical safety nets. But, many are unaware that gaps in their coverage can leave them vulnerable to natural disasters,” said Amber Mostyn, attorney at Mostyn Law, a Texas law firm specializing in hurricane and windstorm litigation. “Education – understanding your policy coverage, risk and options – can help you prepare for catastrophic loss due to a hurricane, tornado or flood.”
State-by-State: Depending on the state, insurance companies have the latitude to decide the circumstances under which a hurricane or windstorm policy should apply. Florida is the exception, as state law determines when these policies kick in, according to the Insurance Information Institute. Conversely, the NFIP is responsible for paying all flood claims submitted through a homeowner’s insurance agent regardless of location.
Unsure if you should purchase additional hurricane, windstorm or flood coverage?