Hurricane Ian has reminded the nation how devastating a single storm can be. Current estimates suggest that the storm led to $41-$70 billion in damage, making it one of the five most costly storms of all time.
Unfortunately, it appears that as much as $17 billion of that damage is uninsured. Home and business owners without hurricane and flood insurance may have no recourse to repair or replace what they lost.
This highlights the importance of good insurance for anyone who lives where hurricanes could occur. Here’s what you need to know about hurricane insurance, what it covers, and how to ensure your insurer honors your claims and pays them in full.
What Is Hurricane Insurance?
Broadly, hurricane insurance is coverage by a home insurance policy for the types of damage most common from hurricanes. In coastal states like Texas and Florida, this coverage is critical. Homeowners near the Atlantic and Gulf coasts are regularly at risk of significant property damage from tropical storms and hurricanes. The right coverage can help them recover after a storm.
Hurricane coverage usually covers damage done by wsind, hail, and blown debris, not flooding. Wind damage includes issues like:
- Loose shingles
- Broken windows
- Damaged roofs
- Trees landing on structures
- Broken doors and doorframes
- Blown-over structures
If the wind damage leads to additional issues, such as a damaged roof causing rain to leak into your home, that’s usually covered as well. What isn’t covered is the damage caused by storm surges or dramatic rainfall, such as damage to your foundation or siding.
For that reason, getting both wind and flood coverage is in your best interest. This gives you broad protection against all forms of damage these storms can cause. If you’ve suffered both flooding and wind damage, you should consult with an experienced attorney to make sure your claim is filed successfully, and you receive appropriate compensation for the losses you’ve suffered.
What Florida and Texas Laws Say About Hurricane Insurance
States hit by tropical storms typically have laws specifying what hurricane insurance must cover. Each state has different regulations regarding this insurance, so you must understand your policy and local laws.
Florida Hurricane Insurance
Florida has suffered six of the ten worst hurricanes of all time. It should come as no surprise the state has implemented laws defining how storm coverage should work.
For instance, the state requires all insurers to provide hurricane deductibles as part of their coverage. In Florida, these deductibles are typically $500, 2%, 5%, or 10% of your home’s value. If you have hurricane coverage in this state, you only have to pay the amount of the deductible toward repairs for covered damage each storm season, no matter how much needs repair or how many storms hit you.
There are restrictions on what this insurance covers, though. These deductibles only apply to damage done by storms that have been declared hurricanes by the National Weather Service. They cover damage done by these storms from the moment a hurricane watch or warning is declared in any part of Florida until 72 hours after the alert ends. They do not cover other forms of wind damage, including any done by tropical storms, tornados, or other non-hurricane storms.
This strict limit can make filing a successful home insurance claim difficult. You can work with expert hurricane insurance attorneys to ensure your claim is filed correctly the first time and get your home repaired from wind damage as quickly as possible.
Texas Hurricane Deductibles
Texas also has mandatory hurricane deductibles. Under state law, if an insurer provides windstorm coverage, they must include a separate deductible specifically for this damage. Texas does not have specific rules for these deductible amounts, but they tend to be between 1%-5% of the property’s overall value. Homeowners who want this coverage will need to request it specifically from their insurer or work with the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA) to get coverage if their provider doesn’t offer it.
Texas’s windstorm deductible law is less restrictive than Florida’s. If a homeowner has windstorm coverage, the deductible covers damage done by all wind loss, including tornados, straight-line winds, and unnamed tropical storms.
When Do You Need Hurricane Coverage?
If you have a mortgage, HELOC, or other loans that use your home as collateral, your lender may require you to have this coverage to protect your property. As long as the loan is open, the lender is interested in keeping it in good condition, and insurance is an excellent way to make that happen.
If you own your home outright, you’re not legally required to get windstorm coverage in Florida or Texas. However, good insurance is never a bad idea. Your home is one of your biggest investments, and insuring it prevents a single storm from wiping out the time and money you’ve put into maintaining it. If you live within 50 miles of the Atlantic or Gulf coasts, it’s a good idea to have windstorm protection.
You should consider flood insurance, too. Once hurricanes travel inland, most of the damage they cause comes from storm surges and flooding. Storm surges can travel dozens of miles inland, and rain can dump more than a foot of water a hundred miles away from the coast. Even a severe surge will be water under the bridge with good flood coverage.
How to Make Sure You Receive the Hurricane Insurance Coverage You Need
The best way to make sure you have the coverage you need is to consult an experienced insurance attorney. You can talk to the expert lawyers at the Professional Law Group to learn more about your current policies, what’s covered, and what isn’t. We are also prepared to help if your property has already been damaged by Hurricane Ian or another storm. We will file your claim and work with the insurer to ensure your losses are covered according to your policy. Whether you’re preparing for a future storm or recovering from a previous one, the Professional Law Group will support you through the process. Schedule your free case review today to learn more.