With the 2023 hurricane season in the U.S. already well underway, the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is now predicting an "above normal" level of activity after initially predicting a "near normal" season.  The updated outlook predicts a 70% chance of 14 to 21 named storms, including 6 to 11 hurricanes, and 2 to 5 major hurricanes.
A standard homeowners insurance policy covers damage caused by wind, regardless of whether it came from a hurricane or a less severe storm. If hurricane wind damages your roof and rainwater gets in through the opening, your policy may also cover any resulting water damage to the interior of your home or personal belongings.
However, your policy's hurricane coverage does not extend to water damage from flooding regardless of whether it was caused by a tropical storm or not. In other words, if water flows into your home from the outdoors due to hurricane storm surge, heavy rainfall, or any other cause of flooding, you'll need separate flood insurance to be reimbursed for flood cleanup and repairs.
Hurricane damage and homeowners insurance
Standard home insurance comes with four coverages that protect your home and finances from covered perils, such as hurricane-related wind gusts and other types of storm damage. Most policies will help cover the cost of wind damage to the structure of your home, detached structures on your property, personal belongings inside (and outside) the home, and additional living expenses if you need to live somewhere else temporarily while your home is being repaired or rebuilt.
Dwelling coverage: Covers damage to the structure of your home, roof, built-in appliances, and more. The amount of dwelling coverage on your home should be equal to the replacement cost of your home, which is the cost to rebuild it from the ground up after a disaster and is not related to the market value of the property. If you live in a disaster-prone area, you'll also want to consider extended replacement cost or guaranteed replacement cost, which raises your coverage limits in case construction prices skyrocket in the wake of a disaster.
Other structures coverage: Covers damage to structures on your property that aren't directly attached to your home, such as a detached garage, shed, guest house, fence, and more. This coverage is generally set at 10% of your policy's dwelling coverage limit by default, but most insurers will let you access higher limits if you need.
Personal property coverage: Covers damage to your personal belongings, such as clothing, furniture, appliances, and more. This coverage is generally set at 50% of your policy's dwelling limit by default, but your insurer may let you choose up to 70% in coverage for an additional fee. To ensure your stuff is fully protected, consider insuring your belongings at their replacement cost rather than actual cash value.
Loss of use coverage: Covers your additional living expenses you incur if your home is badly damaged by a covered disaster and you need to live elsewhere, including the cost of temporary lodging, pet boarding feeds, transportation, restaurant meals, and more. This coverage is typically set at 20% to 30% of your dwelling limit, but most insurers offer higher limits for an additional cost.
Bear in mind that in areas within a mile of or in close proximity to the coast, some insurance companies may also exclude wind damage from coverage due to the heightened risk, which means homeowners in these areas often need to purchases a separate wind-only policy.
Learn more >> What does home insurance cover?
Hurricane damage and windstorm insurance
In several hurricane-prone coastal states — such as Texas, Louisiana, Florida — home insurance policies may not cover wind damage if you live within one or two miles of the Gulf or Atlantic Coast. If that’s the case, your home insurance provider may require you to purchase separate wind-only coverage to be covered from hurricane or tropical storm winds, or if this option isn't available you'll need to purchase separate windstorm insurance from a different entity.
Windstorm insurance is usually available via state-run insurance pools or FAIR Plans, such as the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA), or via an surplus lines carrier that specializes in wind-only coverage. In most cases, these policies only protect your home and belongings from the peril of wind, while home insurance covers all other causes of damage or loss. A private wind-only policy may also include additional living expenses coverage if your home is wind damaged.
Learn more >> What does windstorm insurance cover?
Hurricane damage and flood insurance
Home insurance typically doesn't cover water damage caused by flooding, but some companies offer special flood endorsements that you can add on to your homeowners insurance to ensure that flood damage is covered. If you live in an area prone to hurricanes, you may want to consider a standalone flood insurance policy with more comprehensive protection and higher limits of coverage.
With flood insurance, you're covered from the following common causes of hurricane-related flooding.
Overflow of bodies of water
This coverage is typically required by mortgage lenders if you live in a high-risk flood zones according to Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) flood maps, and policies are traditionally purchased through FEMA's National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). A standard NFIP policy comes with a maximum of $250,000 in dwelling coverage for your home and $100,000 in personal property coverage for your belongings.
Alternatively, you may want to consider private flood insurance, which has become a popular alternative to the federal government plan. Lenders are also now required to accept private flood insurance for mortgages. These policies often have higher maximum limits, more comprehensive protection for property in basements, and more coverages (like additional living expenses) compared to the NFIP policy.
According to the Insurance Information Institute, 90% of all natural disasters include some form of flooding, so homeowners in coastal states should make sure their home is well-equipped with flood insurance. 
Learn more >> How much does flood insurance cost?
How do hurricane deductibles work?
If your home is in a hurricane-prone area, your insurer may charge a separate and more expensive policy deductible for hurricane wind damage, or exclude wind coverage from your policy altogether. If you're not familiar, a deductible is the out-of-pocket amount that you’re responsible for paying on each claim before your insurer will reimburse you for the remainder of a loss. Most standard policy deductibles are a simple dollar amount, like $500 or $1,000.
But if your policy has a hurricane deductible, you’ll be required to pay that separate amount on a claim involving wind damage from hurricanes. Hurricane deductibles are typically a percentage — usually 1% to 5% but sometimes higher — of your home’s dwelling coverage amount.
Here’s an example of how it works.
Say your hurricane deductible is 3% and your home is insured for $400,000. You’ll have to pay a $12,000 deductible before your insurer will cover the remainder of your loss.
Where can I find my hurricane insurance deductible?
Your hurricane insurance deductible can be easily located on your policy’s declaration page, which is a summary of your policy coverages and premiums.
Do I need a hurricane deductible?
Insurance companies in almost every state on the Atlantic and Gulf Coast have special deductibles for hurricane damage, but depending on your insurer and the state you live in, you may have the option to pay higher premiums in exchange for a lower, fixed-price deductible.
When do hurricane deductibles kick in?
The event that triggers the hurricane deductible varies by state and insurance company, but companies typically wait for an official hurricane ruling from the National Weather Service. Otherwise known as a deductible trigger, the deciding factor could be one of the below circumstances:
The storm was defined (Category 3 or 4)
The storm was given a name (Lucy or Michael)
There was an official declared hurricane watch or warning
Which states have hurricane deductibles?
Homeowners insurance companies in every Atlantic coast state (except New Hampshire) include percentage hurricane deductibles that you can add onto your policy.
We provided a list of the 19 states (plus Washington, D.C.) where insurers can require hurricane deductibles, along with links to the associations in states that offer special form hurricane windstorm coverage for people who can’t afford it or are unable to buy it elsewhere.
Connecticut: Coastal Market Assistance Program
Delaware: Insurance Placement Facility of Delaware
Washington, D.C.: District of Columbia Property Insurance Facility
Louisiana: Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance Corp.
Maine: Not available
Maryland: Maryland Joint Underwriting Association
Massachusetts: Massachusetts Property Insurance Underwriting Association
Mississippi: Mississippi Windstorm Underwriting Association
New Jersey: New Jersey Insurance Underwriting Association
North Carolina: North Carolina Joint Underwriting Association
Pennsylvania: The Pennsylvania FAIR Plan
Rhode Island: Rhode Island Joint Reinsurance Association
South Carolina: South Carolina Wind and Hail Underwriting Association
Virginia: Virginia Property Insurance Association
Keep in mind that every state has different rules regarding when insurers can trigger hurricane deductibles. Be sure to check your state’s insurance department guidelines around when insurance companies can and cannot enforce these rules.
What’s a hurricane moratorium?
In states or counties prone to natural disasters, it's common for insurance companies to place a moratorium on new and existing policies once a tropical storm has officially been named by the National Weather Service. An insurance moratorium is a period of time before or after a hurricane or other type of natural disaster where insurers won't sell new policies or make updates to existing ones.
Most carriers dictate that once a hurricane watch or warning has been issued by the NOAA, coverage can’t be written until a certain number of hours after the watch or warning expires — usually anywhere from 24 to 78 hours — although some moratoriums can last longer.
What to do if you’re underinsured or don’t have adequate hurricane coverage
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to limit hurricane damage to your home if you’re underinsured or don’t have a policy at all. Below are some steps to take to prevent detrimental hurricane damage.
Trim branches and trees
Secure outdoor furniture or potential debris
Install storm shutters or put plywood over your windows and glass doors
Ensure garage doors are approved for wind pressure and impact
Seal any openings into your home like vents, power outlets, random holes, or pipes
Clean gutters and any direct downspouts that lead water away from your house
Learn more >> How to prepare for a hurricane