State-by-state guide to hurricane deductibles

If you live in a hurricane-prone area, your homeowners insurance policy may have a separate hurricane deductible. Find out what hurricane deductibles are and how they’re applied in each state.

Pat Howard 1600

Pat Howard

Published June 4, 2020

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Insurance policies include deductibles that apply exclusively to hurricane damage in 19 Atlantic and Gulf coast states

  • Hurricane deductibles are usually far more expensive than standard policy deductibles

  • The event that triggers this deductible varies by state and insurance company

In just about every Atlantic and Gulf coast state, homeowners insurance policies include a standard dollar amount deductible and a hurricane deductible that applies to property damage from hurricanes and nothing else. Your hurricane deductible is normally listed as a percentage, usually 1–5%, of your property’s insurance value.

Your hurricane deductible kicks in once the criteria have been met for the insurance company to trigger it. Triggers vary by state and insurance company, and the specifics of how your hurricane deductible works will be explained in your policy. Common triggers include when a hurricane watch or warning is declared, when the National Weather Service “names” a tropical storm, and when winds reach a certain velocity, like 74 miles per hour.

In most cases, your hurricane deductible will be significantly more expensive than your regular dollar amount deductible. For example, if your home is insured for $300,000 and you have a 2% deductible, you’ll pay $6,000 out of pocket before you’re reimbursed for hurricane damage to your home. A higher hurricane deductible like 5% could lower your overall policy cost significantly, but it may be too expensive to pay when you file a hurricane damage claim.

How your hurricane deductible works

Like your auto or standard homeowners insurance deductible, a hurricane deductible is the amount you pay out of pocket before your insurance will cover a claim. If your policy has a hurricane deductible and you file a claim for hurricane-related wind or hail damage, you’ll have to pay it before your insurer covers the remainder of the loss. Hurricane deductibles may be applied annually, so you only pay it once per calendar year, or on a storm-by-storm basis — again this will vary by state and insurer.

It’s important to note that this deductible doesn’t apply to all types of hurricane damage. Even with a hurricane deductible, homeowners insurance won’t cover the flooding that happens after the storm — you’ll need flood insurance for that.

How are hurricane deductibles calculated?

In high-risk tropical storm areas, insurance companies may only give you percentage options when choosing this deductible — in most cases, you can choose anywhere between a 1% and 5% deductible, however, 10% options are also common. Some insurers will also let you choose a high flat dollar amount like $10,000 or $25,000 rather than a percentage.

When calculating the amount you pay on a hurricane-related claim, insurers multiply your deductible percentage by the insured value of the property (your dwelling coverage limit). Take the following claim example:

  • Your home with $200,000 in coverage incurs $120,000 in property damage
  • Your hurricane deductible is 5%
  • You’d pay $10,000 (200,000 x 0.05)
  • Your insurance company would pay $110,000 (120,000 – 10,000)

It's possible that your insurance company will give you the option of leaving the hurricane deductible off of your policy, meaning your all-perils or wind/hail deductible would apply instead. If you go with this option, your homeowners insurance premiums could be far higher than if you simply chose a high percentage hurricane deductible.

Your insurer may also give you the option of omitting hurricane coverage from your policy altogether. Doing so could reduce your rate significantly, but keep in mind that your home won’t be protected from hurricane-related damage if you choose this option. If you live, say, more than 100 miles from the coast, your home is decently secure, and you don’t foresee your property incurring tropical storm loss, having a hurricane exclusion in your policy could make sense.

When does your hurricane deductible kick in?

One of the more confusing parts about hurricane deductibles is understanding when they apply and when you just pay your other perils deductible. Triggers vary by state and carrier, but you can expect hurricane deductibles to be activated as a result of any of the following:

  • The National Weather Service or National Hurricane Center officially name a tropical storm (like Arthur or Sandy)
  • A hurricane watch or warning is declared by the National Weather Service or National Hurricane Center
  • Hurricane wind speeds reach a certain mile per hour according to the National Weather Service

Hurricane deductible triggers also include a timing element. For example, the activation period could last 12 hours before the National Weather Service issued a warning for any part of the state or until 24 hours after the last time the storm had hurricane-force winds greater than 74 mph.

If your home insurance has a hurricane deductible, be sure to check the fine print of your policy so you know when it kicks in and when it doesn’t. If you don’t have access to the policy itself, talk to your insurance agent.

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Hurricane deductibles by state

State insurance departments in every Atlantic and Gulf coast state except New Hampshire give insurance companies permission to apply a separate hurricane damage deductible to policies. Hurricane deductibles are a relatively recent thing, becoming common in the 90s after Hurricane Andrew and continuing into today. The reasoning for these separate deductibles is to transfer some of the risk from the insurance company to the policyholder so that insurers aren’t left paying more than they can afford after a catastrophe.

Just because you live in a hurricane deductible state doesn’t mean that insurance companies everywhere will require them. In New York, for example, you might not have a hurricane or wind deductible if your home isn’t in the New York City area or a county or ZIP code bordering the Atlantic coast.

It’s also worth noting that some states allow insurance companies to have separate wind and named storm deductibles, in addition to or in place of a hurricane deductible.

  • Wind deductibles can be triggered by any type of wind loss, including tornados, named storms and hurricanes
  • Named storm deductibles are becoming more common as they’re easier for companies to apply than a hurricane deductible. These deductibles are often triggered once the National Weather Service or National Hurricane Center names a tropical storm but it isn’t yet a declared hurricane

Here are the hurricane deductible laws in each state:

Alabama

Is there a hurricane deductible? Yes
What is the law for triggering hurricane deductibles? Insurance companies’ discretion
State insurance department website: Alabama Department of Insurance

Connecticut

Is there a hurricane deductible? Yes
What is the law for triggering hurricane deductibles? When the National Weather Service declares a hurricane with winds of 74 mph or more for anywhere in the state. It lasts until 24 hours after the termination of the last hurricane warning issued by the NWS, or 24 hours after the hurricane is downgraded
State insurance department website: Connecticut Insurance Department

Delaware

Is there a hurricane deductible? Yes
What is the law for triggering hurricane deductibles? Insurance companies must include clear and prominent information about when the deductible is triggered
State insurance department website: Delaware Insurance Department

District of Columbia

Is there a hurricane deductible? Yes
What is the law for triggering hurricane deductibles? Hurricane-force winds or the National Hurricane Center designating the storm a hurricane in the District of Columbia
State insurance department website: District of Columbia Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking

Florida

Is there a hurricane deductible? Yes
What is the law for triggering hurricane deductibles? From the time a hurricane watch or warning is declared for any part of the state, until 72 hours after the watch or warning ends and hurricane “conditions” exist in the state
State insurance department website: Florida Office of Insurance Regulation

Georgia

Is there a hurricane deductible? Yes
What is the law for triggering hurricane deductibles? Insurance companies’ discretion
State insurance department website: Georgia Department of Insurance

Louisiana

Is there a hurricane deductible? Yes
What is the law for triggering hurricane deductibles? Wind and hail deductibles are triggered from any source, be it hurricanes, tornadoes, or other storms. Named storm deductibles are triggered when the National Hurricane Center reports a storm with wind strength of 39 mph. Hurricane deductibles are activated when the NHC reports wind strength of 74 mph
State insurance department website: Louisiana Department of Insurance

Maine

Is there a hurricane deductible? Yes
What is the law for triggering hurricane deductibles? Can only be applied when the National Weather Service issues a hurricane warning for a forecast zone that includes the municipality where your home is located. Ends 24 hours after the NWS terminates the last hurricane warning for that forecast zone
State insurance department website: Maine Bureau of Insurance

Maryland

Is there a hurricane deductible? Yes
What is the law for triggering hurricane deductibles? If there is a hurricane warning in any part of the state
State insurance department website: Maryland Insurance Administration

Massachusetts

Is there a hurricane deductible? Yes
What is the law for triggering hurricane deductibles? Insurance companies’ discretion
State insurance department website: Massachusetts Division of Insurance

Mississippi

Is there a hurricane deductible? Yes
What is the law for triggering hurricane deductibles? If a named storm or hurricane watch or warning is issued anywhere in the state by the National Hurricane Center or the National Weather Service. Ends 24 hours after the last named storm or hurricane watch or warning is terminated
State insurance department website: Mississippi Department of Insurance

New Jersey

Is there a hurricane deductible? Yes
What is the law for triggering hurricane deductibles? If a storm is designated a hurricane by the National Weather Service but only when winds have been measured at 74 mph anywhere in the state. The duration of the hurricane deductible period is 12 hours prior to first time winds of 74 mph or greater are measured by the NWS and ending 12 hours after the last time hurricane force winds of 74 mph or greater are measured by the NWS
State insurance department website: New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance

New York

Is there a hurricane deductible? Yes
What is the law for triggering hurricane deductibles? Hurricane has to be designated by the National Weather Service or the National Hurricane Center
State insurance department website: New York State Department of Financial Services

North Carolina

Is there a hurricane deductible? Yes
What is the law for triggering hurricane deductibles? Beginning at the time an advisory, watch or warning for a named storm is issued or declared for any part of the state by the National Weather Service, and ending 24 hours following: the termination of the last named storm watch or warning for any part of the state; or the issuance of the last advisory for a named storm for any part of the state by the NWS, whichever is later
State insurance department website: North Carolina Department of Insurance

Pennsylvania

Is there a hurricane deductible? Yes
What is the law for triggering hurricane deductibles? Insurance companies’ discretion
State insurance department website: Pennsylvania Insurance Department

Rhode Island

Is there a hurricane deductible? Yes
What is the law for triggering hurricane deductibles? Varies for different regions of the state, but hurricane deductibles are typically applied when a warning is issued or hurricane- force winds are recorded by the National Weather Service
State insurance department website: Rhode Island Department of Business Regulations

South Carolina

Is there a hurricane deductible? Yes
What is the law for triggering hurricane deductibles? Insurance companies are required to include a clear explanation of the event that triggers a wind, named storm, or hurricane deductible
State insurance department website: South Carolina Department of Insurance

Texas

Is there a hurricane deductible? Yes
What is the law for triggering hurricane deductibles? Under Texas law, there is a single windstorm deductible that applies to all types of wind loss, whether from a tornado, named storm, hurricane, or other storm
State insurance department website: Texas Department of Insurance

Virginia

Is there a hurricane deductible? Yes
What is the law for triggering hurricane deductibles? Insurance companies’ discretion
State insurance department website: Virginia Bureau of Insurance

Insurance Expert

Pat Howard

Insurance Expert

Pat Howard is an Insurance Editor at Policygenius in New York City, specializing in homeowners insurance. He has been featured on Property Casualty 360, MSN, and more. Pat has a B.A. in journalism from Michigan State University.

Policygenius’ editorial content is not written by an insurance agent. It’s intended for informational purposes and should not be considered legal or financial advice. Consult a professional to learn what financial products are right for you.

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