Guide to hurricane insurance cost, coverage, and claims

There is no such thing as a “hurricane insurance” policy, but by combining homeowners insurance, flood insurance, and windstorm coverage, you can fully protect your home from hurricane damage.

Your home isn’t just your source of comfort and security — it’s likely your most valuable asset as well. With hurricane season quickly approaching, be sure to check your home’s insurance coverage to ensure it’s fully protected against the different kinds of hurricane damage. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the different types of hurricane insurance for your home and belongings.

Key Takeaways

  • Homeowners insurance typically covers damage caused by catastrophic hurricane winds, but won’t cover flood damage from storm surge

  • To cover your home and belongings from hurricane storm surge, you’ll need a separate flood insurance policy

  • It’s common for insurance companies in hurricane-prone areas of Texas, Florida, and other coastal states to exclude wind damage from home insurance policies. If that’s the case, you’ll need separate windstorm insurance

  • Insurance companies in 19 coastal states can require separate windstorm, named storm, or hurricane deductibles before paying out for hurricane-related claims

What is hurricane insurance?

For starters, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all “hurricane insurance” policy, but rather a combination of insurance policies that cover your home against hurricane wind damage and storm surge. If you live in a hurricane-prone area, you’ll likely need at least two of the following insurance policies to protect your home — potentially all three. 

  • Homeowners insurance - A staple of just about every home, homeowners insurance covers hurricane wind damage unless wind is specifically excluded from your policy. If wind damage is covered by your policy, it’s possible that your insurer will require a hurricane or named storm deductible that is separate from your normal policy deductible

  • Flood insurance - Homeowners insurance doesn’t cover water damage from flooding, so you’ll need flood insurance to protect your home and belongings from hurricane storm surge. Flood insurance is provided by the federal government’s National Flood Insurance Program if you live in a participating community

  • Windstorm insurance - If wind is excluded from your homeowners insurance, you’ll need separate windstorm insurance to cover property damage from hurricane winds. Windstorm insurance can be purchased from private companies or through state-run insurance pools, also known as Beach and Windstorm Plans

Be sure to check your insurance coverage well in advance of hurricane season, which runs June through November and peaks in September. Although you can technically make changes to your policy and buy additional coverage during those months, it’s common for insurance companies to impose restrictions, or moratoriums, on purchasing and updating coverage during the lead-up to a hurricane.

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What does hurricane insurance cover?

With the combination of homeowners insurance, supplemental windstorm insurance, and flood insurance, you’re fully protected in the event of hurricane damage to your home. If a tropical storm causes extensive damage to your home, your coverage may also pay out for the costs of temporary housing and restaurant meals while your home is being repaired.

Hurricane damage caused by wind 

Wind is technically a covered peril in a standard home insurance policy. However, it’s common for policies in particularly high-risk areas on the East Coast and Gulf of Mexico to have exclusions for wind-related damage. If that’s the case, you’ll need to purchase separate windstorm coverage. 

Hurricane damage caused by flooding

With flood insurance, your home is covered against storm surge after a hurricane makes landfall. Flood insurance is typically purchased through the federal government, but private flood insurance is becoming an increasingly popular option due to its higher coverage limits and reportedly cheaper rates

Additional living expenses while your home is being repaired

If your home is severely damaged by hurricane winds or another covered loss, homeowners insurance may help cover the cost of hotel stays, eating out, and other reasonable expenses while your home is being repaired or rebuilt. 

How much is hurricane insurance?

The cost of hurricane coverage will depend on where you live and how many different types of insurance policies you have on your home. The average annual homeowners insurance rate is $1,249, and the average annual flood insurance rate is $707 , but insurance costs will likely be way higher for residents who need to purchase homeowners insurance, supplemental windstorm insurance, and flood insurance for their homes. 

Here’s how much you could expect to pay for hurricane coverage if you live in a high-risk coastal area in Texas, for example.  [130]

  • $1,955 - The average annual homeowners insurance rate in Texas

  • $581.11 - The average annual flood insurance rate in Texas [131]

  • $1,700 - The average annual Texas Windstorm Insurance Association premium [132]

That amounts to $4,236.11 in potential premiums in the hardest hit areas of Texas. Keep in mind that your own policy costs could vary greatly depending on your home’s location and the breadth of coverage in each policy.

How do hurricane deductibles work?

In 19 Atlantic Coast states, insurance companies may require separate windstorm, named storm, or hurricane deductibles — represented as a percentage rather than a specific dollar amount — to offset the high cost of claims in hurricane-prone areas. Although they’re often used interchangeably, there are important differences in terms of how these special deductibles are triggered. 

  • Windstorm deductible - Also known as a wind/hail deductible, this deductible applies to wind damage from any source, whether a tornado, hurricane, or a basic windstorm

  • Named storm deductible - A named storm deductible is triggered when a tropical storm is officially named by the National Weather Service (NWS) or National Hurricane Center (NHC). Depending on the state, this deductible can also be triggered if either entity reports wind speeds of greater than 39 mph. Damage from ordinary windstorms or tornadoes cannot trigger this deductible

  • Hurricane deductible - A hurricane deductible is triggered when NWS or NHC reports winds of greater than 74 mph 

The 19 states where insurance companies can charge special deductibles for hurricane damage are:

  • Alabama

  • Connecticut

  • Delaware

  • Florida

  • Georgia

  • Hawaii

  • Louisiana

  • Maine

  • Maryland

  • Massachusetts

  • Mississippi

  • New Jersey

  • New York

  • North Carolina

  • Pennsylvania

  • Rhode Island

  • South Carolina

  • Texas

  • Virginia

These deductibles are typically anywhere between 1% and 5% of your property’s insured value. That means if your home is insured for $300,000 and you have a 3% hurricane deductible , you’d pay out $9,000 (300,000 x 0.03) before your insurer will cover the remainder of a hurricane-related loss. In some states, you may also have the option of leaving the hurricane deductible off of your policy, in which case your normal all-perils deductible would apply. Just bear in mind that your insurance premiums could be far higher if you go with this option.

Each state has its own guidelines for what can trigger a hurricane or named storm deductible. In New York, for example, hurricane deductibles are triggered only after a hurricane is officially designated by the National Weather Service or National Hurricane Center (NHC). In Louisiana, wind and hail deductibles can be triggered from any source of wind, named storm deductibles are triggered when the NHC reports wind strength of 39 mph, and hurricane deductibles are activated when the NHC reports wind strength of 74 mph.

Do I need windstorm insurance?

If you live in a hurricane-prone coastal community in Texas, Louisiana, Florida, or another high-risk state, it’s possible that wind damage will be excluded from your homeowners insurance policy. If that’s the case, you’ll need windstorm insurance to cover not just hurricane-related wind damage, but any type of wind damage to your home. 

There are generally three ways to purchase windstorm coverage: as an add-on to your homeowners insurance policy, as a standalone policy through an insurer that specializes in wind-only policies, or through a state-administered insurance pool. 

If you’re unable to find wind coverage on the private market, look into Beach and Windstorm Plans with your state’s insurance department:

StateDoes the state offer wind coverage?
AlabamaYes
ConnecticutYes (but only if you have not been able to find private coverage)
DelawareYes (via a FAIR Plan if you have not been able to find private coverage)
District of ColumbiaYes (via a FAIR Plan if you have not been able to find private coverage)
FloridaYes (but only if you can't find private coverage or policy premiums are >15% higher than the state plan)
GeorgiaYes (via a FAIR Plan if you have not been able to find private coverage)
HawaiiNo
LouisianaYes (via a FAIR Plan if you have not been able to find private coverage)
MaineNo
MarylandYes (via a FAIR Plan if you have not been able to find private coverage)
MassachusettsYes (via a FAIR Plan if you have not been able to find private coverage)
MississippiYes (in George, Hancock, Harrison, Jackson, Pearl River, and Stone Counties; FAIR Plan for rest of the state)
New JerseyYes (via a FAIR Plan if you have not been able to find private coverage)
New YorkYes (via C-MAP for south shore of Long Island, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, and parts of the Bronx/Westerchester; FAIR Plan for rest of the state)
North CarolinaYes (in 18 eligible counties; FAIR Plan for rest of the state)
PennsylvaniaYes (via a FAIR Plan if you have not been able to find private coverage)
Rhode IslandYes (but only if you have not been able to find private coverage)
South CarolinaYes (but only if you have not been able to find private coverage; only operates in certain communities)
TexasYes (TWIA for 14 counties; FAIR Plan for rest of state)
VirginiaYes (via a FAIR Plan if you have not been able to find private coverage)

How do you file a hurricane insurance claim?

Whether your home is damaged by hurricane winds or storm surge or both, you’ll want to take the following steps before filing a home or flood insurance claim

  1. Contact your insurance company - Once it is confirmed that your home was damaged in a hurricane event, be sure to contact your insurance company right away to inform them of the loss. At that point, they will likely inform you if the damage is covered, how long you have to file a claim, and any additional next steps to ensure a speedy claim settlement.

  2. Document the damage - After the storm has passed and it is safe to enter the premises, make sure to document the damage to your home and belongings with photos and videos before attempting to clean up or make temporary repairs.

  3. Fill out claim forms - After a hurricane, it’s especially important to file your claim in an efficient and timely manner. Keep in mind that insurance companies are likely overloaded with claims after natural disasters, so the sooner you fill out your claim forms, the better. 

  4. Document additional living expenses - If you had to flee your home due to extensive structural damage, be sure to hold onto hotel and restaurant receipts. Your policy’s loss of use coverage will likely reimburse you for these expenses, but you’ll need to provide proof.

  5. Prepare for the adjuster - Expensive hurricane-related claims will likely require a visit from an insurance adjuster, who will assess the damage and confirm details about the claim before reimbursement can proceed. This part of the claims process will likely involve an inspection of the home and an interview with the policyholder. 

If all goes well, you’ll receive a payout and be one step closer to getting your home (and life) back to normal.

Frequently asked questions

Is there such a thing as hurricane insurance?

No. There is no single coverage that will cover every type of damage from hurricanes. Hurricane insurance refers to a combination of the different policies that you can purchase to protect your home and belongings from hurricane damage, including homeowners insurance, flood insurance, and windstorm insurance.

How much is hurricane insurance in Florida?

Considering that the average annual cost of homeowners insurance is $1,960 and the average annual flood insurance rate is $550, homeowners in Florida can expect to pay as much as $2,500 annually to protect their homes against hurricane damage.

Who pays for hurricane damage?

This will depend on the type of hurricane damage to your home. If hurricane winds ripped shingles off of your roof, your home or windstorm policy would reimburse you for those damages. If your house is flooded due to hurricane storm surge, your flood insurance would reimburse you for any water damage to your home.

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