Hurricane insurance: What it covers & how much you need in 2022

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.

Pat Howard 1600

By

Pat Howard

Pat Howard

Managing Editor & Licensed Home Insurance Expert

Pat Howard is a managing editor and licensed home insurance expert at Policygenius, where he specializes in homeowners insurance. His work and expertise has been featured in MarketWatch, Real Simple, Fox Business, VentureBeat, This Old House, Investopedia, Fatherly, Lifehacker, Better Homes & Garden, Property Casualty 360, and elsewhere.

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With the 2022 hurricane season already in full swing, now is an important time to check if your house has enough financial protection to withstand what’s projected to be a busy storm season. [1]

A standard homeowners insurance policy won’t cover your home against every kind of hurricane damage. If you live in a high-risk coastal area, it’s important to understand how your home is covered in the event of a hurricane, and adjust your policy or purchase additional insurance accordingly. In this guide, we’ll walk you through how to get the right amount of hurricane insurance for your home.

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What is hurricane insurance?

While there’s no such thing as a single “hurricane insurance” policy, there are a combination of insurance policies that can protect your house against hurricane wind and water damage. If you live near the coast, you’ll want to consider the following two insurance policies — in addition to your existing home insurance policy — to ensure you have the right amount of hurricane insurance.

Flood insurance

Homeowners insurance doesn’t cover water damage caused by flooding. If you live in or near a flood zone, you’ll want to consider protecting your home with flood insurance. Flood insurance is provided by the National Flood Insurance Program, but sold through insurance providers. 

Windstorm insurance

It’s common for insurance companies in hurricane-prone areas of Texas, Florida, and other coastal states (as well as Hawaii) to exclude wind damage from home insurance policies. If that’s the case, you’ll need separate windstorm insurance to protect your home from hurricane winds. Windstorm insurance can be purchased from private companies or through state-run insurance pools, like a FAIR Plan or Beach and Windstorm Plan.

Update your hurricane coverage in advance of a storm or insurance moratorium

Don’t wait until a tropical storm hits to adjust your policies or purchase additional protection. While you can technically make changes to your policy and buy additional coverage during hurricane season, it’s common for insurance companies to impose restrictions, or moratoriums, on purchasing and updating coverage during the leadup to a tropical storm or hurricane.

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Are hurricanes covered under homeowners insurance?

Homeowners insurance generally covers hurricane wind damage, but won’t cover water damage from tropical storm surge, rainwater, or any other source of flooding. To fill in this coverage gap, you’ll need to purchase a separate flood insurance policy

“Lack of flood insurance remains the largest insurance gap we see across the country,” says Mark Friedlander, spokesman for the Insurance Information Institute. “Only about 15% of U.S. homeowners carry flood insurance, while many mistakenly think their homeowners policy includes flood coverage, which is sold separately.”

Depending on where you live and your home’s risk of hurricane damage, your insurer may exclude wind damage from your policy, or charge you a higher deductible on claims resulting from hurricane or tropical storm wind damage. 

Hurricane deductibles

In 19 Atlantic Coast states, insurance companies may require separate wind/hail, named storm, or hurricane deductibles on wind damage claims after a storm. These deductibles are displayed as a percentage (like 3% or 5%) of your home’s dwelling coverage limit, rather than a fixed dollar amount. As you may suspect, these deductibles are typically higher than your standard policy deductible.

While often used interchangeably, there are important differences in terms of how these special deductibles are triggered. 

  • Wind/hail deductible: This deductible applies to wind damage from any source of wind damage, whether a tornado, hurricane, or thunderstorm.

  • 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 the NWS or NHC reports winds of greater than 74 mph. 

Each state has its own guidelines for what can trigger a hurricane or named storm deductible. In New York, for example, insurance companies are only allowed to charge a hurricane deductible after a hurricane has officially been named by the National Weather Service. But in Texas, insurance companies can charge a wind and hail deductible for any source of wind damage — not necessarily just a hurricane or tropical storm.

If your homeowners insurance doesn’t cover wind damage, you may need to purchase a separate windstorm insurance plan.

How to get windstorm insurance

There are generally three ways to purchase windstorm coverage: as an add-on to your homeowners insurance policy; through an insurance company that specializes in wind-only coverage; or through your state’s FAIR Plan, which is a type of last-resort insurance coverage. 

If you’re currently without wind coverage, be sure to check your state’s FAIR Plan website to see if you’re eligible for coverage:

→ Learn about how to prepare for a hurricane: 9 things to do TODAY

How hurricane deductibles are calculated

Hurricane deductibles are typically anywhere between 1% and 5% of your home’s dwelling coverage, or its insured value. That means if your home is insured for $300,000 and you have a 3% hurricane deductible, you’d have to pay $9,000 toward your claim before your insurer would cover the rest of the loss. 

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 cost of home insurance is $1,899 and the average cost of flood insurance is $738, but insurance costs will likely be significantly 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. [2]

  • $3,080: The average yearly cost of homeowners insurance in Texas

  • $643: The average yearly cost of flood insurance in Texas [3]

  • $1,700: The average annual cost of a Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA) plan [4]

That amounts to $5,423 in total premiums in the hardest hit areas of Texas. Keep in mind that your own policy costs could vary greatly depending on where you live and how much coverage you need.

How to file an insurance claim after a hurricane

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. Reach out to your insurer immediately to inform them of the loss and get your claim started. At that point, they’ll 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’s safe to enter the premises, 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, 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. 

Once your insurance company accepts your claim and you agree to a settlement amount, 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 $2,643 and the average annual flood insurance rate is $550, homeowners in Florida can expect to pay over $3,000 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.

References

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Policygenius uses external sources, including government data, industry studies, and reputable news organizations to supplement proprietary marketplace data and internal expertise. Learn more about how we use and vet external sources as part of our

editorial standards.
  1. Colorado State University

    . "

    Forecast for 2022 Hurricane Activity

    ." Accessed June 03, 2022.

  2. National Association of Insurance Commissioners

    . "

    Dwelling Fire, Homeowners Owner-Occupied, and Homeowners Tenant and Condominium/Cooperative Unit Owner’s Insurance Report: Data for 2018

    ." Accessed May 03, 2021.

  3. National Flood Insurance Program

    . "

    Flood Insurance Analytics Reports and Data

    ." Accessed May 03, 2021.

  4. Texas Windstorm Insurance Association

    . "

    TWIA rates

    ." Accessed May 03, 2021.

Author

Managing Editor & Licensed Home Insurance Expert

Pat Howard

Managing Editor & Licensed Home Insurance Expert

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Pat Howard is a managing editor and licensed home insurance expert at Policygenius, where he specializes in homeowners insurance. His work and expertise has been featured in MarketWatch, Real Simple, Fox Business, VentureBeat, This Old House, Investopedia, Fatherly, Lifehacker, Better Homes & Garden, Property Casualty 360, and elsewhere.

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