Florida windstorm insurance coverage protects Florida homeowners from damage caused by hurricanes and other storms.

Although Florida home insurance policies usually cover windstorm damage, this isn’t always true for Floridians who live on or near the coast. Florida residents who live in high-risk “wind pool” areas of the state may need to buy separate wind insurance coverage to protect their properties.

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What is windstorm insurance?

Windstorm insurance covers damage to your home, property and belongings caused by high wind events like hurricanes, tropical storms and tornadoes.

While homeowners insurance and similar policies typically cover wind damage, insurance providers in states like Florida, where heavy wind is a common cause of property damage, may sell windstorm insurance separately from standard home insurance coverage.

Sometimes windstorm insurance is referred to as "hurricane insurance." This isn't a wholly accurate term, as windstorm insurance does not cover all the damage a hurricane can cause. To get comprehensive insurance coverage for hurricane damage, you’ll usually need a combination of homeowners, wind and flood insurance.

Is wind insurance required in Florida?

Windstorm insurance isn’t required by Florida law. If you have a mortgage on a home in Florida, though, your lender may require wind insurance. This is especially likely if you live on or near the coast.

You may want to buy wind insurance coverage even if you own your home or if your mortgage lender doesn’t require it, though. Heavy wind — whether from hurricanes, tornadoes or other storms causes a lot of damage to Florida homes every year. If you don’t have windstorm coverage, you might need to pay for, say, roof repairs out of your own pocket after a windstorm.

How much is wind insurance?

The cost of wind insurance in Florida varies depending on several factors, including your home’s value, how your home was built, where you live and where you buy your policy. The type of policy you buy and the deductible you choose determine how much you pay for windstorm insurance, too.

Because of this, you might pay $800 a year for windstorm insurance that covers a $250,000 house in Tallahassee, whereas wind insurance coverage for a house of the same value in Panama City could cost twice that or more.

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Where to get windstorm insurance in Florida

Many home insurance providers in Florida also sell windstorm coverage. According to Weiss Ratings, a company that specializes in insurance companies ratings and analysis, the best windstorm insurance companies in Florida include:

  • AAA
  • Amica
  • Auto-Owners
  • Cincinnati Insurance
  • Southern Fidelity
  • USAA

Another option for Floridians who need wind insurance coverage is Citizens Property Insurance Corporation (CPIC). The state of Florida set up Citizens to insure new homeowners in high-risk areas who are unable to buy windstorm insurance through private providers. You can get a windstorm insurance policy through Citizens if you can’t find equal coverage from a private insurance company, or if the windstorm insurance premiums private insurers offer you are more than 15% of what Citizens offers.

Keep in mind that you’ll probably pay more for windstorm insurance coverage if you buy it from Citizens than you would if you bought it elsewhere. As such, shop around and compare quotes from several other insurance providers before trying Citizens.

How to save on windstorm insurance in Florida

You may receive a discount from your insurance provider and save money on windstorm insurance coverage if you add wind mitigation features to your home.

State law requires insurance companies to offer discounted windstorm insurance rates to Florida residents who buy homes with wind mitigation features or who install these same features on homes they already own.

To qualify for wind mitigation credits or discounts, a certified inspector must make sure certain wind resistant features are installed, such as:

  • Impact-resistant doors
  • Storm shutters
  • Roof truss clips
  • Hurricane straps

Florida owners of single-family homes with an insured value of $500,000 or less and a homestead exemption are eligible for credits toward a free inspection. Mobile, manufactured and second homes are not eligible for free inspections.

If you don't qualify for a free inspection, consider paying out of your own pocket to have one done. The cost of the inspection should still be lower than the wind mitigation discounts you might receive after it's completed.

Ask your windstorm mitigation inspector if there are any other steps you can take to further reduce the risk of wind damage to your house. If you make these renovations, you could get even more discounts.

How to protect your home from wind damage

Some of the steps you take to earn a wind insurance discount also protect your home from wind damage, like installing wind-resistant doors and storm shutters.

A few other ways you can protect your home from windstorm damage in Florida include:

  • Trim the trees on your property (especially any that are near your home)
  • Make sure your doors and windows are properly sealed
  • Clean out your gutters

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