There is no single insurance policy type that covers damage to your home due to a hurricane. In order to get coverage for hurricanes, you need a combination of homeowners insurance, flood insurance and, in some states, windstorm insurance.
This article includes:
- How does hurricane insurance work?
- How much does hurricane insurance cost?
- How do I get hurricane insurance?
What is hurricane insurance?
Hurricane insurance coverage is a combination of homeowners insurance and flood insurance. In states that exclude coverage for wind damage, you will also need windstorm insurance. This is because none of these three policy types alone provides all of the coverage you need to cover the damage that a hurricane can do to your home.
Home insurance and hurricane damage
Standard home insurance is limited in the coverage it provides in the event of a hurricane, but it will cover some damages. For instance, if your roof is damaged by heavy winds that are part of a hurricane, your home insurance policy should cover it.
Here’s another example: if a hurricane rips a hole in your roof and water gets in and causes damage, most home insurers consider the damage to be done by the hole, not the hurricane itself. Water damage of this type is typically covered by homeowners insurance. But if flood water seeps into your home, neither the structure nor your belongings in the house is covered by your homeowners policy.
How flood insurance covers hurricane damage to your home
Flood insurance, as the name implies, covers damage due to flooding. This includes damage caused by storm surges and rising water. FEMA defines a flood as a “general and temporary condition where two or more acres of normally dry land or two or more properties are inundated by water.”
FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) sells two separate policies for dwelling and content. For the best flood coverage for your home, you’ll want to invest in both.
After a hurricane, NFIP flood insurance should cover the following:
- Dwelling: flood insurance provides up to $250,000 in coverage to the physical structure of the home due to flooding. This also includes the foundation, HVAC equipment, and electrical and plumbing systems.
- Content: flood insurance covers up to $100,000 worth of your belongings, including clothing, furniture, electronics and appliances. Some valuables, such as art, may be covered up to a separate limit.
Windstorm insurance coverage for hurricane damage
Some states have such a high tendency for extreme wind and hurricanes, such as Florida, that they exclude wind damage from standard homeowners insurance coverage.
A separate windstorm insurance policy can cover damage to the structure of your home and its contents caused by high winds exceeding 35 miles per hour. A windstorm insurance policy may also cover detached structures, such as a garage or shed.
How much does hurricane insurance coverage cost?
Hurricanes require multiple types of insurance policies, so locking down a specific cost average for hurricane insurance nationwide is difficult. However, a realistic idea of what you might pay can be estimated by looking at the average costs of each policy type:
- Homeowners insurance: a standard home insurance policy costs an average $1,215 a year, according to our research. This price may be affected by factors such as where the house is located, its age and how many claims you’ve filed in the past.
- Flood insurance: the average cost of flood insurance is $699 a year, according to our research. This may be affected by which flood policy you buy, the location and the age of your home.
- Windstorm insurance: the cost of windstorm insurance varies from state to state and is difficult to estimate, but it can be costly. For instance, the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association puts the current average rate in the state at $1,700 a year.
- Hurricane deductible: while not a premium, a hurricane deductible is a cost you may have to contend with. Nineteen states and the District of Columbia have hurricane deductibles as part of their home insurance policies. These deductibles may be higher than your regular home insurance deductible, usually somewhere between 1% and 5% of your home’s insured value, but can be upwards of 10% in high-risk hurricane states like Florida.
How do I purchase hurricane insurance coverage?
Getting the hurricane insurance coverage you need requires you to go to different sources:
Homeowners insurance: you can get the home insurance portion of your hurricane coverage quickly and easily online. The most practical way to get the best coverage at the best price is to compare multiple quotes from different companies.
Flood insurance: the majority of flood insurance policies are sold through insurers taking part in the NFIP. If you live in a region known for floods, you should have no difficulty finding a flood insurance provider. If you do have trouble finding one, you can contact the NFIP call center.
Windstorm insurance: Windstorm insurance can be purchased either through private providers or, if available, a state-sponsored FAIR or Beach plan. Keep in mind that FAIR or Beach plans may cost more than what you would pay through a private provider, and should be considered a last resort.
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