Do I Need Hurricane Insurance Where I Live?
SmartFinancial Offers Unbiased, Fact-based Information. Our fact-checked articles are intended to educate insurance shoppers so they can make the right buying decisions. Learn More
You should be able to insure your home and belongings against hurricane damage by purchasing a standard homeowners insurance policy plus flood insurance, although you may also need separate windstorm insurance if you live in a high-risk area that is especially prone to wind damage.
Read on for a detailed overview of hurricane insurance including how much coverage costs and when special deductibles may apply to your claims.
What Is Hurricane Insurance for Homeowners?
There is not a specific coverage type known as hurricane insurance that you need to add as an endorsement to your homeowners insurance policy. Instead, there are a handful of coverage types you can purchase to insure your home and belongings against the most common ways they could be damaged if a hurricane were to touch down in your area.
What Type of Insurance Policies Cover Hurricane-Related Damage?
Even without any hurricane-specific add-ons, a standard homeowners insurance policy should automatically come with coverage for many types of hurricane damage in most parts of the United States. For example, wind and falling objects like tree branches are among the named perils that your personal property should be specifically insured against.
Meanwhile, the physical structure of your home should be insured against any peril that isn’t explicitly excluded by the policy, which means your dwelling insurance usually covers every peril covered by your personal property insurance and more. In addition, your loss of use coverage should kick in to help you pay for additional living expenses if wind or a wind-blown object leaves your home temporarily uninhabitable.
Depending on where you live, you may have to buy a separate windstorm insurance policy to insure your home and belongings against wind damage. While wind coverage is usually included in a standard home insurance policy, insurers can choose to exclude coverage for wind and hail in regions that are especially prone to damage from these perils such as the Texas Gulf Coast.
Standard homeowners insurance policies don’t cover damage caused by flooding from sources outside of your home such as heavy rains, high tides and overflowing rivers, which means you will need to buy a separate flood insurance policy to insure your home and belongings against floodwaters created by a hurricane.
You may be able to buy coverage through either a private insurance company or the federal government’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Keep in mind that NFIP policies do not include additional living expense (ALE) coverage but private policies may come with ALE coverage.
Is Hurricane Insurance Required Where I Live?
You aren’t required by law to purchase homeowners insurance but your mortgage lender or homeowners association may require you to do so. Similarly, you aren’t legally required to buy windstorm insurance but it may be required by your lender if you live in a high-risk area.
Conversely, you may be required by law to buy flood insurance in certain situations like if you live in a high-risk flood zone and have a government-backed mortgage. In addition, if you live in a high-risk flood zone and have received federal disaster aid in the past, you must buy flood insurance to qualify for additional federal disaster aid in the future. Of course, your lender could require you to buy flood insurance as well even if you don’t live in a high-risk flood zone.
How Much Does Hurricane Insurance Cost?
How much you have to pay for hurricane coverage will depend on your combined premiums for home insurance, flood insurance and, if applicable, windstorm insurance. The average cost of a basic HO-3 home insurance policy throughout the nation was $1,311 per year in 2020. Meanwhile, the average price of flood insurance through the NFIP for single-family homes across every American state, district and territory is $888 per year as of 2023.
The cost of windstorm insurance can depend on factors like your location, your insurance history, the details of your policy and the condition of your home. For example, Texas’ insurer of last resort, the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association, charges around $2,000 per year for wind and hail coverage as of 2023 but you may find cheaper policies through traditional insurance carriers.
How Much Does Hurricane Insurance Cost in Florida?
Florida is the most hurricane-prone state in the country, so it’s especially important for Florida homeowners to secure adequate and affordable hurricane insurance coverage. HO-3 insurance policies in Florida cost $2,165 per year on average in 2020, while NFIP policies in Florida cost $958 per year on average as of 2023.
State law generally requires residential property insurance policies to include coverage for windstorm damage unless the policyholder expressly requests for their policy to exclude wind coverage.
Are There States Where Hurricane Deductibles Apply?
If you live in the District of Columbia or one of the following 19 states, you may have to pay a separate deductible on claims related to hurricane damage:
- New Jersey
- New York
- North Carolina
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
In Florida, you generally only pay one hurricane deductible per year rather than one per claim. If you file multiple hurricane claims in a year, the later claims will only require a standard deductible or the rest of your hurricane deductible if your first claim did not exceed it.
As a result, Florida homeowners should always file claims for hurricane damage even if the cost of repairs or replacements wouldn’t be higher than their hurricane deductible so their insurer can track how much of the deductible remains for the year.
How Are Hurricane Deductibles Calculated?
A hurricane deductible is usually set at a percentage of your dwelling coverage limit, although it can be a flat amount depending on your state. For example, Florida homeowners can choose a flat $500 hurricane deductible or select a percentage deductible set at 2%, 5% or 10% of their dwelling coverage limit. So, if you live in Florida and have $250,000 worth of dwelling coverage, your options when picking a hurricane deductible should be $500, $5,000, $12,500 and $25,000.
How To File a Hurricane-Related Homeowners Insurance Claim
After a hurricane causes major damage to your house or possessions, you can take these steps to file a homeowners insurance claim:
- Contact your insurance provider to begin the claims process and set an appointment for an adjuster to come to your house and inspect the damage.
- Document the damage to your property by capturing pictures or videos.
- Prevent additional damage by making emergency repairs such as covering broken windows if needed.
- If you are still paying off your mortgage, inform your lender about the claim since your insurance check may be made out to both you and your lender.
- Gather all of the evidence that supports your claim and present this evidence during the insurance adjuster’s visit.
- Save receipts, contracts and other relevant documents and keep track of your claim’s progress so you can address any issues that arise promptly.
- Upon receiving the insurance settlement, use the funds to make repairs or buy new items as necessary.