Does My Insurance Cover Flood Damage Caused By Hurricanes?
While there is no specific hurricane insurance that you can purchase, homeowners insurance can help you to cover damage caused by hurricanes. However, this insurance policy will only be able to cover certain kinds of damage, and flood damage is almost never included. As such, it means that if you want to flood damage caused by a hurricane, you will need a separate flood insurance policy.
Depending on where you live, your mortgage may require you to have a flood insurance policy. If your mortgage doesn’t require flood insurance, you may think it isn’t necessary. This is especially true for those that live in lower-risk sections of the state. However, it is a good idea to have some type of flood coverage just in case.
While it is possible to get up to $250,000 in coverage through FEMA’s Flood Insurance Program, it is often better to consider working with a private flood insurance company. The insurance you can get through FEMA won’t cover landscaping or damage to an outside deck. While annoying, it is the next point that makes FEMA’s insurance policy more than a little lackluster.
FEMA’s insurance typically doesn’t cover basement flooding or damage to belongings stored in a basement. Unfortunately, if your house is going to flood, then it will start in the basement. As such, you are going to want to have some kind of flood insurance that includes your basement.
You may think it is best to wait until a hurricane is on its way before getting flood insurance in order to save a dollar. However, this is never a good idea because it takes time to get your insurance set up. If you wait until a storm is announced, you will almost certainly fail to get your insurance policy up and running in time to matter.
What Hurricane Damage Does Homeowners Insurance Cover?
While we cannot say what your homeowner’s insurance covers specifically, since we don’t have access to your policy, it is possible to examine what is typically covered. If you aren’t sure whether you have coverage for one of the following kinds of damage, refer to the terms of your insurance policy or have your attorney review it for you.
When we talk about hurricane damage, it is essential to note that your insurance policy almost certainly doesn’t mention hurricanes specifically. Instead, it is more likely that there are clauses covering certain types of damage, like wind damage or water damage. To determine if you have coverage for hurricane damage, you must first identify the source of the damage and then check if your policy covers it.
Typical kinds of hurricane damage includes:
- Wind: Wind damage can be due to the force of the wind tearing off chunks of your house, or the wind could throw an object into the building. Areas that are prone to hurricanes are less likely to include wind damage as part of a homeowner’s insurance policy.
- Flooding: Hurricanes are often the cause of flooding, though most homeowner’s insurance policies lack any kind of flood coverage.
- Water Damage: Water damage caused by other means may be covered, such as damage caused by a bursting pipe. While flooding coverage isn’t included, some hurricane-caused water damage may be covered depending on the specifics of how the damage happened.
- Relocation: If you are worried that your house isn’t going to survive a hurricane, you may decide it is time to get a motel room and wait things out. You typically will need to pay out of pocket for this. However, if you return home and discover that the house is uninhabitable, your homeowner’s insurance policy may pay for temporary relocation costs.
- Sewer Damage: A lot of homeowner’s insurance policies allow you to opt-in for sewer backup coverage. Hurricanes drop a lot of water on the ground, and this can easily overwhelm sewer systems and result in sewage backing up.
What Is a Hurricane Deductible?
These days, most insurance policies include a hurricane deductible. Depending on the policy and the state laws, a hurricane deductible could be anywhere between 1% and 10% of the value of the house. Unfortunately, this can mean that it costs a lot more to repair hurricane damage than you might have anticipated.
A hurricane deductible requires some kind of trigger to happen. Many policies rely on the National Weather Service, only triggering a hurricane deductible when they name a storm as a hurricane.
A hurricane deductible may be a one-time thing, applied in the event of a hurricane, or it could be an annual deductible. It is important to read your insurance policy or have an attorney do so to determine precisely what you are expected to pay before your coverage kicks in.
Do I Need a Separate Flood Insurance Policy If I Have Renter’s Insurance?
Renter’s insurance mostly functions the same way that homeowner’s insurance does. This means that most of the information above applies to both homeowners and renters. Renter’s insurance may cover some hurricane damage, but you will need separate flood insurance to cover damage from flooding.
The biggest difference to note is that renter’s insurance does not cover damage to the outside of the building, nor is there a hurricane deductible to worry about. The outside of the apartment building will be covered through the landlord’s insurance, and any hurricane deductible to be dealt with is their problem as well.
What’s the Best Way to Ensure I’m Covered?
The best way to ensure that you have the coverage you need is to work with an experienced attorney. They can help you to decide on the best insurance policies for your unique needs based on where you are located, any risks you may be open to, and what kinds of extreme weather events you may be at risk of experiencing. If you have any questions about insurance and getting the coverage you need, a knowledgeable attorney will be sure to help.