Is Hurricane Damage Covered by Homeowners Insurance?

Posted on Aug 29, 2019
Is Hurricane Damage Covered by Homeowners Insurance?

Damage from flying branches, falling trees, heavy rainfall, and flooding are some risks you face during a hurricane if you’re a homeowner. In fact, nine million homes face the risk of damage from a hurricane storm surge, according to the CoreLogic Storm Surge Report in 2018.

Hurricane season in the Eastern Atlantic is from May 15th through November 30th and in the Atlantic from June 1 through November 30th.  During this time, a lot of property and coastal homeowners worry about hurricane damage and what their homeowners insurance policies might or might not cover. 

Ensuring you’re protected from hurricane damage means you need to get the proper insurance beforehand. But, what about your homeowners insurance policy? Does that cover hurricane damage?

The answer to this might depend on things like:

  • The type of damage your home sustains.
  • Where you live.
  • Your policy’s limitations.
  • The amount of coverage you purchase.

“Hurricane insurance” , in itself, is a misleading term because there isn’t any coverage for hurricanes specifically. The hurricane damage comes from various sources, including flooding from rain, flooding from storm surge and wind. Because of this, “hurricane” homeowners insurance coverage generally comes down to the storm element or its aftermath that caused the damage.

For example, most homeowners policies cover damage caused by wind, but if flooding caused the damage, you’d be out of luck. If you reside in a location at high risk of hurricanes, insurance providers might limit or even withhold coverage for wind damage.

If your homeowner’s insurance policy doesn’t include wind coverage, you’d need to seek out a special endorsement. Your policy specifics will be defined clearly on the declarations page of your policy. If you’re uncertain, give your insurance provider a call to confirm you’re adequately covered.

Here are some things to consider with homeowners insurance and hurricanes:

1. Flooding and Water Damage

Homeowners policies usually don’t cover flood damage. This exclusion also relates to hurricane-related flooding. You might be able to buy a separate flood insurance policy to help cover flood-related damage.

Now, if the wind from a hurricane damages your roof and rain gets into your home as a result, you might find your homeowners insurance could provide you some protection if you have wind coverage.

2. Wind Damage

Wind is usually a peril covered by homeowners insurance policies. But, some policies completely or partially exclude wind-related damage. It’s essential you read your policy thoroughly or speak with an insurance agent to learn if your homeowners policy covers your home’s structure and your belongings against a hurricane’s winds.

If your homeowners insurance does provide wind damage coverage, you might find it will include a separate hurricane deductible that’s higher than your regular deductible. Also, if your policy includes coverage, remember that there will be coverage limits.

Be sure you review how much coverage you have and make any adjustments necessary to help make sure your limits are in line with the possible expenses of rebuilding or repairing your home. 

3. Evacuation and Temporary Relocation

Typically, if you evacuate your house to avoid a pending hurricane, your costs won’t be covered through your homeowners insurance. But, if your home isn’t livable when you return, your policy will pay for hotel accommodations and cover certain other costs you incur.

4. Sewer Backup

Homeowners insurance doesn’t always cover sewer backup, but you can typically add an endorsement for it to your policy. If heavy rain from a hurricane leads to sewer backup, you’ll want to ensure you have both flood and sewer backup coverage in place to ensure your damages are covered, no matter the root cause.

Hurricanes cause many different types of damage. Common damages to your house from a tropical storm or hurricane include:

  • Heavy rainfall
  • Wind
  • Tornadoes
  • Flooding
  • Sewer backup
  • Storm surge

Any claims you make for home damage caused by insured perils and risks will:

  • Be subject to a deductible which will vary depending on what coverage applies to the damage you’re claiming
  • Have a maximum amount payable or limit

Keep in mind the insurance providers might stop selling hurricane-related damage coverage temporarily before a pending hurricane. While this will depend on the company, typically once you’re around 48 hours before a hurricane watch, you might not be able to buy coverage. 

Even if you purchase coverage right before a hurricane, these types of policies often have waiting periods. For instance, you could purchase flood insurance, but you may have to wait 30 days before your coverage takes effect. Therefore, if you wait until the hurricane is almost upon you and try buying coverage, you might be out of luck for any imminent damages.

Contact Otterstedt Insurance Agency for Hurricane Coverage Needs

Otterstedt Insurance Agency has been serving the insurance needs of New Jersey homeowners and beyond since 1919. Let us help you to devise the best homeowners insurance policy for your peace of mind this hurricane season.

Call us at 201-227-1800 or complete our online form.

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