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Standard home insurance typically covers hurricane damage to your home. But if you live in a high-risk hurricane area, your home insurance policy might include a separate, higher deductible for hurricane damage. As a result, you may pay more out of pocket to repair or rebuild your home if a hurricane damages or destroys it.
Although hurricane deductibles can be complex, it’s important to understand them so you can assess whether you have enough coverage to fully protect your home and personal belongings in the event of a hurricane.
Here’s what you need to know about hurricane deductibles:
- Does my homeowners insurance policy cover hurricane damage?
- Coverages to protect against hurricane damage
- How do deductibles work?
- When does a hurricane deductible apply?
- How do hurricane deductibles work?
- How much is a hurricane deductible?
- Which states have hurricane deductibles?
Does my homeowners insurance policy cover hurricane damage?
A standard home insurance policy, also known as an HO-3 policy, usually covers hurricane damage to your home. But if you live in a high-risk coastal state, your insurance policy may have a separate deductible for hurricane damage — which is often higher than your policy’s standard deductible.
Good to know: Some home insurance policies — such as an HO-1 — may exclude hurricane damage or limit coverage for hurricane-related damage, such as wind damage. If you’re unsure what your policy covers, contact your insurance carrier. Compare home insurance from top carriers
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Coverages to protect against hurricane damage
The following types of coverage can help you rebuild your home or replace your personal belongings if a hurricane or other covered event damages your property:
- Dwelling coverage: Dwelling coverage protects your home’s physical structure, including any attached structures, like an attached garage or backyard deck. So, if a hurricane damages those structures, your insurer should help you repair or replace them.
- Other structures coverage: Other structures coverage protects structures that aren’t attached to your property, such as a fence, detached garage, or shed.
- Personal property coverage: This coverage helps pay to repair or replace personal belongings that are damaged as a result of a hurricane, like your clothing, TV, or gaming system — up to your policy’s limits. If you have high-value possessions, such as expensive jewelry or firearms, consider adding scheduled property coverage to extend your coverage limit.
- Additional living expenses coverage: Additional living expenses coverage, also known as loss of use coverage, helps cover reasonable temporary living expenses if your home becomes uninhabitable as a result of hurricane damage. It can help you pay for a wide range of expenses, like meals, hotels, and laundry.
- Windstorm insurance coverage: If you live in certain high-risk coastal states, you may have to pay a separate deductible for windstorm damage. To protect your home against this damage, you might have to purchase a separate windstorm insurance policy or add a windstorm endorsement to your existing policy.
- Flood insurance coverage: Standard home insurance doesn’t protect your home against flooding — including flooding caused by hurricanes. To protect your home against flood damage, you’ll have to purchase a separate flood insurance policy from a private insurer or the National Flood Insurance Program.
Tip: If you’re unable to get a windstorm insurance policy from a private insurance carrier, you can purchase one that covers wind damage through your state’s Fair Access to Insurance Requirements (FAIR) Plan.
How do deductibles work?
When you file a claim for covered damages to your home, you’ll have to pay your home insurance deductible — the amount you pay out of pocket before your insurance policy benefits kick in.
Your deductible can either be a set dollar amount — say, $1,000 — or a percentage of your home’s insured value.
If your claim is approved, your insurance provider will subtract your deductible amount from your claim check.
For example, say your deductible is $1,000, and a fire causes $20,000 worth of damage to your home. If you file a claim and your insurance carrier approves it, you’ll have to pay $1,000 out of pocket before your insurance provider sends you a claim check for the remaining $19,000 in damages.
Keep Reading: Homeowners Insurance Deductible: What You Need to Know
When does a hurricane deductible apply?
Hurricane deductibles typically activate when the National Weather Service or National Hurricane Center declares a hurricane watch in your area. However, when your hurricane deductible applies — and how long it remains in place — depends on several factors, such as your insurance provider and the state you live in.
For instance, if you live in Delaware, your hurricane deductible applies when the National Hurricane Center declares a hurricane watch in any part of the state, and it remains effective until 72 hours after the hurricane watches or warnings in Delaware expire.
Tip: To learn what specific events will trigger your hurricane deductible, read your insurance policy’s declarations page. If you have any questions, contact your insurance agent.
How do hurricane deductibles work?
Hurricane deductibles are what you pay out of pocket for hurricane damage to your home before your insurer covers the rest (up to your coverage limit). In coastal states, insurers typically use percentage deductibles that are between 1% to 5% of your home’s insured value, though they can be higher.
A hurricane deductible operates just like a standard deductible. If you file a claim for hurricane damage to your home, you’ll need to pay your deductible before your insurer helps you pay for the cost of the remaining damages — and, if approved, your insurance carrier will subtract your hurricane deductible from your claim check.
Good to know: Depending on your state, you may be able to get a traditional dollar deductible (such as $500) if you pay a higher premium. Contact your insurance provider to find out if you’re eligible for this option.
How much is a hurricane deductible?
Your hurricane deductible amount depends on several factors, including where you live, your insurance carrier, and your home’s value. It’s generally a percentage of your home’s insured value.
For example, say your home’s insured value is $300,000 and your hurricane deductible is 5%. In that scenario, your hurricane deductible would be $15,000.
Which states have hurricane deductibles?
The following states and the District of Columbia have hurricane deductibles, according to the Insurance Information Institute:
- New Jersey
- New York
- North Carolina
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- Washington, D.C.
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About the author Jerry Brown
Jerry Brown is a personal finance writer, owner of the Peerless Money Mentor blog, and a contributor to Credible. He has written for major publications such as Forbes Advisor, Business Insider, and Rocket Mortgage.
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