Prepare your hurricane insurance coverage

  • Homeowners insurance
  • Crisis management
  • Planning ahead
  • VIU resources
  • Hurricane
palm trees blowing sideways in a hurricane

Below we’ll address some common questions and concerns about hurricane insurance coverage to help you understand and feel secure with your insurance decisions ahead of the storm.

What is hurricane insurance?

There isn’t really an official hurricane insurance coverage. However, there is insurance for hurricane damage. Insurance companies separate out the weather that causes damage into both windstorm and water damage. Flood and windstorm insurance coverage can be added to your homeowners insurance policy to supplement and strengthen your coverage.

Flood insurance is coverage specifically designed to protect property owners from financial losses caused by flooding. It typically covers both the structure and contents of a property. Flood insurance rates and requirements are based on high-risk areas and flood zone maps, with higher-risk areas having stricter requirements.

Windstorm insurance is personal property coverage specifically designed to protect property owners from financial losses caused by windstorms, including hurricanes and tornadoes. It provides coverage for damage to the structure and contents of a property caused by high winds.

Why should you consider both flood and homeowners insurance for a hurricane?

Flood insurance isn’t specific to hurricanes. Standard homeowners insurance policies exclude damage caused by flood water so anyone in an area prone to water damage will need to purchase a flood policy. This is true whether their risk comes from a hurricane, the flood plain or any other cause.

Does homeowners or renters insurance cover hurricane damage?

Standard homeowners insurance polices will cover wind damage to a certain degree. In states that are at a high risk of experiencing a hurricane, you may be required to purchase an additional windstorm policy. Water damage from floods, on the other hand, will not be covered by a standard homeowners insurance policy so you will need to purchase a separate flood insurance policy for coverage. Combined, these will be your hurricane insurance coverage. You may also be required to have a hurricane deductible which is separate from your standard deductible.

A renters insurance policy will cover damage to your belongings, with some exceptions. Most renters policies do not cover flood damage and, unfortunately, your landlord’s flood insurance policy will only cover the structure. There are flood policies available for renters that you may want to consider. Talk to your insurance company or the VIU by HUB Advisory Team to discuss your flood risk and whether to consider additional coverage. Damage to your property caused by wind is typically covered by your standard renters policy. Your advisor can help you determine if you need additional coverage for this risk as well.

What are windstorm, named storm and hurricane deductibles?

While every policyholder has renters or homeowners insurance deductible, some people will be required by a homeowners policy to have additional deductibles for hurricane coverage. Here are some that you may encounter: 

  • Windstorm deductibles – A windstorm insurance deductible applies to coverage for wind-related damage. It is not specific to hurricane winds. It is usually expressed as a percentage of the insured value of the property, typically ranging from 1% to 5%. For example, if your home is insured for $300,000 and you have a 2% windstorm insurance deductible, you would be responsible for paying the first $6,000 of any wind-related damage before your insurance coverage takes effect.
  • Named storm deductibles – A named storm deductible applies to property insurance coverage for damage caused by named storms, such as hurricanes or tropical storms. It is used only when a storm has been named by a specific meteorological agency, such as the National Weather Service. The deductible amount is typically stated as a percentage of the insured value.
  • Hurricane deductibles – A hurricane deductible applies to property insurance coverage for damage caused by hurricanes. It is triggered specifically when a hurricane is declared by a specified meteorological agency or based on specific wind speed thresholds. The hurricane deductible amount is typically stated as a percentage of the insured value. Note that a storm has to be labeled a hurricane when the damage occurs for this hurricane deductible to apply. If a hurricane is downgraded before making landfall and causing damage, it is subject to a named storm deductible but not a hurricane deductible.

In which states do hurricane deductibles apply?

More states and districts than you’d think have these peril-specific deductibles. See the list of states with hurricane or named storm deductibles below.

  • Alabama
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Mississippi
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • Texas
  • Virginia
  • Washington D.C.

How much hurricane coverage do you need?

Flood insurance premiums are calculated based on the structure of the home, the risk of flood and the value of your items which are at risk. Consider the replacement cost of your possessions when deciding on your policy limits. These policies are regulated and determined by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) so it’s unlikely that you will find discounts or variation in the premiums between insurance carriers.

The special deductibles mentioned above are decided based on a percentage of the value your home is insured for and are separate from your non-weather-related deductible. However, keep in mind that these deductibles only apply for those specific perils. You will have another, separate deductible amount (which could be flat or percentage-based) for other types of claims. The policy limits will be the same for any hurricane or non-hurricane insurance claim, which is good to consider when evaluating your home insurance needs.

What are your tips for buying hurricane coverage?

Advice for buying insurance is fairly universal, but there are some additional factors to think about when you consider adding insurance for hurricanes.

  • Assess your risks – Evaluate the risk for your area. Consider factors like historical hurricane activity, proximity to the coast, elevation and flood zone designation. Understanding your risks will help you make decisions about the level of hurricane insurance coverage that you’re comfortable with.
  • Review existing coverage – Check your existing insurance policies to understand the covered perils, deductibles, coverage limits, waiting periods and any specific exclusions that may apply for hurricane-related damages. Determine if additional coverage or separate policies are necessary to fill any gaps.
  • Compare multiple quotes – Get quotes from different insurance providers to compare coverage options, deductibles, premiums and terms. Consider both the cost and the level of coverage provided. Don't solely focus on price; prioritize comprehensive coverage that suits your needs. The VIU by HUB Advisory Team can help you get these quotes and understand the coverages offered by each.
  • Consider mitigation measures – Take steps to mitigate hurricane risks to your property. Implement measures like reinforcing doors and windows, installing storm shutters, strengthening the roof and securing loose objects. Some insurance companies may offer discounts or credits to reward these efforts.
  • Stay informed and update coverage – Keep yourself updated on changes in hurricane risks, insurance regulations and policy updates. Regularly review your coverage to be sure it aligns with your changing needs and any modifications to your property.

What happens if your car is damaged in a hurricane?

Up to this point we’ve only discussed the insurance policy implications for hurricane damages caused to a home, but it’s likely that you also have a car that is at risk for damage caused by a hurricane. Natural disasters pose a unique risk to vehicles, but auto insurance claims are usually straightforward. Comprehensive auto insurance typically covers damages caused by natural disasters, including hurricanes. This coverage helps protect your vehicle against non-collision incidents and does not typically exclude damage caused by hurricanes.

How can I be prepared to make an insurance claim after a hurricane?

Preparation for making any insurance claim begins before an incident occurs and hurricane claims are no exception to that rule. Here are some things that you can do to make the claims process as easy as possible.

Review your insurance policy – Familiarize yourself with the details of your insurance policy, including coverage limits, deductibles and any specific requirements for making a property claim after a hurricane. Understand what is covered and what is not, so you know what to expect when filing a claim.

Document your property – Take thorough inventory of your property, including photos or videos of the interior and exterior. Update your inventory document as you make changes to your property – both purchases as well as renovations – and review it yearly to make sure that it’s accurate. Keep records of valuable items, receipts and appraisals. This documentation will serve as evidence of the condition and value of your belongings before the storm.

Safeguard important documents – Keep important documents, such as your insurance policy, identification papers and proof of ownership for valuable assets in a safe and easily accessible location. Consider storing digital copies or keeping physical copies in a waterproof and fireproof container.

Take measures to mitigate further losses – If it's safe to do so, take steps to prevent further damage to your property. This may include covering broken windows, placing tarps over damaged areas, or taking reasonable actions to mitigate additional losses. Do this only if or when it is safe to do so. Your life and safety are more important than your money or personal property here.

Document damage – Take photos or videos of the damage to your property, both inside and outside. This evidence will support your insurance claim and help you get an accurate assessment of the damages.

Report the damage promptly – Contact your insurance company to report the damage. Follow their instructions on how to initiate the claims process. Be prepared to provide accurate and detailed information about the extent of the damage.

Keep detailed records – Maintain a record of all communications with your insurance company, including the dates, times, and names of the representatives you speak with. Make note of any insurance claim numbers provided.

Obtain estimates and documentation – Get estimates from reputable contractors for repair or replacement costs. Document all expenses related to the damage, including invoices, receipts and labor costs.

Cooperate with the claims adjuster – When an insurance agent or adjuster visits your property to assess the damage, cooperate fully and provide them with the necessary access and information. Be prepared to answer their questions and provide supporting documentation.

What is a hurricane moratorium?

When a storm is approaching, insurance companies will often issue a moratorium and not allow new insurance policies to be written or existing policies to be modified. This is to prevent people from getting insurance specifically for that storm. You should get your hurricane insurance coverage when you purchase your homeowners insurance policy and make any updates to your coverage well before hurricane season begins to be sure that you are covered when the storms hit.

Insurance for hurricanes can seem difficult to navigate, but your insurance company – or the VIU by HUB Advisory Team – is able to answer questions and help you determine if your coverage is right for your circumstances. It’s unpleasant to think about hurricanes, but advance planning will mean you have one less thing to worry about when the forecast turns dark.