Standard home insurance covers the structure of your home in the event of disasters such as hurricanes and windstorms, along with a number of other disasters. It's important to understand the elements that may affect your insurance payment after a hurricane and adjust your policies accordingly. Homeowners insurance technically covers damage caused by tropical hurricanes and rain. However, depending on where you live, a special deductible may apply for hurricanes or winds.
The good news is that most standard homeowner insurance policies cover some damage caused by hurricanes. Homeowner policies cover most damage caused by a hurricane, with the exception of floods. However, most companies also have a higher policy deductible for wind losses. New England residents' homes are at risk of hurricanes that cause both high winds and floods.
Hurricane deductibles are generally activated by an official hurricane resolution from the National Weather Service, but they may vary slightly by state and insurance company. If your insurer determines that the destruction is covered by your policy, you will be reimbursed for the cost of a new home up to the coverage limit of your policy. Some homeowners may be surprised to learn that floods, even caused by a hurricane, are generally not covered by a standard home insurance policy. Hurricane damage (such as flood and wind damage) to your car is generally covered, as long as your auto policy includes comprehensive insurance.
Home insurance doesn't cover damage caused by floods, so you'll need flood insurance to cover your home against storm surges. You can also leave the deductible out of your policy for a reduced premium, but this could be a bad idea if you live in an area with a high risk of hurricanes, since you're basically losing coverage for damage caused by the hurricane. Make sure you understand how a hurricane can affect your home insurance and that you are properly protected with flood and windstorm insurance if your property is at risk. The amount you pay for hurricane insurance really depends on the amount of home insurance you buy, where you live, whether you also have a separate policy for wind damage or not, and how much you pay for your flood insurance coverage separately.
As soon as a hurricane warning is declared, your higher deductible will take effect, while in other states the deductible may not start until the winds reach the intensity of a hurricane. Almost every state on the Atlantic coast allows insurers to charge special deductibles for damage caused by the hurricane, but depending on your insurer and the state in which you live, you may have the option of paying higher premiums in exchange for a lower fixed-price deductible. On the other hand, in some areas that you don't consider hurricane zones, you may need a different windstorm policy. Contact your independent agent if you have any questions about your homeowners insurance policy coverage for hurricanes or tornadoes.
While home insurance policies take effect immediately after the insurance company issues the policy, most insurance companies won't issue a policy within 48 hours of the forecast. Insurance companies view tornadoes as the same type of destructive force as hurricanes, although they are very different types of storms. As with hurricanes, a homeowner's insurance policy usually covers damage caused by tornadoes that isn't caused by external floods, but this rule can have contradictions. Insurance companies don't sell separate hurricane insurance policies, so you'll need to rely on your home insurance policy and some supplemental policies, such as flood insurance, to get adequate coverage.
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