Hurricane insurance should be part of your South Florida property’s hurricane preparedness plan. Without hurricane insurance, you risk paying out-of-pocket since your homeowner’s insurance policy likely isn’t enough to mitigate the damage. In this article, we’ll walk you through what hurricane insurance covers, and share a few things you need to know when getting hurricane insurance.
What is Hurricane Insurance?
Hurricane insurance protects your property in case of a hurricane. It’s important to note that you can file an insurance claim only if the National Hurricane Center (NHC) has officially declared that it is a hurricane. Although it is called ‘hurricane insurance’, there’s actually no such thing. It is a general term for what you would get when you merge multiple insurance policies, homeowners insurance, windstorm insurance, and flood insurance.
Why Do You Need Hurricane Insurance?
Since insurance companies typically don’t list flood as one of its perils, you need to purchase additional flood insurance to protect your property. If you live in an area that’s at risk of a flood, you’ll end up paying out-of-pocket if you don’t have flood insurance. Households spend around $2,000 and $5,000 when dealing with the aftermath of a flood – that’s not a small amount.
Additionally, while wind is listed as an insured peril, some states such as Florida and Louisiana need you to purchase additional windstorm coverage, seeing that hurricanes winds are too strong to be covered by a standard insurance policy. That way, all wind-related damage will be covered by windstorm coverage.
In other words, the reason why you should get these two insurance policies is that your homeowner’s insurance isn’t enough. While your homeowner’s insurance will protect you in the event of a covered peril, it won’t be able to protect your property on its own. If you aren’t insured for specific perils, you’ll have to cover the costs yourself.
Is Hurricane Insurance Expensive?
To protect your home from a hurricane, you should purchase homeowners insurance, flood insurance, and windstorm insurance. According to the NerdWallet, the average rate of homeowner’s insurance is $1,585 a year, while the average rate of flood insurance is $739 a year. Hence, be prepared to spend about $2,324 a year. If you’re from South Florida, you’ll need to spend an additional $1,578 on windstorm insurance, however, this rate is based on where your house is situated.
What Does Hurricane Insurance Cover?
Again, there’s no such thing as hurricane insurance, so when we mention ‘hurricane insurance’, we refer to the following: homeowners insurance, flood insurance, and windstorm insurance.
How much insurance you need largely depends on the degree of protection you want. Let’s take a look at the things to consider when choosing an insurance policy:
#1 Dwelling Coverage
Homeowner’s insurance comes with dwelling coverage, which covers the structure of the house. It covers the dollar amount that is needed to rebuild the home, in other words, it’s the replacement cost of the home. With homeowners insurance, your insurer will pay to repair the house according to the current cost of materials and contractors. However, the amount has a limit, so consider purchasing additional coverage in the event of severe damage.
#2 Detached Structures Coverage
Detached structures are garages, storage sheds, and so on. It falls under dwelling coverage and is generally ten percent of the amount. For instance, if your dwelling coverage covers $500,000 in damages, you’d have around $50,000 in coverage for outside structures.
#3 Additional Living Expenses (ALE)
If you find that your property is unsafe post-hurricane, your insurer can pay for your hotel stay in case you need to live elsewhere while your property management company conducts repairs. Additional Living Expenses (ALE) also cover other expenses such as food, rent (if you’re renting a unit while waiting for repairs), and so on.
Top 3 Things to Know About Hurricane Insurance
The Tropical Storm Risk (TSR) anticipates that there will be about eight hurricanes and three intense hurricanes in the Atlantic in 2022. Purchasing insurance isn’t sufficient to protect your South Florida property – you need to understand the contents of your insurance, too.
#1 Coordinate With Your Insurance Company
Your insurer will likely ask you to mitigate the damage with temporary repairs, such as putting up a tarp to stop water from entering the home. This is because they want the claimable amount to be as low as possible. These repairs will be reimbursed, so you don’t need to worry about the costs. However, what homeowners don’t know is that they’re obligated to do these things. If you don’t attempt to mitigate the damage, you probably won’t be able to claim the entire coverage.
Make sure to document the damage before you fix the home, for example, by taking pictures of the property. You can benefit from partnering with a South Florida property management company that offers post-storm clean-up.
#2 Don’t Forget About Deductibles
Think your insurer will pay for everything? Think again.
If your homeowner’s insurance covers wind damage (in other words, you don’t need windstorm insurance), you will have to pay a deductible. The deductible is set as a percentage of the dwelling coverage, which is on average 1% to 5%. For instance, if your coverage is $500,000 and your deductible is 5%, you’ll have to cover $25,000.
The downside is that the deductible amount is fixed, regardless of the repair expenses. Let’s say that your walls need $30,000 worth of repairs and your house is insured for $400,000. If your deductible is 5%, you’d have to cover $20,000, while your insurer would have to cover only $10,000. It’s a substantial amount, but it’s essential for those in hurricane-prone areas such as Florida.
#3 Check Your Insurance Coverage Regularly
If you bought your house ten years ago, there’s a good chance that its insurance coverage is no longer enough. Make sure to check if you have enough coverage since your house’s value increases over time. If you don’t know how to calculate your home’s market value, ask a property management company. Also, consider reviewing your insurance coverage every time you conduct renovations that increase your house’s value.
Filing an insurance claim after a hurricane can be confusing, considering the amount of documentation that needs to be done. That’s why the experts at Luxury Property Care are here. As your full-service property management company, we’re here to save you from the hassle of having to do post-hurricane documentation, clean-up, and more.