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Residents of the Sunshine State have to deal with the potential for strong storms during hurricane season from June until November. Recent storms that made landfall in Florida include Hurricanes Idalia, Ian, and Nicole. In 2022, Hurricane Ian caused an estimated $52.5 million in insured losses. Having hurricane insurance can help Floridians protect their homes in the event of damage.
Hurricane coverage isn’t a stand-alone policy. Standard homeowners insurance policies usually include hurricane coverage. If you do have hurricane coverage, you may also need additional insurance to pay for the different types of damages a hurricane can cause.
Here’s what you need to know about hurricane insurance, including how it works and how much it costs.
Florida law requires a windstorm deductible for named tropical cyclones.
Hurricane insurance doesn’t cover flood damage or vehicle damage.
Flood insurance and a homeowners policy's windstorm coverage can also protect Florida properties from hurricane damage.
What is hurricane coverage?
Hurricane insurance protects against damage caused by a named tropical cyclone. Hurricane coverage isn’t a separate type of policy but usually comes as part of standard homeowners insurance from private insurers and Florida's Citizens Property Insurance Corp., the state-backed insurer of last resort. Some states exclude windstorm damage from home insurance policies, but Florida includes it.
Per Florida law, home insurance policies must cover wind damage from storms the National Hurricane Center declares as hurricanes, but a hurricane deductible may apply. A standard home policy will also cover other windstorm losses, such as severe thunderstorms and tropical storms, but no hurricane deductible will apply for non-named storms.
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What does hurricane insurance cover in Florida?
Florida hurricane insurance covers damage or loss from windstorms that take place during a hurricane, depending on the specifics of your home insurance, renters insurance, or condo insurance policy.
In general, your policy should include coverage for the following:
Hurricane insurance coverage applies if you need to repair or rebuild your home after damage from wind.
Personal property includes belongings you keep in your home or store somewhere else. Most property insurance policies limit coverage to a percentage of the insurance you have for the structure. Policies include either actual cash value (which factors in depreciation) or replacement cost value for your personal property damaged by a hurricane.
Additional living expenses
Sometimes called "loss of use" in your policy, this can cover the additional living costs you face when your house needs repairs after severe damage and you have to stay somewhere else.
What won’t hurricane insurance cover?
Hurricane insurance only protects against windstorm losses. All policies have exclusions, but home insurance typically won’t ever cover the following:
Home insurance companies don’t usually cover water damage from flooding and storm surges. The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (FLOIR) encourages Florida residents to buy flood insurance, especially people living in flood zones. You can add a flood protection endorsement to your current policy, or purchase a separate flood insurance policy from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) or a private insurer.
Home hurricane insurance doesn’t apply to vehicles. You’ll need to purchase comprehensive insurance as part of your auto policy to cover your vehicle from severe weather damage. This includes damage from flooding, fallen trees, and even if your car is damaged when parked in your home's garage.
What to know about your hurricane deductible
A hurricane deductible is what you need to pay out of pocket before your home insurance kicks in to cover hurricane damage in a hurricane-prone area, per Florida law. Florida and other coastal states have set percent deductibles for storm damage to mitigate the risk insurers face from costly storms. But this type of deductible significantly increases out-of-pocket costs for homeowners.
The deductible applies to damage that occurs between when the National Weather Service issues a hurricane watch or warning for any part of Florida and up to 72 hours after a watch or warning ends.
FLOIR requires insurance companies to offer specific deductible amounts to the state’s residents and communities, including $500, 2%, 5%, and 10%, depending on the home’s insured value. If your home is worth $300,000 and you select a 10% deductible, you would have a deductible of $30,000. If you have multiple hurricane damage claims in a year from multiple hurricanes during the same season, you'll only pay one hurricane deductible per year.
How much does hurricane coverage cost in Florida?
The cost of hurricane coverage depends on the home and flood insurance coverage you purchase and your likelihood of experiencing hurricane damage. When determining your insurance rates, most insurers will consider your location, policy deductible, and claims history, as well as your property’s value, age, and building materials.
The average current cost of flood insurance in Florida is $958 per year for an NFIP policy, which exceeds the current national average cost of $888 per year. The current cost describes what policyholders pay today, and these are often rates that various laws have discounted.
Risk-based rates, in comparison, are typically higher than current actual costs, as they represent a non-subsidized price. In 2021, the NFIP implemented FEMA's Risk Rating 2.0 underwriting system, so flood insurance premiums have begun to increase on an annual basis in order to reach the full risk-based rates.
Other home insurance coverages you may need in case of hurricanes
You may want to consider these additional coverages to protect your home against damage from hurricanes and other severe weather conditions:
Flood insurance: Flood insurance covers damages to structures and personal property as a result of flooding, including storm surge. You can buy it through private insurance companies or the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Windstorm insurance: Windstorm coverage is included in standard Florida home insurance policies, and helps pay for damages from heavy winds. It can cover repairs and losses to your windows, shingles, siding, walls, personal belongings, and additional structures, like a garage or fence.
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Hurricane insurance FAQs
Living in a hurricane-prone state comes with risk. Home insurance, which includes windstorm coverage in Florida, and flood insurance can help you protect your home from hurricane damage. The following information should help answer any remaining questions.
Does Florida require hurricane deductibles?
Yes. Per Florida law, insurance companies must require hurricane deductibles due to the threat of hurricanes in Florida’s Gulf Coast and the state's 67 counties. A windstorm deductible, which is separate from your home policy's standard deductible, is usually $500, 2%, 5%, or 10% of the policy dwelling or structure limits.
How do you file a hurricane insurance claim?
To file a hurricane insurance claim, contact your home insurance company or agent via the insurer's mobile app, online, or by phone. Then, take photos of the damage (if possible) and make efforts to avoid further damage and potential losses. Lastly, get contractor estimates and share them with your insurer so they can determine the average cost of reimbursement. The Insurance Information Institute (Triple-I) recommends you work with a licensed contractor approved by your insurer, and avoid contractors that solicit your business.
What storms does hurricane insurance cover in Florida?
In Florida, a standard homeowners insurance policy includes coverage for damage from tropical storms and other severe windstorms, and your policy's standard deductible applies. A named storm/hurricane triggers your policy's named storm deductible (also called the hurricane deductible). To protect your home from flood damage, you'll need to purchase separate flood insurance, either through the NFIP or a private insurer.
Why are insurance companies leaving Florida?
Increasing climate risk is one factor affecting the availability of home insurance in Florida. Despite recent insurance company withdrawals, dozens of financially stable insurers still provide property insurance coverage in Florida, and offer hurricane insurance and other important residential policies to Florida homeowners.
Anna Baluch is a Cleveland-based personal finance and insurance expert. With an MBA from Roosevelt University, she enjoys writing educational content that helps people make smart financial decisions. Her work can be seen across the internet on many publications, including Freedom Debt Relief, Credit Karma, RateGenius, and the Balance. Connect with Anna on LinkedIn.