What Is Hurricane Insurance?

Hurricane insurance isn’t a stand-alone policy but multiple coverage types designed to protect your home from wind and water damage.

Jess Ullrich
Written byJess Ullrich
Jess Ullrich
Jess UllrichInsurance Writer
  • 10+ years writing insurance and personal finance topics

  • Former associate finance editor for Investopedia

Jess is a subject matter expert in insurance, banking, and other personal finance topics. Her byline has appeared in numerous top web media, including Investopedia.

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Chris Schafer
Edited byChris Schafer
Chris Schafer
Chris SchaferSenior Editor
  • 15+ years in content creation

  • 7+ years in business and financial services content

Chris is a seasoned writer/editor with past experience across myriad industries, including insurance, SAS, finance, Medicare, logistics, marketing/advertising, and many more.

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Updated February 7, 2024

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Hurricane season spans five months on the Atlantic Coast, and whether you’ve recently moved there or have lived there for years, it’s crucial to ensure your homeowners insurance adequately covers your property for wind and water damage.

But stand-alone hurricane insurance doesn’t exist. Instead, you must rely on a combination of coverages, often including flood and windstorm insurance, to provide the protection you need.

Hurricane or windstorm deductibles are often higher than normal deductibles, so if you live in an area prone to hurricanes, review your policy to determine what it does and doesn’t cover. Here’s what you should know about insurance for hurricanes.

Quick Facts
  • Your standard homeowners insurance policy may not provide adequate hurricane coverage.

  • Insurers may offer flood insurance or windstorm coverage as an add-on or stand-alone policy.

  • Hurricane deductibles are typically higher than standard homeowners deductibles and are expressed as a percentage of your property’s insured value.

What is hurricane insurance?

Hurricane insurance combines flood and windstorm insurance to protect your home from storm damage. If you live in the Atlantic Basin, you may need this coverage to ensure sufficient protection.

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    Flood insurance

    Standard homeowners insurance policies don’t typically cover flood damage, including from a storm surge. Instead, you’ll need to buy a separate flood insurance policy to keep your home and possessions safe if they’re in an area prone to flooding.

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    Windstorm insurance

    Windstorm insurance may or may not be needed, depending on where you live and your homeowners insurance exclusions. But as its name suggests, this type of coverage protects your home if it’s damaged by strong winds. Windstorm insurance may be sold as an add-on or stand-alone policy.

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Does home insurance cover hurricane damage?

Standard homeowners policies usually cover some hurricane damage. But the type of damage as it pertains to your policy is important to understand.

For example, if you have excess water damage due to flooding, your home insurance usually won’t cover flood damage. Fortunately, flood insurance is widely available as an add-on to your homeowners coverage. However, it can be pricey if you have a large home and flooding or storm surges are common where you live.

Windstorms can be another great cause of damage during a hurricane, and whether your home insurance covers windstorm damage depends on where you live and your insurance company. Some policies may provide this coverage, but it’s often partially or fully excluded in hurricane- or tropical storm-prone areas.

Good to Know

If you live farther inland, a standard homeowners policy might cover windstorm damage. But if you live in a coastal area, you may need separate windstorm coverage. Review your policy to determine if wind damage is covered and if your coverage amount is sufficient.

How to buy flood insurance

Before purchasing flood insurance, it’s important to understand its pricing to ensure your coverage costs are fair. Flood insurance costs vary based on a few factors, including your home’s size and location.

Recent data from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) finds that 40% of active flood insurance policies in the U.S. cost $1,000 or less annually, while 31% range from $1,000 to $2,000 and 13% cost between $2,000 and $3,000.[1] The most expensive policies cost between $8,000 and $9,000 each year, accounting for 1% of all policies.

You can purchase flood insurance through FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) or a private insurance company. More than 23,000 cities and towns participate in the NFIP, and more than 50 insurers provide coverage through this program.[2]

Some insurance companies also offer this coverage independently, and you can find the most affordable rate by comparing policies from several insurers.

How to buy windstorm insurance

If your homeowners insurance doesn’t offer protection for damage caused by high winds, you’ll want to purchase windstorm insurance as a stand-alone policy from a different insurer. You may also be able to purchase it as a separate add-on if you live in a high-risk area.

Insurance brokers may also be able to guide you in your search for coverage, and state-specific insurance associations can help homeowners in high-risk areas get coverage for wind damage.

Visit your state’s insurance commissioner website if you’re having trouble finding coverage, as it may be able to point you in the right direction.

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How a hurricane deductible works

With standard home insurance, you’ll typically pay a flat-rate deductible before your coverage kicks in. For instance, your standard deductible might be $1,000 or $1,500. But hurricane insurance deductibles often work differently.

Instead of paying a flat-rate amount, you’ll pay a separate deductible that’s a percentage of your home’s insured value. These deductibles commonly range from 1% to 5%, though homeowners in high-risk areas may pay up to 10%.[3] So if the insured value of your home is $300,000 and your hurricane deductible is 2%, you’d pay $6,000 out of pocket before your insurance contributed.

These states allow for hurricane or named storm deductibles:

How to get the best hurricane coverage

The following tips can help you find the most affordable hurricane coverage:

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    Get quotes and compare options

    Instead of getting coverage from the first insurer you find, it can be helpful to compare coverage options from different companies. This will help you find coverage that best meets your needs.

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    Understand waiting periods

    Many insurers have waiting periods for hurricane coverage. For instance, if you live in a coastal state and apply for coverage two days before a major hurricane or tropical storm, your new insurer might not cover you. Proactively applying for and purchasing coverage before a major storm will ensure you’re protected.

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    Contact your state if you can’t find coverage

    It may be difficult to find hurricane insurance in certain high-risk areas. If so, contact your state’s insurance commissioner’s office for guidance. It’ll likely be able to direct you to a state-sponsored association that can help you get the protection you need.

Hurricane insurance FAQs

If you’re shopping for hurricane or windstorm insurance, this additional information may help as you research your coverage options.

  • Does hurricane insurance cover damage to vehicles?

    The hurricane insurance that protects your home won’t protect your vehicle. Instead, adding comprehensive coverage to your car insurance policy can protect your vehicle if it’s damaged due to a hurricane. This coverage also protects your car from damage due to theft, burglary, fire, or other natural events outside of your control.

  • What should you do to prepare for hurricane season?

    First, ensure adequate coverage for your home and car, especially if you live in an area prone to severe storms. You’ll also want to ensure you have a supply of food, water, and medicine on hand, as well as flashlights, batteries, and personal care essentials. Finally, you’ll want to have a plan in place if you need to evacuate.

  • What does homeowners insurance cover during a hurricane?

    It depends on your policy and where you live. While some homeowners insurance policies may cover wind damage to your home and separate buildings like sheds, this damage may be excluded by certain insurance companies, especially if you live in a hurricane-prone area.

    Other things that may be covered include personal property and additional living expenses if you’re displaced from your home.

  • Does renters insurance cover hurricane damage?

    Your renters insurance may cover damage to your personal property or temporary displacement due to a hurricane, depending on your policy. Review your policy for details on your coverage, or compare options from potential insurers to better understand exclusions.

Sources

  1. FEMA. "Cost of Flood Insurance for Single-Family Homes under NFIP’s Pricing Approach."
  2. FEMA. "Flood Insurance."
  3. NAIC. "Hurricane Deductibles."
Jess Ullrich
Jess UllrichInsurance Writer

Jess is a personal finance writer who's been creating financial and business content for over a decade. Her work is published on Investopedia, MoneyWise, NextAdvisor, The HuffPost, and more. Prior to freelancing full-time, Jess was an editor at Investopedia, The Balance, and FinanceBuzz. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

Chris Schafer
Edited byChris SchaferSenior Editor
Chris Schafer
Chris SchaferSenior Editor
  • 15+ years in content creation

  • 7+ years in business and financial services content

Chris is a seasoned writer/editor with past experience across myriad industries, including insurance, SAS, finance, Medicare, logistics, marketing/advertising, and many more.

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