How to Prepare Your Homeowners Insurance for a Hurricane Claim

Ensuring your policy has the right types of coverage is an essential part of hurricane preparedness planning.

Jacqueline DeMarco
Jacqueline DeMarco
  • 13+ years writing insurance and personal finance content

  • Insurance, lending, and retirement expert

Jacqueline has contributed content, and her personal finance passion, to dozens of noteworthy financial brands, including Credit Karma, Bankrate, and MagnifyMoney.

Featured in

media logomedia logo
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.

Featured in

media logomedia logomedia logomedia logo

Updated January 27, 2023 | Reading time: 7 minutes

Advertiser Disclosure

At Insurify, our goal is to help customers compare insurance products and find the best policy for them. We strive to provide open, honest, and unbiased information about the insurance products and services we review. Our hard-working team of data analysts, insurance experts, insurance agents, editors and writers, has put in thousands of hours of research to create the content found on our site.

We do receive compensation when a sale or referral occurs from many of the insurance providers and marketing partners on our site. That may impact which products we display and where they appear on our site. But it does not influence our meticulously researched editorial content, what we write about, or any reviews or recommendations we may make. We do not guarantee favorable reviews or any coverage at all in exchange for compensation.

Why you can trust Insurify: Insurify’s expert insurance writers and editors operate independently of our insurance partners. As an independent agent and insurance comparison website, we make money through commissions from insurers. But that does not influence any editorial content, including reviews. Learn more.

If you live in an area prone to hurricanes, effective hurricane preparedness is vital. While a standard homeowners insurance policy provides protection if a hurricane causes damage to your home, it may not cover all aspects of hurricane damage that can occur.

This is why it’s so important to make sure you have the right insurance coverages to fully recover from hurricane damage. Keep reading to learn more about what homeowners insurance covers, how to file insurance claims for hurricanes, and why making sure you have the right amount of insurance coverage is an important part of hurricane preparedness.

Does homeowners insurance cover hurricane damage?

Generally, yes, most homeowners policies cover storm damage, including damage from high winds. However, if your home is located in a hurricane-prone area, you may have to pay more if you file a claim after a hurricane. 

Many homeowners insurance policies have separate deductibles for hurricanes and windstorms, and if you live somewhere hurricanes are more likely to occur, you may have a higher hurricane deductible.[1] If you know your home is prone to hurricane damage, it’s a good idea to set some money aside to cover the hurricane deductible if you end up paying it one day.

Hurricane season begins May 15 in the north Pacific and June 1 in the Atlantic, lasting until Nov. 30. Florida, Texas, and Louisiana get hit by hurricanes most often, but all southern and eastern coastal states are at risk.

Learn More: Hurricane Insurance: What You Need to Know

What types of coverage do you need for hurricane protection?

It’s important to make sure your homeowners insurance coverage is adequate before a storm arrives. You want to make sure you have high enough policy limits to cover the cost of fully rebuilding or replacing your home.

Here’s a closer look at why the following types of homeowners insurance coverage are important for hurricane preparedness.

Personal property coverage

Personal property coverage, also known as contents coverage, is designed to pay for the cost of replacing personal belongings that are stolen, damaged, or completely destroyed.

The amount of coverage you need depends entirely on the value of your personal belongings, such as your electronics, clothing, and furniture. This type of coverage is typically included in your homeowners insurance policy. 

The type of personal property coverage you have will help determine how much money you receive to replace your belongings if a covered event occurs. If you have a replacement cost policy, you’ll receive the dollar amount it will take to buy a brand-new version of the item you lost when you file a claim. If you have an actual cash value policy, you’ll only get the amount of money that represents the current value of an item less depreciation.

Dwelling coverage

Dwelling coverage is another standard type of coverage included in homeowners insurance policies. This coverage is designed to protect the structure of your home and even some structures that aren’t attached to your home, such as a separate garage or a guest house. The key is to have enough dwelling coverage to cover the costs of rebuilding your home and any other covered structures.

Learn More: Rebuild Cost of a Home

Flood insurance

Hurricanes can cause major flood damage due to the massive amount of water they tend to bring with them, and unfortunately, homeowners insurance policies don’t cover flood damage. While floods can strike anywhere, it’s especially important to purchase separate flood insurance if you live somewhere at risk of hurricanes.

You can buy flood insurance from any insurer that has a contract with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), as the federal government administers flood insurance. Flood insurance can cover any direct physical losses that occur due to flooding. You’ll need to buy separate flood insurance policies for both your personal property and the structure of the home. The maximum amount of flood insurance that you can secure is $250,000 in coverage for the structure and $100,000 for the contents of the home.[2]

Learn More: Private Flood Insurance vs. FEMA

Compare Home Insurance Quotes Instantly

Secure. Free. Easy-to-use.
Based on 3,806+ reviews
Shopper Approved
ProgressiveLiberty MutualTravelers

How do hurricane deductibles work?

A hurricane deductible is separate from your standard homeowners deductible. This type of deductible only applies to damage caused by hurricanes. A hurricane deductible usually costs 1% to 5% of the home’s value. However, you can pay a higher premium rate in order to pay a more traditional dollar deductible in some states. Some insurance companies don’t make this option available. You may also have a higher hurricane deductible if you live somewhere with a higher wind risk.

Check Out: What Does Hurricane Insurance Cover? Here’s What You Need to Know

How to file an insurance claim for hurricane damage

The aftermath of a hurricane can be an emotional and tumultuous time. The last thing you want is the extra stress because of your insurance claim. That’s why it’s a good idea to prepare ahead of time to make your claims process as smooth as possible.

Here are some basic steps you’ll take to file an insurance claim after hurricane damage occurs:

  1. Contact the police if any crimes occurred. For example, if theft occurred during a hurricane, you need to contact the police and inform them of it.

  2. Connect with your home insurance company. You can typically start the claims process online, and you’ll need to get in touch with a claims adjuster. This person will be your point of contact during the claims process.

  3. Document damage and hold onto damaged goods. Take photos and videos of any damaged belongings. Then, hold onto any damaged items until the claims adjuster tells you to discard them.

  4. Make necessary repairs. It’s best to avoid making repairs until the insurance company gives you the go-ahead, but if you need to make repairs to stop further damage from occurring or to ensure safety, you should do that right away. In fact, your insurance policy might include verbiage instructing you to take steps to prevent further damage.

  5. Get contractor estimates. You can start looking for a contractor to help with repairs, and they can give you a cost estimate you can share with your insurance company.

How to file a flood insurance claim

If flood damage occurred, you’ll also need to file a claim with your flood insurance company. The process is very similar to filing a claim with your homeowners insurance provider. You’ll contact your insurer to start the claim process, document any damage, and make necessary repairs to ensure the home is safe to live in.

How to prepare for a hurricane

Follow these tips to prepare your home for a hurricane.

4 things to do long before a storm hits

  1. Save emergency contact info. Write down emergency phone numbers, and keep them stored near every phone in your house as well as programmed into your cell phone.

  2. Create an emergency supply kit. You can buy an emergency supply kit or purchase a pre-made one.

  3. Know where the nearest shelters are. You need to plan to leave your home if conditions become unsafe, so it’s a good idea to know where local shelters are and a few different routes to reach them.

  4. Find pet-friendly hotels or shelters. If you have pets, you need to know where your entire family can go if you have to evacuate.[3]

  5. Prepare your home. Clear your yard of large items that can cause damage, cover doors and windows, and prepare to turn off your power if need be.

4 things to do when a storm is on the way

These are some steps you can take to prepare for a hurricane once the storm is on the way:

  1. Know when the storm is coming. A hurricane warning means that hurricane conditions are expected. A hurricane watch just means it’s possible a hurricane may hit within 48 hours. You should prepare for the hurricane in either event.[4]

  2. Fill your car with gas. The last thing you want to do is worry about finding gas when you need to evacuate.

  3. Create a first aid kit and gather emergency medicines. It’s important to have a portable first aid kit ready, and that should include any and all mandatory medications.

  4. Know where important documents are. If there are any documents you can’t afford to lose (think birth certificates, Social Security cards, house titles, etc.), keep them safely stored in one place so you can grab them quickly if you need to evacuate.

4 essential things to do when the storm arrives

Follow these steps once the storm hits:

  1. Go over your emergency plan. Now’s the time to make sure your entire family is aware of what to do in an emergency and what your exit plan is if you need to leave your home due to the hurricane.

  2. Collect drinking water. You may lose access to water during the storm, so it’s important to fill clean containers with drinking water.

  3. Keep up to date on storm updates. You can turn to the news on your TV, radio, or the internet to learn the latest about storm conditions. That way, you’ll know if or when you need to leave your home.

4 tips for a safe, effective cleanup after the storm

Once a storm is over, it’s time to focus on cleanup.

  1. File an insurance claim. It’s best to do this as soon as possible to get the ball rolling.

  2. Purchase safety gear. Before you start cleaning up damage, make sure you have gloves, goggles, N95 masks, hard hats, and any other supplies you need to clean up safely.

  3. Work as a team to move heavy objects. If you have to move anything bulky or heavy (over 50 pounds), ask a friend, family member, or neighbor for help.

  4. Take breaks. Cleaning up hurricane damage can be a big job, so take breaks when you need to so you don’t overexert yourself.[5]

See More: Catastrophe Insurance 101 for Homeowners

Hurricane insurance claim and preparedness FAQs

Here’s some more insight on what to do when a hurricane puts your home at risk.

  • Does homeowners insurance cover flooding from a hurricane?

  • How soon after a hurricane should you make a claim?

    It’s best to file an insurance claim as soon as it’s safe for you to do so after a hurricane.

  • Should you file a hurricane damage claim with more than one insurance company?

    After a hurricane occurs, you’ll need to file an insurance claim with your homeowners insurance company, but if your home has flood damage, you’ll also need to file a claim with your flood insurance provider.[6]

  • How can you get emergency help with temporary repairs?

    You can turn to FEMA’s Individual and Household Assistance program if you need emergency help with temporary repairs. While this won’t cover all losses caused by a hurricane, it can help you cover temporary repairs while you navigate the insurance claim process.[7]

  • How long will it take to get a settlement for a hurricane claim?

    Insurance companies typically provide settlements for claims within 30 days, but your state may have laws in place that require a faster timeline. You can ask your insurance agent what the expected timeline should be.

Compare Home Insurance Quotes Instantly

Secure. Free. Easy-to-use.
Based on 3,806+ reviews
Shopper Approved
ProgressiveLiberty MutualTravelers


  1. Insurance Information Institute. "Hurricane season insurance guide." Accessed January 19, 2023
  2. Insurance Information Institute. "Facts about flood insurance." Accessed January 19, 2023
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Preparing for a Hurricane or Other Tropical Storm." Accessed January 19, 2023
  4. Charleston Southern University. "Hurricane Watch or Warning – what’s the difference?." Accessed January 19, 2023
  5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Cleanup Safely After a Disaster." Accessed January 19, 2023
  6. FEMA. "How to File a Flood Insurance Claim." Accessed January 19, 2023
  7. FEMA. "Types of Assistance Available for Survivors of Storms and Tornadoes." Accessed January 19, 2023
Jacqueline DeMarco
Jacqueline DeMarco

During college, Jacqueline DeMarco interned at a retirement plan advisory firm and was tasked with creating a presentation on the importance of financial wellness. During her research into how money can affect our health, relationships and career, Jacqueline realized just how important financial education is. Jacqueline is a contributor for Insurify and has worked with more than a dozen financial brands, including LendingTree, Capital One, Credit Karma, Fundera, Chime, Bankrate, Student Loan Hero, ValuePenguin, SoFi, and Northwestern Mutual, providing thoughtful content to give readers insight into complex topics that they likely didn’t learn in school.

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.

Featured in

media logomedia logomedia logomedia logo