If you live in a hurricane-prone area, it's important to know what potential damage your homeowners insurance covers.
Does Your Homeowners Insurance Cover Hurricane Damage?
It's important to know your insurance coverage before a hurricane hits. Once an announcement is made for a tropical storm or hurricane watch or warning, it's too late to add or get new coverage. You should review your coverage and deductibles before the height of hurricane season.
What Hurricane Damage Is Covered?
A standard homeowners insurance policy usually covers damage by weather events like windstorms and hurricanes. However, in coastal areas, it is often necessary to purchase windstorm coverage to be protected against damage by wind or water. The windstorm rider typically allows claims for damage such as downed trees, shattered windows, missing shingles and rain entering the home due to roof or window damage. Flood damage from a hurricane won't be covered with this rider as all rising water events fall under flood coverage.
What About Flood Insurance?
Homeowners insurance or windstorm insurance will not cover flood damage, whether that damage comes from a storm surge, water from a swollen body of water or water pooling from heavy rain. Any time water rises and comes into your home, it's considered a flood. Adding a flood insurance policy will help make sure that there's no dispute when your home is damaged by rising waters.
Are There Hurricane Deductibles?
When you live in an area with hurricane risk, it is likely that you have deductibles on your insurance. In order for a hurricane deductible to be activated, a trigger must be present. An example trigger for the state of Connecticut is when the NWS announces a hurricane with winds of 74 miles per hour or more anywhere in the state. The deductible stays in effect for 24 hours after the last warning ends or until the NWS removes hurricane status from the storm.
Is Coverage Effective If You Are Evacuated?
All the aforementioned coverage applies even if you have to evacuate your home during a hurricane. However, it's a good idea to prepare your home for the storm in order to mitigate damage. Evacuation expenses are not covered by insurance, but your regular policy should kick in if your house is unlivable after the storm.
After a storm hits, you should always make efforts to prevent further damage and notify your insurance company immediately