As the seasons change and temperatures get warmer, people aren’t just expecting to see nice weather. The spring, summer, and early fall months are peak storm season for many people in the country, and for some strong thunderstorms are only the beginning of their weather worries. Many homeowners assume that their home and items are protected under their current insurance policy, but a typical storm damage insurance claim may not be able to help during a hurricane or powerful windstorm.
A different insurance situation
Hurricane insurance is unique because the storm can cause different kinds of damage. Wind, flood, and rain damage can all occur, so hurricane insurance goes beyond the typical homeowners’ insurance policy. Private homeowners insurance won’t be much help after a hurricane. Most policies will typically cover damage done by hurricane winds, but may not cover flood damage.
Most insurance companies sell homeowners insurance policies that have percentage deductibles specifically for hurricane damage instead of the more common dollar deductibles. This may sound like a windfall for home owners, but it’s actually done to benefit companies so they can avoid costly payouts. Many deductible payouts won’t be enough to cover the damage of a particularly destructive storm. This kind of sparse coverage isn’t even widespread yet, as of June 2015 only 19 states and the District of Columbia have hurricane deductibles.
It’s always best to have coverage before a storm occurs. If you lack hurricane or windstorm insurance after a damaging storm occurs, getting help can be very difficult. You may be able to qualify for help from the government if the president declares your area a disaster, but it can take months or even years for you to see aid. (Which is still occurring in New Jersey as of 2016.).
Who needs hurricane or windstorm insurance?
- Beach vacation home owners: You may live away from the coast, but if you have a beach house you need to have it covered in case of an emergency.
- Coastal state dwellers (especially along the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico): You may live very far inland, but strong storms can still case a significant amount of damage when they make landfall.
- Responsible homeowners: Extreme weather events have become a part of life. You want your home and family to be prepared for the worst.