Does Home Insurance Cover Hurricane Damage?
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Does Home Insurance Cover Hurricane Damage?
With hurricane season underway, many homeowners may be asking themselves “Does home insurance cover hurricane damage?”
Standard homeowners policies include dwelling coverage, which covers the structure of your house. You can also purchase endorsements, like guaranteed replacement cost coverage, to increase your dwelling coverage limits.
Additionally, most home insurance policies include personal property coverage for your belongings. This is usually limited to a percentage of your dwelling coverage limit.
Wind and Hail Damage
Most homeowners insurance policies include coverage for damage caused by wind and hail, but not all do. If you live in a hurricane-prone area, you may need a separate home insurance policy that covers those perils, or a special endorsement to your homeowners’ policy.
Generally speaking, the dwelling coverage limit in a standard homeowners’ policy pays to repair or replace your house if it’s damaged by a covered problem, minus any deductibles. The same is usually true for “other structures” coverage, which applies to things like sheds and fences.
Homeowners who live in areas prone to hurricanes and other severe storms might also want to consider a windstorm policy, which typically covers the cost of damage to your roof, landscaping, fences, windows and vehicles. It may also pay to remove and replace debris blown away by the winds. These policies often have a higher deductible than a standard homeowners’ policy, however. They also tend to exclude damage from flooding.
The wind and rain of a hurricane can cause flooding and other forms of water damage. Flood damage is typically covered by a separate flood insurance policy, which can be obtained through the National Flood Insurance Program or a private insurance company that specializes in home insurance. Water damage from other sources, like a leaky roof, are covered by the comprehensive portion of a standard home insurance policy.
In areas prone to hurricanes, your home insurance may include a separate hurricane deductible that is higher than the standard home insurance deductible. You should refer to your home insurance declarations page to find out if this is the case.
In addition to the standard perils listed in a homeowners insurance policy, some policies also cover debris removal. This covers the costs of removing downed trees, branches and other items from your property after a hurricane passes through. If your policy does not include this coverage, you can obtain a rider to add it.
Debris removal is an often overlooked cost when calculating property damage from a natural disaster. Insurance companies recognize that cleaning up the debris left behind is important and therefore include an automatic coverage extension in many property policies for this purpose. The amount that is automatically included varies among insurers. It typically does not exceed the limit in place for the building or contents limits, though.
It is recommended to check the debris removal section of the policy carefully. Some insurers may not have any debris removal coverage while others limit the coverage to a percentage of the damaged property limits.
It is also a good idea to keep detailed documentation of the interior and exterior of your home. This will make the claims process go more smoothly. You should also document any repairs or renovations that you have done on your property as well. You can use this documentation as evidence if your insurer denies or disputes a claim.
Depending on the insurer, you may also have the option to purchase an extended replacement cost policy. This add-on extends the coverage limit of your dwelling by a percentage above your existing policy’s Coverage A value to help protect you against rising building costs.
If you live in an area prone to hurricanes, your homeowners insurance may include a separate hurricane or named storm deductible in addition to the standard home insurance deductible. These deductibles are often based on a percentage (ranging from 1% to 5%) of your dwelling coverage. They are designed to protect the insurer against large catastrophic losses and prevent them from going bankrupt after paying out multiple claims in a short period of time. You’ll find specifics about when hurricane deductibles apply in the coverage section of your policy declaration page. Typically, if your property is damaged by a named storm and it’s accompanied by flooding, you will need to buy a flood insurance policy.
Does Home Insurance Cover Hurricane Damage? With hurricane season underway, many homeowners may be asking themselves “Does home insurance cover hurricane damage?” Standard homeowners policies include dwelling coverage, which covers the structure of your house. You can also purchase endorsements, like guaranteed replacement cost coverage, to increase your dwelling coverage limits. Additionally, most home insurance…