Tips for buying hurricane insurance
Follow these tips to be sure you have adequate hurricane protection for your home.
What does hurricane insurance cover?
There is not a type of insurance specifically called “hurricane insurance.”
So, does homeowners insurance cover hurricane damage?
Most standard homeowners policies will cover damage caused by hurricanes except for flood damage and, in some areas, wind damage.
Those who live along the East Coast or Gulf Coast, which is where hurricanes most often occur in the U.S., may need to buy an additional windstorm coverage policy.
You would also need to buy a separate flood insurance policy. A common misconception is that a homeowners policy covers flood damage. It doesn’t.
What hurricane damage doesn’t cover
Wind damage. Wait, what? Isn't wind practically the definition of a hurricane? And you're telling me that my insurance may not cover me if there's a hurricane?
Well, yes, you may not be covered if there's a ton of wind - and you live in an area that gets a lot of hurricanes.
Now, suppose you live off the beaten path of a hurricane, in, say, Ohio and Indiana, which, believe it or not, can occasionally get the remnants of a hurricane plowing through the neighborhood. In that case, you probably are covered for hurricane winds. But some insurance policies won't cover wind in a hurricane - again if you live in a hurricane zone. If you live in such a place, you may need to buy a separate windstorm insurance policy.
Talk to your insurance agent, though. It's never good to assume anything with insurance.
Flooding. Many insurance policies don't cover flooding unless you have purchased a separate flood insurance policy. If you live anywhere - hurricane zone or not - that sees a lot of flooding, you really should look into purchasing flood insurance.
Mudslides. So, a hurricane created a mudslide, and your house is under that, and your insurance won't cover that? Yeah, you almost certainly aren't covered. Sorry. Insurers have this weird thing about "earth movement." They won't cover you for earthquakes or any time the ground shifts under your house for some reason, and a mudslide is considered, well, the earth moving.
But you might be covered for a mudflow, where a flood brings mud into your home.
Sure, it seems crazy, and you're probably now thinking that this is why some people drink heavily. But insurance companies become very exact when it comes to how they define coverage and natural disasters.
Power failure. Insurers get very exact and weird here, too. Let's say that you have a freezer full of ribs and steak and seafood. You're about to throw a big party. Anyway, the power goes out, and you lose all of that food and are out a lot of money. If this is a one-off incident, where your house lost power, and nobody else did, your policy probably covers that.