Does Flood Insurance Cover Hurricanes?

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Purchasing flood insurance will better protect you and your home against hurricanes than a standard homeowners policy alone. Home insurance policies will cover damage from high winds, but they usually exclude damage sustained from hurricane flooding.
Some homeowners insurance policies will list hurricanes as a named peril but exclude damage from flooding. Flood insurance will cover the damage caused to your home due to hurricane flooding.
It’s important to protect your home against natural disasters and perils, so licensed insurance broker and comparison app Jerry has gathered everything you need to know about flood insurance and hurricane coverage.
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What is flood insurance?

Flood insurance is coverage specifically designed to cover any damage to a home caused by flooding. This coverage can be purchased as a separate policy or an endorsement to your homeowners insurance policy, if the option is available.
Flood coverage is smart to have even if you do not live in a high flood risk area. Over twenty percent of flood claims come from areas outside of high-risk zones, and one inch of flood damage can cost a homeowner $20,000 in repairs.

Where can you buy flood insurance? 

There are three main options available for you to obtain flood insurance:
  • Endorsement: The availability of flood insurance endorsements (add-ons to your homeowners insurance policy) will vary by insurance provider and location. 
  • FEMA National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP): The NFIP is a federal program that provides flood insurance, particularly to households located in high flood risk regions.
  • Private flood insurance market: Private insurers may also offer flood insurance coverage. These can be purchased in addition to a policy bought through the NFIP or on their own.
If your home’s value is greater than the NFIP limit, your mortgage lender may require you to purchase additional flood insurance coverage from a private insurer. Your lender can require this supplemental coverage even if it is not required by the federal government.

Will my flood insurance policy cover hurricanes?

Flood insurance will cover any water damage from flooding caused by hurricanes. If a hurricane or storm causes water damage to your home, it will be covered by your flood insurance policy.
Be sure to read through your policy documents to know what is and isn’t covered. For example, most NFIP policies exclude coverage for basements. If your basement is flooded or the belongings in the basement are water damaged, your NFIP policy will not accept your claim.
Key Takeaway Flood insurance can help cover water damage and flooding caused by hurricanes or other tropical storms, but read your policy carefully for any exclusions.

Can I get hurricane insurance?

There is no separate insurance policy available to cover hurricanes. Simply put, “hurricane insurance” does not exist as its own entity. Coverage for damage caused by hurricanes falls under different kinds of insurance policies.
If your home experiences any damage from wind, lightning, hail, or other common perils related to a hurricane, your standard homeowners insurance policy should cover it.
If you experience water damage resulting from hurricane flooding, this will be covered by flood insurance instead.
Some homeowners policies have a windstorm exclusion for certain geographic locations where tropical storms are common. If your homeowners policy has this exclusion, you will need to purchase supplemental coverage to keep your home protected against hurricane winds.

How much coverage do you need against hurricanes?

Flood insurance is one of the best types of coverage to have against hurricanes. Damage caused by flooding can get expensive quickly, and if you don’t have flood insurance you could get stuck paying a massive repair bill out of pocket.
In addition to flood insurance, you will need some of the coverages provided in homeowners insurance to protect against hurricanes.
You may want to consider raising your coverage limits or purchasing add-ons regarding your homeowners policy. If you are at a higher risk for hurricanes, it is worth taking a look at the following sections of your policy to expand on their coverages:
  • Dwelling coverage: Covers the structure of your home itself, including the roof and built-in appliances like a water heater. This coverage is usually equal to what it would cost to rebuild the home.
  • Detached units: Covers structures on the property like sheds, detached garages, gazebos, and more. These units are generally covered at ten percent of the amount your policy has for dwelling coverage.
  • Personal property: Covers the contents of the home such as clothing, appliances, furniture, and more. Most insurance companies provide personal property coverage between 50% and 70% of your home’s insured value.
  • Additional living expenses: Covers the costs of any living expenses that are a result of being forced out of your home. This will usually cover things like hotel rooms and food if you are not able to live in your home due to damages.
Damage caused by a hurricane can become expensive very quickly, and it often takes homeowners by surprise. It may be in your best interest to raise your coverage limits, especially if you live in a high-risk area for tropical storms.
It is also a good idea to insure your personal property at replacement cost instead of actual cash value.
Replacement cost coverage will allow you to replace your belongings with substitutions of equal value, while actual cash value would only entitle you to the value of your items at the time of loss. 

Who needs these coverages?

You will need these coverages for your home and belongings if you live in a high flood risk zone. Anyone who lives in a region of high risk is advised to get the most coverage possible to avoid financial ruin after a natural disaster
Anyone who lives near a body of water is also at risk of flooding and should purchase some level of coverage to protect your home. Even households at low risk for flooding can benefit from purchasing coverage since one-fifth of flood insurance claims come from low-risk regions.
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Flood insurance provides great coverage against hurricane-induced water damage. However, you may need to consider one of the following additional options to cover all forms of damage after a tropical storm:
  • Water backup coverage: Sewage overflow can happen as a result of flooding after a hurricane. This coverage will help protect your property and home from water damage if your home is backed up with sewage water.
  • Debris removal coverage: Your homeowners insurance policy usually covers debris removal from certain events, like a tree falling on the house, but only up to a certain dollar amount. Removing hurricane debris can easily cost more than the coverage limit, so you may want to look at buying additional coverage.

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FAQs

The average flood insurance premium in the US is $830 per year, and the average homeowners insurance premium is $1,211 per year. If these are combined, the average cost of covering hurricane damage is $2,041 per year.
Flood insurance can help cover any damage from water or flooding caused by a hurricane. Other damages, such as wind damage, may fall under your homeowners policy if they are not excluded.

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