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What is windstorm coverage in home insurance?
If you live in a state especially vulnerable to hurricanes, it’s important to understand the protocols you may need to follow before your insurer will cover damage to your home. Understanding whether or not you need windstorm insurance — and the circumstances under which a windstorm deductible is triggered — is essential to safeguard your dwelling with sufficient home insurance.
Homeowners insurance and windstorms — table of contents:
- What is windstorm insurance coverage?
- How do windstorm deductibles work?
- Do I need windstorm coverage?
- How much does windstorm coverage cost?
- How do wind claims affect rates?
- Where to get windstorm insurance if you can’t get coverage
While windstorm damage is a covered peril under most homeowners insurance policies, coverage for wind damage is not always guaranteed and sometimes depends on your exact address. Your home insurance company may require a separate windstorm deductible — also known as a hurricane deductible, wind and hail deductible or named storm deductible — if a hurricane strikes and inflicts damage upon your home. In some regions, insurance companies may specifically refuse windstorm coverage in a homeowners policy, requiring you to either supplement it with a windstorm endorsement or a separate policy via a state insurance pool.
Despite the term “hurricane deductible,” hurricanes are not a covered peril; instead, what’s covered are the sources of the damage caused by hurricanes, like extreme wind and hail. What triggers a hurricane deductible varies by state, insurer and whether or not the tropical storm is “named.” Storm surges and subsequent flooding are also common accessories to windstorm events. In these cases, you’ll need flood insurance to cover physical damage to your home and your personal property.
As discussed above, your insurance company may impose a separate deductible for wind and hail damage if you reside along the coast or other areas susceptible to windstorms. Hurricane deductibles are a type of wind damage deductible and are only triggered when a hurricane occurs. Windstorm deductibles are less restrictive and can be applied to any source of wind damage — including hurricane damage.
These deductibles can take shape of either a fixed amount or a percentage of the insured value of your home; this typically ranges from 1% to 5% of your dwelling coverage limit but can be higher — up to 10% — if you live in a coastal area. For instance, if your home is worth $300,000 and your deductible is 2% of its insured value, the total you pay out-of-pocket before insurance steps in would be $6,000. Refer to your policy’s declarations page or ask your insurance agent to find out which deductible applies to you and your home. Typical percentage deductible amounts are 1%, 2%, 3% and 5%, while fixed deductible amounts can range from $500 to $5,000.
Depending on your location, you may be able to choose a fixed deductible amount in exchange for a higher premium. However, it’s less likely that higher-risk coastal homes will be offered this flexibility.
Currently, 19 states, plus Washington, D.C., mandate windstorm and hurricane deductibles: Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, and Virginia. If you live in one of these states, check the details of wind and hail coverage in your homeowners policy documents.
See below state-by-state average rates and how your premium can change depending on how much your wind/hail deductible is. Learn more about our rate-gathering methodology.
ANNUAL PREMIUMS BY WIND/HAIL DEDUCTIBLE AMOUNT
Because insurance is regulated at the state level, certain laws may dictate how insurance companies in each state handle windstorm deductibles and whether or not policyholders can choose either a percentage or fixed amount deductible.
For example, in Texas, a windstorm deductible applies to any type of wind damage, not limited to hurricanes and named storms. However, in Florida, a hurricane must be declared by the National Weather Service (NWS) to trigger a hurricane deductible, and it only applies for damage that occurred from the time the warning is issued and up to 72 hours after the warning ends.
Below are average annual rates for homeowners coverage with a $1,000 wind/hail deductible from some major insurance carriers, using a standard homeowners profile detailed in this methodology. Use these rates as a jumping-off point, as our homeowners profile likely differs from yours.
|Insurance Company||Average Annual Premium|
Rates can vary quite drastically depending on your location. Below are average annual rates in states that mandate hurricane and windstorm deductibles. Coastal states — especially those along the Gulf of Mexico — tend to have the most expensive premiums due to their higher-risk locations.
|State||Average Annual Premium|
The average rate increase after a wind-related loss was 9% nationally. Catastrophic damage can cause more dramatic rate hikes. Consult the table below to see national averages for up to two wind claims.
|Number of Claims||Average Annual Premium||% Difference|
|1 Wind Claim||$1,612||+9%|
|2 Wind Claims||$1,701||+6%|
HOME INSURANCE PREMIUMS BY COMPANY AFTER WIND CLAIM
|Insurance Company||Rate After Wind Claim|
USAA was the cheapest company after a wind claim, with a monthly premium of $111. If you don't qualify for USAA, the second cheapest was Nationwide at $114 per month.
If you live in a vulnerable area, windstorm insurance can cost a pretty penny every year and may even be unaffordable. You may also be denied windstorm coverage if you live in a high-risk location, like a coastal region. If you can’t find windstorm insurance coverage for your home, consider looking into government-offered options.
For instance, homeowners in Texas who are not eligible for wind and hail coverage can obtain it through the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA). Florida homeowners can look into coverage through the state-run Citizens Property Insurance Corporation (CPIC).
FAIR Plans and Beach Plans
Known as Fair Access to Insurance Requirements Plans, FAIR Plans are available in every state and are meant to be an insurer of last resort if your home is not eligible for a windstorm policy or other coverages elsewhere. This is because it’s typically pricier than private insurance but offers less coverage. What’s covered is dictated by each state’s individual FAIR Plan program.
Beach Plans operate in a similar way and are also last resort options for homeowners who can’t get windstorm coverage. The difference is that not every state has a Beach Plan — they’re only offered in specific coastal areas — and these policies only cover wind and hurricane damage.
FAIR Plans by state
If you can’t find homeowners insurance coverage for your high-risk home, look into your state’s insurance offerings. Get a quote by contacting your state’s FAIR Plan, listed below.
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About The Zebra
The Zebra is not an insurance company. We publish data-backed, expert-reviewed resources to help consumers make more informed insurance decisions.
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