It's a key part of many — but not all — home insurance policies. What do you need to know about windstorm insurance coverage?
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Wind and hail are among the primary named perils covered by homeowners insurance. These perils often come along with extreme weather events like hurricanes and tornadoes.
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.
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 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 what kind of deductible you have (percentage-based or a flat 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 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 windstorm homeowners coverage 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|
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).
Known as Fair Access to Insurance Requirements Plans, FAIR Plans are available in every state and 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.
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.
|Alabama Insurance Underwriting Association||334-943-4029|
|California FAIR Plan Association||213-487-0111|
|Connecticut FAIR Plan||860-528-9546|
|Insurance Placement Facility of Delaware||215-629-8800|
|District of Columbia Property Insurance Facility||202-393-4640|
|Citizens Property Insurance Corporation||866-411-2742|
|Georgia Underwriting Association||770-923-7431|
|Hawaii Property Insurance Association||808-531-1311|
|Illinois FAIR Plan Association||312-861-0385|
|Indiana Basic Property Insurance Underwriting Association||317-264-2310|
|Iowa FAIR Plan Association||515-255-9531|
|Kansas All-Industry Placement Facility||785-271-2300|
|Kentucky FAIR Plan Reinsurance Association||502-425-9998|
|Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance Corporation||504-831-6930|
|Maryland Joint Insurance Association||410-539-6808|
|Massachusetts Property Insurance Underwriting Association||617-723-3800|
|Michigan Basic Property Insurance Association||313-877-7400|
|Minnesota FAIR Plan||612-338-7584|
|Mississippi Windstorm Underwriting Association||601-981-2915|
|Missouri Property Insurance Placement Facility||314-421-0170|
|New Jersey Insurance Underwriting Association||973-622-3838|
|New Mexico Property Insurance Program||505-878-9563|
|New York Property Insurance Underwriting Association||212-208-9700|
|North Carolina Joint Underwriting Association - FAIR Plan||919-821-1299|
|Ohio FAIR Plan Underwriting Association||614-839-6446|
|Oregon FAIR Plan Association||503-643-5448|
|Insurance Placement Facility of Pennsylvania||215-629-8800|
|Rhode Island Joint Reinsurance Association||617-723-3800|
|South Carolina Wind and Hail Underwriting Association||803-737-6180|
|Texas FAIR Plan Association||512-899-4900|
|Texas Windstorm Insurance Association||800-788-8247|
|Virginia Property Insurance Association||800-899-7973|
|Washington FAIR Plan||425-745-9808|
|West Virginia Essential Property Insurance Association||215-629-8800|
|Wisconsin Insurance Plan||414-291-5353|