Homeowners Insurance and Hurricane Coverage: Know the Facts
Hurricane Season is coming soon and now is a good time to check your homeowners insurance to make sure you are properly protected before a storm hits your area and leaves you with a damaged or destroyed home. Hurricane season runs from June 1 through November 30 and peaks in September.
Often when named storms or hurricanes enter the "box", insurance companies suspend binding new policies. When binding authority is suspended, all changes to existing policies are also suspended. Coverages and/or deductibles cannot be changed until the storm has passed.
The good news is that most homeowners policies cover for damage from a hurricane. Most homeowners policies have an "all other peril" (AOP) deductible for loss caused by perils such as vandalism, fire, lightening, and theft and a separate deductible for hurricane losses. The hurricane deductible is mandated by Florida Statutes. The hurricane deductible is typically expressed as a percentage, 2-5%, but higher percentages are available. It is a percentage of the covered amount, not a percentage of the loss. For example, if your home is insured for $200,000 and your hurricane deductible is 2%, you would need to pay the first $4,000 in damages before the insurance company begins to pay for damages. According to Florida Statute 627.4025, a hurricane means a storm system that has been declared a "hurricane" by the National Hurricane Center or the National Weather Service. A named tropical storm does not trigger the hurricane deductible. According to the Florida Statutes, the duration of a hurricane in which the hurricane deductible would apply includes the time period:
Beginning at the time a hurricane watch or warning is issued for any part of Florida by the National Hurricane Center.
Continuing for the time period during which the hurricane conditions exist anywhere in Florida; and
Ending 72 hours following the termination of the 1st hurricane watch or hurricane warning issued.
To assist you with hurricane preparation, the following documents are available for download:
Ahead Of The Storm (Hurricane Prep Guide)
Ahead Of The Storm (Prepare Your Pets For A Hurricane)