Florida is home to plenty of extreme weather.
Do you have enough hurricane insurance to protect your family?
Here in Florida, we avoid the blizzards, avalanches, tsunamis, and dust storms that plague other parts of the country, but the Sunshine State makes up for it with some extreme storms.
Windstorm damage—caused by hurricanes, tropical storms, thunderstorms and tornadoes—are behind some of the costliest home insurance claims in Florida. Not only do strong winds uproot trees, but they can pull shingles off your roof; send debris slamming into your house, cars, and windows; and tear down freestanding items like fences.
As Florida residents, we’re all vulnerable to the damaging effects of these weather conditions, which is why it’s so important to make sure your family and your personal property are protected. But there is a lot you need to understand about hurricane insurance if you want to have full peace of mind.
What Is “Hurricane Insurance”?
Before you call up your independent agent to ask for a hurricane insurance policy, you should know that—for most Florida homeowners—your standard homeowners insurance policy may already be enough.
These policies typically cover a broad range of perils, such as fire, lightning, theft, and yes…wind.
Even the most basic forms of home insurance offer coverage from hurricanes. But dwellings on Florida’s barrier islands and certain other coastal areas will need a separate wind insurance policy.
In certain areas that are prone to severe windstorms, hurricane damage may be excluded from your standard policy. If this is true for you, you will need to acquire a separate windstorm policy to make sure you are protected.
Is Your Standard Home Insurance Enough?
Even if you don’t live on the coast, you may still need supplemental insurance to protect against hurricane damage.
While wind and hail are covered by most homeowners policies, storm surge and other floods are not.
Hurricanes and tropical storms are notorious for their high wind speeds and torrential rains, which cause water to enter your property from above. However, hurricanes also pose the threat of water entering your home via the ground.
And, when it comes to insurance, water damage and flood damage are two very different things.
As we’ve mentioned before, flood insurance is definitely worth the extra premiums. FEMA guidelines are broad enough that, even if the three inches of water in your living room were caused by a hurricane, your loss could still be labeled a flood (and therefore not covered by your standard homeowners policy!).
Flooding can happen anytime, anywhere, so it’s important to make sure you’re covered against these threats.
What About Hurricane Deductibles?
Another thing to keep in mind is your hurricane deductible.
Here in Florida, most home insurance policies have two deductibles—one for general losses and another (usually much higher) just for named hurricanes. As you might expect, hurricane deductibles work a little differently.
While a typical deductible is a set price, your hurricane deductible is based on a percentage of the insured value of the dwelling. For example, if your home is insured for $250,000, your hurricane deductible would likely be $5,000.
Unfortunately, a lot of people take a cursory glance at their DEC page, see a $1,000 deductible, only to find out later (when filing a claim) that they have two different deductibles. That is why it’s vital that you find an experienced insurance agency to handle your policies.
At Harry Levine Insurance, we make sure you understand the ins and outs of your policies, to make sure there are no surprises if you experience a loss.
In some ways, life in the Sunshine State is paradise on earth: beaches, palm trees, year-round warm temperatures, and no snow!
You may think that living through the occasional hurricane is a small price to pay for that, but the financial cost of putting your home together after a storm can take a devastating toll on your family if you’re not properly prepared or protected.
At Harry Levine Insurance, our goal is to forge lifelong relationships with our clients so they not only get the best coverage, they know exactly what they’re paying for.
We’ve been helping Floridians protect their assets for over 30 years. We’ve built trust in the community that has spanned over decades.
Whether you live on the coast and need extra hurricane protection, or are inland and need to understand your policy better, we are here for you. Give us a call today to discuss your insurance needs and to make sure you have adequate protection in the event of a catastrophe.