Do Most Insurance Policies Cover Hurricane Ian Damage?
Recent disaster from Hurricane Ian have left many people with little to no insurance coverage for their homes or cars. For some, they were able to obtain renters’ insurance due to the fact that their home is considered a rental property.
For most individuals, however, hurricane damage does not qualify as “rental property” under your standard renter’s policy. This can be tricky when you need to make a claim!
Fortunately, we are here today to help you determine if your homeowner’s insurance will cover hurricane damage. In this article, I will go over some important points about how much coverage you may have already received and what could potentially be covered under your policy.
I will also review some easy ways to verify your current insurance coverage before making any claims.
Definition of hurricane damage
Many people assume that their insurance policy will always cover any kind of natural disaster. They may be wrong!
In fact, not every hurricane has enough strength to make it onto land as a strong tropical cyclone. This is called wind driven flooding.
Wind driven flooding happens when powerful winds cause water to rise due to pressure differential. For example, if you are walking down the street and your friend comes running up to you with a glass bottle, that’s usually seen as normal behavior.
But what if I told you that your friend was trying to hit you with his/her empty hand and the liquid in the bottle happened to break just then? That would probably get you thinking more carefully about safety.
Hurricane-strength winds can occur at sea level. Therefore, even if a storm does pick up altitude, it may still be able to do some serious damage before it gets rid of its name.
This article will talk more about how strong a hurricane needs to be to qualify as an intense weather event and whether or not your coverage includes flood damage. It will also discuss why many people believe that all hurricanes have been categorized correctly.
Types of damage
Beyond broken windows and doors, flooding can cause major issues. Flooding that occurs due to excessive rain is typically referred to as rainfall-related floodings. These are usually covered under homeowner’s insurance policies.
Damage caused when water gets in through an open window or door is called wind-driven flooding. This is not considered a case of “flooding” but rather “windstorm” coverage.
In some cases, a significant storm will produce enough hail to break glass, which also constitutes a claim for vandalism. In these instances, both homeowners’ and renters’ insurance may cover it.
Another type of hurricane related flood is flash flooding, where very heavy rains combine with already saturated soil. Flash floods occur quickly (often within minutes) and frequently require evacuation. They happen because the ground has become too wet and the flow of water cannot be contained.
Contents loss – this includes things like ruined clothing, missing jewelry, and destroyed belongings
Structural losses include things like collapsed roofs or walls, or floors that have given way.
What most people don’t realize about property damage from hurricanes is how little actually needs to be replaced to consider it ‘rebuilt.’ For example, if you lose your refrigerator and you buy another one, that’s a replacement.
Your home is likely covered
Although many homeowners’ policies do not include hurricane coverage, that does not mean your house is unprotected! In fact, most homeowner insurance policies cover some sort of property damage caused by a natural disaster.
Most standard homeowner policies will at least partially reimburse you for losses such as furniture, clothing, jewelry, and other personal belongings damaged during the storm. They may also cover repairs to structural components like walls and roofs.
Some types of coverage can be more expensive than others
It is very important to understand what kind of coverage you have under your policy before making any renovations or changes to your home. For example, if your policy includes flood coverage, then it makes sense to consider investing in coastal protection measures like sand bags or seawall structures.
However, although these additions are usually covered under your policy, they will almost always increase the overall price of your policy.
You may have to pay out of pocket
Even though many homeowners’ insurance policies contain hurricane coverage, it is very rare that this coverage actually pays for damage caused by hurricanes. A lot of reasons can play a factor in this, such as the type of homeowner’s policy you have, whether or not there has been significant rain recently, etc.
In fact, only one quarter of all homes are even equipped with basic property coverages like wind protection, which most people consider essential. Almost two-thirds of homes are totally unprotected against high winds!
Since having adequate hurricane coverage can be expensive, it is important to know what types of protections your home owner’s insurance policy includes. It is also important to understand how much coverage you need to make sure your house is protected properly.
You should have a plan in place
Recent natural disasters show that even though many people claim their insurance policy does not cover hurricane damage, this is rarely the case! More often than not, you will find that your coverage can at least partially cover certain losses.
In fact, according to an article published by The Hartford, “More than half of all homes affected by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria were covered with some level of wind or hail damage liability.”1 This means that if your home was damaged due to winds, then your homeowners insurance may be able to help you fix it and restore it.
If storm debris caused additional property damage, typically under homeowner’s policies, these costs are usually included as part of the yard hazard coverage. However, depending on what kind of policy you have, you may also have building coverage which covers repairs and replacements for curbside or sidewalk exposure.
This could include things like fencing or new siding, for example.
As we all know, natural disasters can be devastating for those affected by them. Unfortunately, most insurance policies do not cover much when it comes to hurricane damage.
Most homeowner’s coverage is limited to only specific areas of the home (the basement or garage), and none at all for personal property. Many renters are left with no coverage whatsoever due to what they describe as a “gap in coverage.”
This gap includes everything from furniture and appliances to clothing and hobbies. For instance, many homeowners’ policies will not cover replacing lost belongings because it is considered part of your house.
Record rainfall and storm surges
Recent hurricanes have left many people with no home, and those that do have a house often face expensive repairs or even red flagging of their property.
Many homeowners’ insurance policies do not cover damage caused by heavy rain, wind, and/or sea water, which is typically what makes it into someone’s home during a hurricane. This can be very frustrating for anyone who has just rebuilt their life after a loss and wants to make sure they get the most value out of their homes.
Fortunately, we are able to help you determine if your policy does or doesn’t include this coverage!
To assess this, I will use an example. Let’s say that my friend was insured through Allstate and her home got flooded due to excessive amounts of rain. Now, she would like to know whether or not her policy covers flood damage.
Ally would also like to know how much her policy covers. She believes that her policy only covers up to $2,000 per room in terms of coverage, but she wanted to double check. So, she called us at InsureMyHouse to see what we could tell her!
We cannot speak directly onto her policy, so we will have to create our own using similar policies!
Our experts used two different policies as references to find out whether or not flooding is covered. One was from State Farm and the other was from Allstate.
Find out your policy limits
As mentioned before, knowing how much coverage you have is the first step in assessing if or not your hurricane damage claim has been denied. It’s also important to know what kind of coverage you have.
Most insurance policies contain two types of coverage: “Specialized” and “General liability.” A speciality policy will cover only one thing — like fire or vehicle damage protection for your car. If you need help understanding or negotiating with your insurance company in Fort Myers you may want to consider hiring a public adjuster in Fort Myers.
But general liability policies typically include more than just that. These usually cover things such as medical expenses, lost income due to property loss, and additional living expenses (ALE) after a house repair.
It’s very common for people to be unaware of the exact scope of their coverage because it can vary from company to company and even underwriters at different companies.