What Is Windstorm Insurance?

Hurricane Insurance Explained

Large tree uprooted and leaning on roof of a house after a tornado hit
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Windstorm insurance is usually an add-on policy for homeowners insurance. It provides protection if a wind event such as a hurricane damages your home or personal possessions.

While basic windstorm damage is typically covered by standard homeowners policies, people living in certain places might be required by their mortgage lender to purchase additional coverage through a windstorm insurance policy.

Here is more information about this type of insurance, including who needs to purchase it.

Definition and Examples of Windstorm Insurance

Windstorm insurance is a supplemental policy you can add to your existing homeowners insurance. Also known as hurricane insurance, this type of policy helps cover you if a severe windstorm, hailstorm, or hurricane damages your home. It’s typically required by mortgage lenders as a condition of the loan for property owners who live in certain locations, such as along the U.S. Gulf Coast or in specific coastal states.

Basic homeowners insurance policies don’t cover every type of peril or natural disaster. Depending on where you live, you may need to purchase additional insurance for hurricanes, windstorms, and floods. You can also opt to purchase additional coverage for earthquakes, although it isn’t legally required.

Because windstorm insurance may not cover flooding or storm surges from a wind event, it might make sense for you to purchase a flood policy as well. In fact, if you live in an area that’s prone to both windstorms and flooding, your lender may require you to purchase both types of insurance policies. That way, your home is protected from more natural disasters.

Let’s say you live along the Florida coast, where you’re required to have windstorm insurance. A hurricane comes through, taking the roof off your house. The rain that comes in causes a lot of damage to your second floor. The storm also causes a surge of water to rush into your home, flooding the basement and main floor.

Your windstorm insurance would cover the physical damage to your home. Your insurer may also cover the things on the second story damaged by the rain that came in after the roof was blown off. Check your policy to be sure.

However, because the storm surge wasn’t directly caused by wind damage to your home, the flood damage in your basement and main floor wouldn't be covered unless you had a separate flood policy.

  • Alternate name: hurricane insurance

How Does Windstorm Insurance Work?

Windstorm insurance covers damage from wind events. If your home is damaged by an included peril, you start the process of reimbursement by filing a claim with your insurance policy. Before you file the claim, take video and photographic evidence of the damage. You also need to include proof of the storm, so gather any official news sources that verify the information. There may be a time limit for claims, so be sure you file a claim quickly.

Typically, windstorm insurance policies include both wind and hurricane deductibles. Others offer a named-storm deductible as well. The type of deductible you pay depends on the variety of storm that caused damage to your home. For instance, hurricane deductibles typically apply to damage from a named storm. Your insurance agent can help you navigate the differences.

Regardless of the storm type, it’s important to note that windstorm insurance deductibles are typically calculated based on a percentage of your home’s total insured value. You usually get to select a percentage between 1% to 5% for your deductible, although your insurance company may have different procedures.

Here’s an example: You elect to have a 2% deductible and your home is insured for $250,000. Your deductible would be $5,000. So if a hurricane caused $30,000 worth of damage to your home and the items inside, your check from your insurance company would be the approved amount minus your deductible, or $25,000.

Typically, the higher your deductible, the lower your premium will be. Selecting a higher deductible can help you save money. However, this means you will have more out-of-pocket expenses if your home is damaged.

What Does Windstorm Insurance Cover?

Windstorm insurance policies cover the inside and outside of your home if it’s damaged by severe wind events. This includes your personal belongings, your home’s physical structure (roof, windows, walls, etc.), and other buildings on your property.

However, it does not cover damage related to floods and storm surges. In an intense wind event, such as a hurricane, both wind and water damage may occur. Windstorm insurance would only cover water damage in your home that occurred as a direct result of the wind damage.

Do You Need Windstorm Insurance?

Those in low-risk areas are likely to have windstorm insurance included as part of their standard homeowners insurance. But residents in coastal cities and other high-risk zones may need to purchase a separate policy if they want protection.

If a major storm is on the way, you may not be able to buy windstorm insurance until after it passes. There may also be a waiting period for adding this coverage to your homeowners policy. To ensure you’re protected, buy this policy well before storm season arrives.

You also may be required to have windstorm insurance by your mortgage lender as a condition of your loan. Even if you aren’t required, it’s a wise investment if you live in an area prone to windstorms, hurricanes, tornadoes, or other wind-related disasters. You can speak to your insurance agent to see if this coverage is right for you.

Key Takeaways

  • Depending on where you live, damage from wind and hail might be excluded from your standard homeowner insurance policy.
  • If this damage is excluded from your policy, you need to purchase an add-on policy to ensure your home is covered from damages of a wind event.
  • Windstorm insurance doesn’t cover storm-surge damages, and it may or may not cover flooding caused by wind damage. If you’re at risk for these perils, you may need a flood policy as well.
  • Windstorm insurance deductibles are typically a percentage of your home’s total insured value.