insure logo

Why you can trust

quality icon

Quality Verified

At, we are committed to providing the timely, accurate and expert information consumers need to make smart insurance decisions. All our content is written and reviewed by industry professionals and insurance experts. Our team carefully vets our rate data to ensure we only provide reliable and up-to-date insurance pricing. We follow the highest editorial standards. Our content is based solely on objective research and data gathering. We maintain strict editorial independence to ensure unbiased coverage of the insurance industry.

Home insurance for hurricane damage involves multiple policies covering the various risks associated with hurricanes. While home insurance generally covers damage from wind and rain, in some states, an additional windstorm policy may be necessary, and there may be a hurricane deductible on your standard policy. Flood damage, which is common during hurricanes, requires a separate policy.

Hurricane insuranceAfter a hurricane is the worst time to discover you don’t have the right coverage, so review your coverage and ensure you have the right policies in place before hurricane season.

Below, we’ll answer all of your questions about hurricane insurance and how to ensure you’re covered.

Key Takeaways

  • Hurricane insurance is really a combination of policies that cover damage from wind, rain and flooding.
  • Home insurance covers windstorm damage in some areas, while in some areas additional windstorm coverage is required, and in some states home insurance policies have a hurricane deductible.
  • Flood damage is never covered by home insurance; you will need to buy flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program or a private company.

What is hurricane insurance?

Hurricane insurance is a combination of policies that provide coverage for the many types of damage caused by a hurricane.

For the best possible hurricane coverage, you’ll need homeowners and flood insurance and may also need additional coverage for windstorm damage. Damage to your home from high winds is usually covered under your standard homeowners insurance. However, if you live in a hurricane zone or on the coast, you may be required to get an additional rider or separate policy to cover your home in the case of a hurricane.

While water damage from rain that gets into your home through roof or window damage is covered by standard homeowners, overland flooding like a storm surge is not covered. It’s vital to have flood insurance if you live in a hurricane-prone area.

What does hurricane insurance cover?

As noted, hurricane insurance is really a combination of policies that cover different things. Here’s a quick rundown of common examples and which policy is involved.

  • Although there are exclusions, your standard homeowners insurance policy will cover your home and personal property from weather damage, including wind, rain and hail.
  • In some high-risk areas, you may need an additional windstorm policy or endorsement.
  • Flood insurance covers overland flooding including bodies of water overflowing their banks and storm surges, but your standard home insurance policy does not.
  • Due to heavy rains, you could experience a sewer backup in your home. Many homeowners insurance policies exclude sewer backup. But you can ask to add this coverage to your policy as a rider or endorsement if it is not covered.
  • Most homeowners, renters, or condo insurance policies include coverage for additional living expenses if your home is damaged and you can’t live there during repairs on a covered claim.

Will homeowners insurance cover hurricane damage?

Not even the best home insurance policy will cover every kind of hurricane damage. That’s because there is no so-called hurricane insurance. Instead, if you live in a hurricane-prone area, you may need a mix of policies – home, wind, and flood, which serves as your hurricane insurance.

Where you live can impact your hurricane insurance needs, as well. A standard homeowners insurance policy covers damage caused by windstorms, hurricanes, and hail in most of the U.S., provided you don’t waive the coverage.

But if you live where hurricanes hit the coast, an insurance company may require separate windstorm insurance or wind and hail insurance to ensure coverage for damages from wind or wind-blown water.

What types of damage are not covered by hurricane insurance?

Standard homeowners insurance policies don’t cover flood damage.

“This is the biggest misperception that homeowners have (about flood insurance), and it only gets worse if there is a dispute after a storm if the water intrusion resulting from wind damage (blowing in water) or flooding. You want to get a flood insurance policy, so there’s no dispute over the origins of the water damage,” says Michael Barry, a spokesperson for the Insurance Information Institute, an insurance industry association.

You may also need to buy windstorm insurance in some situations.

The hurricane insurance included with your homeowners policy will also not cover water and sewer backup unless you have an endorsement for it, and won’t cover mold that forms as a result of an excluded peril. So, if your home floods due to a storm surge, not only won’t home insurance cover the water damage, it won’t cover any mold that grows as a result.

Mold from covered perils is covered, but there are limitations.

Does flood insurance cover hurricane damage?

Rising water or any water that enters the home from the ground, as with a storm surge, is considered flood water. A separate flood insurance policy covers flood water, including floods from hurricanes. The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is the most popular source of flood insurance, but you can buy it from private companies as well.

What protection does the National Flood Insurance Program provide?

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is the biggest provider of flood insurance policies in the U.S. Here are some of the highlights of an NFIP policy.

  • Flood policies have a 30-day waiting period from the time of purchase to when it goes into effect, with exceptions for flood map changes.
  • Building property (structure) coverage tops out at $250,000 for residential buildings ($500,000 for commercial).
  • Personal possession coverage is capped at $100,000.
  • Damage to basement improvements, decks, pools, walkways, trees, or shrubs (landscaping) isn’t covered.
  • Additional living expenses you might incur – such as hotel and food expenses – aren’t covered by the NFIP flood policy.

“Supplemental flood policies are available from some private insurance companies around the country. However, you can only buy excess flood insurance, which comes with much higher limits, after you have purchased a base NFIP flood policy,” says Jeanne Salvatore, senior vice president at the Insurance Information Institute.

Are there special deductibles to pay for hurricane insurance claims?

Hurricane-prone areas often have hurricane deductibles associated with home insurance claims. To limit their losses, insurance companies in coastal states have homeowners take on more of the risk by attaching a higher, percentage-based hurricane deductible instead of a flat-dollar deductible.

In 19 states and the District of Columbia, hurricane deductibles can be used:

  • Alabama
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Mississippi
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • Texas
  • Virginia
  • Washington D.C.

What are hurricane insurance trigger events?

A trigger event puts hurricane insurance deductibles into effect. Triggers vary by state and by insurance company.

For example, in Connecticut, the legal trigger is when the National Weather Service (NWS) declares a hurricane that records winds of 74 miles per hour or more. The hurricane deductible remains in effect until 24 hours after the last hurricane warning terminates for any part of the state or 24 hours after the hurricane is downgraded from a hurricane by the NWS.

The National Hurricane Center provides forecasts and hurricane updates in your area.

What are typical hurricane insurance deductibles?

A common amount for a hurricane deductible is 2%, but some are as high as 5% of the value of the insured home.

Remember, your deductible is the out-of-pocket amount before your insurance pays its share of a claim. In Florida, insurers will apply your hurricane deductible on an annual basis. This means if you had to submit multiple claims due to numerous storms, you’d only have to meet the hurricane insurance deductible once per calendar year.

Once you reach the hurricane insurance deductible, the insurer can only apply your standard homeowners insurance deductible, typically a flat amount. “Deductibles vary from company to company and state to state, so everyone needs to read their policy or speak to an agent or company representative to find out exactly what the hurricane deductible is and when it applies,” Salvatore says.

How much does hurricane insurance cost?

You need both standard homeowners insurance and flood insurance to have complete hurricane insurance coverage, and possibly additional windstorm coverage. Flood insurance costs vary by your location. Insurance for a home in a flood zone will cost more than a home outside of a flood area.

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) reports that the average cost of flood insurance is $859 per year.

For nearly every ZIP code in the country,’s analysis of rates from top insurers found the average cost of homeowners insurance to be $2,601 for a home insurance policy with $300,000 in dwelling coverage and $300,000 in liability insurance.

Your costs will vary based on your location and the specifics of your home.

Can you get hurricane insurance during hurricane season?

You can buy hurricane insurance at any time of year. However, a moratorium goes into place when the federal government issues a tropical storm or hurricane watch, during which your insurance company will no longer offer additional insurance coverage.

Flood insurance policies don’t take effect immediately and have a 30-day waiting period with exceptions for changes in flood zone maps.

Is my home covered for hurricane damage if I leave it?

Hurricane insurance, including home, windstorm, and flood insurance, applies whether you stay or evacuate your home. You should, however, prep your home if you flee from the storm (and remember to take insurance paperwork with you so it won’t be damaged or go missing in the hurricane).

If you have storm shutters, put them on or use plywood to cover the windows. If you can, move loose outdoor items inside, such as patio furniture, potted plants, and garbage cans, so they won’t become flying projectiles.

It’s also wise to unplug appliances and turn off the electricity and your home’s main water valve. If you must leave or evacuate your home, tell someone — a friend or relative not in the storm-affected area — where you’re going. And don’t forget to take your emergency supplies, warm clothing, blankets, and sleeping bags.

How to make a hurricane insurance claim

After a hurricane, insurance companies are inundated with claims. Take the following steps to make sure your claim is processed smoothly.

  • Contact your insurance company. Many companies will have increased staffing after a hurricane, but be prepared for hold times. You may be able to file a claim online or via a mobile app. You may have to file multiple claims against homeowners, flood and windstorm insurance.
  • Take photos of the damage. Before you do anything else, take photos of the damage to provide to the insurance company.
  • Follow all instructions. The insurance company will assign you an adjuster who will let you know what the next steps will be. Follow their instructions and gather any documentation requested.

What should I do after I file an insurance claim?

Once it’s safe to do so, take measures to prevent further damage to your home. For example, if a window is broken, seal it to prevent more water from coming in. If you have a hole in your roof, place a tarp over it.

If you fail to take reasonable measures to stop any further damage from occurring after a storm, your insurance company may refuse to pay for the added costs

Keep a record of any temporary repairs and save receipts for all expenses, such as buying plywood and nails to board up a broken window. You’ll need the information when you file an insurance claim.

Here are some additional claim tips:

  • Take inventory of property and possessions. Compare the inventory list that you prepared before the disaster to your new list – before-and-after photos and videos are also very helpful to insurers. If possible, collect any receipts or proof of payment that proves the value of damaged items.
  • Keep detailed records. Document conversations with your insurer. List the dates, times, and descriptions of your conversations with your insurer, adjuster, and those repairing your home. Make sure to jot down your adjuster’s name and contact information.
  • Obtain repair estimates from trusted contractors. Get written bids, including details of all materials used and prices, on a line-by-line basis from licensed contractors. Don’t make permanent repairs and keep all damaged property until insurers have inspected your losses.
  • Keep receipts. If you make temporary repairs or have to relocate from your home while it’s being repaired, keep records of your expenses since they will likely be covered by your homeowners policy.
  • Negotiate. If you don’t think your insurance company has offered you a fair settlement, don’t be afraid to negotiate with your insurer. If you can’t agree, you can take action by consulting an attorney or hiring a licensed public adjuster to act on your behalf. You can also contact your state’s insurance regulator to check your consumer rights and make a complaint if necessary.
author image
Les Masterson


Les, a former managing editor, insurance, at QuinStreet, has more than 20 years of experience in journalism. In his career, he has covered everything from health insurance to presidential politics.