The Weather Network warns that warmer than normal sea surface temperatures off the eastern coast
of the U.S. as well as the Gulf of Mexico mean that the Atlantic hurricane
season this year has the potential to be a powerful one. This month, the
Tropical Meteorology team at Colorado State University updated its April
prediction of 13 named storms to 15, with six of those storms becoming
hurricanes and two being major ones. With the most active hurricane months
still in front of us, this is a good time to review your homeowner’s
insurance and familiarize yourself with your policy.
Homeowners in 19 coastal states including Florida have separate storm deductibles,
instituted by insurers to limit their exposure to losses caused by hurricanes
and tropical storms. Hurricane deductibles are percentage or dollar deductibles
that are higher than for other causes of loss, are fixed by state law,
and apply only once during a hurricane season.
By Florida law, all insurers must offer a hurricane deductible of $500, two percent,
five percent and ten percent of the policy dwelling or structure limits.
The percentages are based on the total value of the home. Property insurance
rate filings must include mitigation discounts or credits for personal
and commercial residential properties.
You may be able to lower your hurricane insurance costs by installing:
- Wind-resistant roofing
- Garage door braces
- Storm shutters
- Hurricane straps, clips, or anchor belts
- An extra layer of waterproofing between your roof’s shingles and
These storm deductibles are triggered by windstorm losses resulting only
from a hurricane declared by National Weather Service and “apply
for damage that occurs from the time a hurricane watch or warning is issued
for any part of Florida, up to 72 hours after such a watch or warning
ends and anytime hurricane conditions exist throughout the state.”
That’s right. Standard homeowner policies only cover wind damage
(some also cover wind-driven rain damage). Flood damage requires another
policy offered by some insurance companies and the National Flood Insurance
Program (NFIP). A 30-day waiting period from date of purchase is typically
required before coverage goes into effect, so planning ahead is crucial.
The NFIP offers a one-step flood risk profile for those who want to estimate their risk or premium.
Standard homeowner’s insurance policies typically provide coverage
for dwellings, unattached structures, personal property, loss of use,
personal liability, and medical payments. In order to be adequately covered,
the general guideline is that your home should be insured for the amount
it will take to rebuild at current prices for building materials and labor
costs. When it comes to personal property, a room-by-room inventory can
be invaluable if a hurricane strikes. Consider using free online software
that makes creating and keeping a home inventory easy by visiting
We Can Help
Insurance policies are legally binding contracts under which both parties
have obligations. You pay your premiums and expect the insurer to compensate
you fairly if you need to file a claim. Unfortunately, insurance companies
are businesses, and they want to pay the claim for as little as possible
– sometimes offering only a fraction of the claim’s true value.
Here at Stabinski and Funt, P.A., we handle a wide range of hurricane-related insurance cases. Whether you
have a storm surge, wind damage, roof damage or water penetration insurance
claim on your residence or business, we are prepared to fight for you
against insurance companies that have wrongfully denied or delayed claims,
or failed to adequately cover the damage. If you are trying to put your
life back together after a hurricane or have more questions about this
topic, trust your case to the attorneys at Stabinski & Funt, P.A.
For 45 years, we have helped people understand their rights under the
law. Contact us by calling 305-964-8644 or
filling out a free case evaluation form.