Hurricane Insurance Information

Hurricane Insurance FAQ

Q:  Can homes be protected against wind damage?

A:  Yes, there are hurricane clips for roof to wall connections, window opening protective shields, and roof to ground tie down systems.  Some homeowner’s insurance companies provide premium credits for these types of retrofits.

Q: What type of damage is covered under my homeowner’s policy versus a hurricane policy?

A: The language contained inside the policies outlines what triggers a hurricane policy to become effective. Most companies have a “72-hour clause” which means that once a hurricane “watch” or “warning” is issued by the Central Pacific Hurricane Center of the National Weather Service,  damage sustained during the 72-hour period following the announcement will be covered under a hurricane policy.

Policyholders should talk with their insurers to find out the specific language in their policy that references when a hurricane policy will be triggered.

Q: How is your hurricane insurance premium calculated?

A: The premium is based on the construction type of the dwelling and the deductible for the coverage. Discounts are often provided if homeowners take the necessary precautions to mitigate damage to the home caused by a hurricane, including the installation of roof clips and foundation anchors.

Q: Is having hurricane insurance purely optional?

A: Lenders will require it if there is a mortgage on the property. For homeowners that own their property outright, it is optional. However, homeowners without mortgages are encouraged to consider purchasing a policy. As we saw with Iselle, the time to worry about being adequately protected is not during a storm. It is hard to predict the type of damage that can be caused by a hurricane, and it is better to be proactive by protecting your property and belongings.

Q: What kind of damage would hurricane insurance cover and not cover?

A: Flood damage is not covered under hurricane insurance. The type of coverage varies based on the insurer. Consumers should review their policy to see what is specifically included and excluded in their coverage. Speak with your agent before a storm hits to get a better idea of what type of coverage you have, and the potential out-of-pocket expenses that might be incurred.

Q: What should people do if they have a claim?

A: Homeowners that need to file a claim should:

  • Check for damage
  • Secure your property to prevent further damage (keep receipts for any materials used)
  • Report your damage to your insurance company or agent (make a claim)
  • Submit proof of loss forms or other claim forms if requested by your insurance company
  • Set damaged items aside for later review/inspection by your adjuster
  • Don’t begin permanent repairs until damage is inspected by your adjuster or told to do so by your insurer
  • Work with your adjuster and contractor to estimate the cost of repairs
  • Receive settlement checks and begin repairs

Q: How does the claims process work?

A: Once a claim is filed, the insurance company will assign a claims adjuster to assess the damage and determine the payment. We encourage homeowners to jot down notes and keep track of the dates of any conversations between the insurance agent and/or adjuster.

If there are disagreements, review the policy and findings with the insurance company and negotiate a settlement. If an agreement isn’t reached, consumers can contact the Insurance Division.

Q: What happens if my deductible exceeds the amount of damage to my property and belongings?

A: If the damage is estimated to be less than the deductible, the policyholder won’t receive a check from the insurer and must pay for the repairs and/or replaced items out-of-pocket.

If the amount of damage exceeds the deductible, the insurance company will issue a check for the amount less the deductible. Policyholders do not need to come up with the money for the deductible to receive a payment from the insurance company.

It is important to review the deductible amount when a policy is purchased to ensure that this amount can be paid in the event of a disaster.

For more information and hurricane preparedness tips, click here.