Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Roof Damage from a Hurricane?

As the recent hurricane bore down on the East Coast, homeowners were scrambling to find their homeowners insurance policies to find out whether the impending damage would be covered. They were asking questions like, “Does homeowners insurance cover roof damage from a hurricane? What about flooding?” Those are good questions and we at Roofing Tutor some good answers.

Some Hurricane Damage is Covered

Most standard homeowners policies cover some of the damage from a hurricane.  Hurricane insurance, per se, doesn’t exist.  Policies don’t differentiate between wind storms, tropical storms, hurricanes, thunderstorms, etc.

Wind damage from a hurricane will be paid for by the umbrella coverage of most policies.  If the wind tears off a roof, tears shingles or other roofing material from a roof, or if it tears off roofing material and then rain causes additional damage to the roof and home, this damage will be covered under most policies.  A hurricane causing a tree branch to damage your roof will be covered.  Large hail falling as a hurricane bears down can damage a roof and that damage will be covered.

However, since we’re focused on roof damage from a hurricane, that isn’t a concern here.  It is worth noting however, that in low-lying coastal areas, flooding is the cause of the worst and most expensive damage.

To summarize, special insurance is not needed to cover roof damage from a hurricane.  However, insurance from the National Flood Insurance Program, a government-backed insurance program, is required to be protected from flood damage during a hurricane.

Special Provisions in Your Homeowners Policy

While the vast majority of insurance policies cover roof damage from a hurricane, there may be special provisions in some policies which make the insurance more costly.  Quite a bit more costly in some cases.  In areas where high winds are prevalent, a special windstorm rider or policy may be necessary, with higher than normal deductibles.  These are not very common in coastal areas, but some have them.

What is more common are higher deductibles on your standard homeowner policy.  In areas where hurricanes occur most often, many homeowner insurance policies have a deductible that is equal to 3% to 5% of the home’s value, rather than being a specific dollar amount.  In these areas, insurance premiums may not be higher, but if a hurricane damages a home, the out-of-pocket expenses for the homeowner will be significantly higher. For example, if the roof of a $200,000 home is destroyed, instead of paying a $100 to $1,000 deductible, the homeowner might pay a $10,000 deductible.

Summary

Do you live in an area where hurricanes are a normal possible condition? If your home may be in the path of a hurricane, your umbrella homeowner policy should cover damage to your roof and subsequent damage to your home.  Read your policy over and if it is not clear, contact your insurer.   If you don’t already know, you may want to find out if your policy carries a higher deductible in the event of roof damage caused by a hurricane. As for flood insurance, you can check it out at FloodSmart.gov.  Being properly insured ahead of time for any possible damage to your roof or home will give you peace of mind whenever stormy weather appears in the forecast. Having a up to date copy of your insurance policies is of vital importance. We suggest you keep a copy away from your home in a safety deposit box or at another location.

 

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