In many cases, homeowners’ insurance that you might purchase for a home in South Florida will cover damage to your home caused by wind and rain from a hurricane. However, depending on the company you choose and other circumstances specific to you and/or your home, you may be required to obtain a special rider on your homeowners’ insurance policy or to pay a deductible in the event of hurricane damage to your home. As South Florida is a high-risk area for hurricanes, you can almost certainly expect to be required to pay a deductible for coverage for hurricane-related damage.
While most homeowners’ insurance policies in Florida will cover hurricane damage, you should be aware that homeowners’ insurance does not cover damage caused by storm surge or floods that are caused by a hurricane. To cover that damage, you will need to purchase separate flood insurance (in many low-lying areas of South Florida, if your home is subject to a mortgage you may be required by the bank to purchase flood insurance in addition to homeowners’ insurance).
In a homeowners’ insurance policy, a deductible usually refers to a fixed amount of money, such as $1500, that a homeowner must pay out of pocket for damage before insurance coverage will kick in for the balance of the damage costs.
Hurricane deductibles work in a similar fashion. When you claim damage due to hurricane winds or rain or your insurer determines that your property was damaged by hurricane winds and/or rain, you will be required to pay out a separate hurricane deductible before you will be paid out any coverage for your property damage. Unlike traditional deductibles that are a fixed dollar amount, hurricane deductibles are often calculated as a percentage (usually one to five percent, but sometimes higher depending on the risk of damage) of the total coverage you have on your home. For example, if your home is covered up to $500,000 and you have a two percent hurricane deductible, you will have to pay out $10,000 in deductible before your insurer will cover the remainder of your loss.
Are Hurricane Deductibles Required in Florida?
Florida is among one of several states where insurers typically require a hurricane deductible — almost all of these states, like Florida, are located along the Gulf of Mexico or the East Coast of the U.S.
Insurers will typically declare that a hurricane deductible has kicked in when the National Weather Service names a hurricane system, through the end of a 72-hour period following the expiration of any hurricane watch or warning for Florida. Insurers will also often pause issuing or updating policies when a tropical system is named by the National Weather Service or when a hurricane watch or warning is issued for Florida.
The specific rate of your hurricane deductible is typically negotiable with the insurance company — if you want a lower deductible, you will have to pay a higher rate for your homeowners’ insurance. Some insurance companies may even allow you to eliminate the hurricane deductible altogether and significantly reduce your homeowners’ insurance cost, but only at the cost of removing any coverage for damage from wind and rain from hurricanes.
Filing an Insurance Claim
You should notify your insurance company that your property has suffered damage or destruction as soon as practical following a hurricane. Conduct a walk-through of your property to determine what has been damaged, and be sure to take photos of the damage for the insurance adjuster. You should also take reasonable efforts to effect temporary repairs to your property to prevent further damage; be sure to keep invoices and receipts so that you can seek reimbursement from the insurance company.
Contact a Fort Lauderdale Hurricane Damage Lawyer to Discuss Your Homeowners’ Insurance Case in Florida
Did your home or other property sustain serious damage due to a hurricane in Florida? Don’t let the bills pile up while you wait for the n insurance company to do the right thing. Right now, you need an aggressive attorney on your side, fighting to get you the compensation you need, want, and deserve. The skilled attorneys at Lawlor, White & Murphey represent clients in Pembroke Pines, Pompano Beach, Weston, Coconut Creek, and throughout Florida. Call 954-525-2345 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at 2211 Davie Boulevard, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33312, as well as offices in Pembroke Pines, Weston, Coconut Creek, Plantation, and Pompano Beach.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.