What is hurricane insurance coverage?
Florida law (Fla. Stat. § 627.0629(6)), requires hurricane windstorm
damage coverage to be included in residential property insurance policies.
It states, "Insurers may not write residential property insurance policies
without providing windstorm coverage or hurricane coverage."
Under Florida law, hurricane coverage is defined as coverage for damage or
loss caused by hurricane windstorm peril. In referencing Florida Statute
627.4025(2)(a), it includes interior property damage inside a home or
building created by direct force from rain, hail, sleet, sand, snow, or
dust that created an opening by which these weather-related events caused
Under state law, "windstorm" is defined as rain, hail, gusty winds,
cyclones, or tornadoes caused by hurricanes which result in direct property
damage or loss. Florida insurance law defines "hurricane" as an official
storm system declared by the National Hurricane Center. The hurricane
duration in Florida starts from the time a hurricane watch or warning is
issued anywhere in Florida by the National Weather Service's National
Hurricane Center, and continues for 72 hours after the end of a hurricane
watch or warning issued by the National Hurricane Center anywhere in the
Windstorm damage must be covered by homeowner's insurance policies under
Florida insurance law. Florida Statute 627.712 states that insurers
providing insurance policies to residential owners must make windstorm
coverage available. Claims unrelated to hurricane damage may see higher
deductibles, but coverage is still possible.
In Florida, roof or siding damage caused by wind is covered by typical
homeowner insurance policies. Also, hurricane damage in Florida has a fixed
percentage deductible based on the value of the policy. The deductible must
be satisfied before the policy can pay for damages.
Insurance companies may use this rule to their advantage in an effort to
limit payouts after a hurricane. They may be more likely to issue smaller
settlements or deny legitimate claims.
Therefore, it is important to review details of your insurance policy
carefully to understand coverage limits and if a separate policy is needed.
Doing so helps you learn if the insurance agency is being honest if they
issue a low settlement offer or deny your claim.
Can hurricane related damage be covered by my flood insurance?
This depends on what caused damage to your property. Homeowner's insurance
or windstorm policies may cover most claims, but after a hurricane, flood
damage is possible. A "flood" is defined by Florida law as a temporary,
partial, general, or complete water accumulation of normally dry land (two
or more acres) or two or more properties with at least one being of the
- Tidal waters overflowing inland;
- Water or surface runoff from any source resulting in rapid or unusual
- Mudflow; or
- Erosion or wave currents causing substance collapse along the land, lake
shores, or similar body of water exceeding cyclical levels defined as a
Meaning, in Florida, damage must occur as described in the previous four
points mentioned as it relates to terms in your flood insurance. For
instance, homeowner's insurance may cover water damage from a pipe burst
resulting from the property being hit by hurricane-related debris or wind,
instead of by flood insurance because rising waters did not cause the
How is replacement coverage and cost value determined?
Check terms related to replacement coverage to see your entitlements. You
may be protected under Florida Statue 626.9744, which states that when
homeowner's insurance adjusts and settles first-party losses related to
replacement or repair costs they may apply to these requirements:
(1) When an item or part requires replacement or repair, upon the
occurrence of physical damage while making the replacement or repair that
is covered by your policy and not excluded, is included in the loss within
appropriate limits. The insurer is obligated to pay the applicable
deductible unless there are limitations in the policy, but by code or
ordinance may not be liable to pay betterment.
(2) When replacement items for a loss lack quality, size, color, or do not
match what is required to make repairs or replacement, the insurer is
required to make sensible replacement and repair of items for adjoining
areas. During repair and replacement determination in adjoining areas,
costs related to repair and replacement of undamaged property could be
assessed by the insurer, including the remaining use of portions undamaged
and similar factors.
What if my insurance carrier files bankruptcy?
The Florida Insurance Guaranty Association (FIGA) assumes policies of
insurance carriers in bankruptcy or deemed insolvent, according to Florida
law. Existing claims will be covered according to Florida's FIGA statue
meeting the following obligations:
A. Before bankruptcy arbitration occurring within 30 days after debt
B. Prior to date of policy expiration less than 30 days after insolvency
C. Prior to policy cancellation or replacement by the insurer within 30
days of determination.
Based on original policy terms your payout may be assessed by FIGA with a
$100 deductible. Claims more than $100 but less than $300,000 may be
covered by the guaranty, with the exception of homeowner's insurance
required to provide $200,000 additional coverage toward structural or
content damage claims.
We can assist in processing your claim if your insurance carrier files
bankruptcy or is overseen by FIGA. Our hurricane insurance lawyers have
years of experience working FIGA claims and will fight to ensure your
settlement claim is justified.
What are common types of hurricane and tropical storm damage?
Hurricanes produce heavy rains and strong winds. Populated areas look like
war zones after they move through. Strong winds uprooted trees, bring down
power lines, ripping shingles off rooftops, and litter streets with debris
while mangling road signs.
Damage extent from a hurricane depends on the storm's strength which ranges
from one to five based on wind speed. There are five hazards (storm
categories) people should look for when assessing property damage no matter
how strong the storm.
The strength of a hurricane is determined by wind speed; it's most
threatening hazard. The Saffir-Simpson Wind Scale measures wind speed and
uses number categories to distinguish strength levels and the kind of
damage you can expect with each.
A category-1 hurricane has winds sustained above 74 mph. The winds are
strong enough to cause damage to vinyl siding, shingles, gutters, and
roofs. Tree branches can snap, and shallow trees get blown over or
uprooted. Power outages may result from downed poles.
A category-2 hurricane has winds sustained above 96 mph. The winds are
strong enough to cause severe damage to roof and siding of homes, power
lines, and uproot trees.
A category-3 hurricane has winds sustained above 111 mph. The winds cause
widespread damage worse than a category-2 storm while uprooting trees and
leaving areas without water or power.
A category-4 hurricane has winds sustained above 131 mph. The winds cause
severe structural damage to homes including rooftops and exterior walls.
Trees are uprooted and snapped with downed power poles. Some residential
areas become difficult to travel through by rescue workers.
A category-5 hurricane has winds sustained above 155 mph as the most
threatening storm of all. In the United States, only three category-5
storms made landfall including Andrew in 1992. Well-built homes could get
demolished. Walls and roofs can collapse. Trees are uprooted or topped
over. Road signs and lose debris become hazardous projectiles.