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Learning Center Experience
By Jennifer Martin,
CPCU, Property-Casualty Insurance Subject Matter Expert
Kaplan University School of Professional and Continuing Education Published August, 2014
The Atlantic hurricane season is now in full swing. If you
live in a hurricane-prone state, you should check your insurance coverage
before a storm hits to be certain you have adequate coverage. Hurricane damage may result from wind, rain, wind-driven rain,
flooding, or storm surge. For optimum protection against these losses, it is
recommended that homeowners purchase more than one type of insurance policy:
policies typically cover damage from wind, rain, and, in certain circumstances,
wind-driven rain. They do not cover loss from flooding or storm surge.
Wind-driven rain is rain that blows into a building through an
opening in the building. This damage is covered under standard homeowners
policies, but only if the wind first causes damage to the building that allows
the rain to enter.
Here’s an example. If
you accidentally leave a window open during a hurricane and rain blows through
the window, any resulting damage is not covered. However, if the rain enters
through a window that was blown out by the storm’s high winds, the resulting
damage would be covered.
Homeowners insurers writing policies in areas at high risk
for hurricanes may exclude wind damage altogether. If your policy excludes
windstorm, it is recommended that homeowners purchase a separate policy to
cover this peril.
Your policy may also have a separate windstorm deductible or named
storm deductible. A windstorm deductible is a deductible that applies to
damage caused by any type of wind, such as wind from a thunderstorm or a winter
storm. A named storm deductible applies only to damage caused by storms that
have been officially named by the U.S. Weather Service (e.g., Hurricane
Katrina, Tropical Storm Allison).
Windstorm and named storm deductibles are usually expressed as a percentage of
the total insured value on the property, such as 2 percent or 5 percent, and
apply in addition to the standard
policy deductible. So, if your policy includes a separate windstorm or named
storm deductible, you may have to pay two deductibles after a hurricane.
If you are unsure about how your homeowners policy would
respond to damage from a hurricane, contact your insurance producer or
Homeowners who want
protection against flooding and storm surge need to purchase a separate flood
insurance policy. Most flood insurance policies are written through the
National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). You can buy a flood insurance policy
directly from the NFIP or through private insurers that participate in the
specifically define what is considered a flood:
covers overflow of inland or tidal waters and unusual and rapid accumulation or
runoff of surface waters from any source. However, the flood must be a general
and temporary condition of partial or complete inundation of two or more acres
of normally dry land area or of two or more properties (at least one of which
is yours). Note that the NFIP considers any type of damage from wind-driven
rain to be windstorm-related and not a flood.
Significant property damage may also be
caused by storm surge.Storm
surgeis the change in the water level that is due
to the presence of the storm, over and above the predicted astronomical tide.
Storm surge is caused primarily by the strong winds in a hurricane or tropical
storm pushing water toward the shore.
If you live in an area that is at high risk for flooding, your
mortgage provider may have required you to purchase flood insurance. For more information,
contact your insurance producer or the NFIP at http://www.fema.gov/national-flood-insurance-program.
If your home is damaged in a hurricane, contact your
insurance producer or insurance company as soon as possible. Your company will
send an adjuster to investigate your claim and determine the cause of loss.
Tropical storms. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.weather.com/outlook/weather-news/hurricanes/articles/tropical-storm_2010-08-04
Frequently asked questions. (2014). Retrieved from https://www.floodsmart.gov/floodsmart/pages/faqs/is-flood-damage-from-wind-driven-rain-covered.jsp
What is storm surge? (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/hurricane/resources/surge_intro.pdf
Jennifer Martin, CPCU, is a property-casualty subject matter
expert at Kaplan University School of Professional and Continuing Education. She has a Bachelor of Arts
degree in English from Purdue University.
expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not represent
the view of Kaplan University.
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