Wind and hail are the leading cause for property damage, and thus home insurance claims, in the U.S. Any type of wind that can cause light damage to trees, buildings, homes or other property is considered a windstorm. Wind speeds during a windstorm can exceed 34 miles per hour. While a windstorm can be part of a hurricane, it can also be a separate event.
Most homeowners insurance policies cover wind damage to your property, but if you live in a coastal area that is prone to damaging winds, you may be required to add a rider to your policy and pay a higher deductible for wind damages caused by named storms. It is important to note that flood damage from a storm will require a separate policy altogether.
Windstorm insurance in Florida
Windstorm insurance is not required in Florida. However, when you apply for a mortgage in Florida, your lender may require it, especially if you live in a coastal location prone to windstorms. If you are a new Florida homeowner, adding windstorm insurance may be good to consider, even if you aren’t near the beach.
Florida experiences many strong windstorms each year, especially during hurricane season. Florida requires that property insurers include some coverage for windstorm damages in their homeowners, renters or condo insurance policies, but how much you pay for protection from windstorms will vary by location. If you own property right in front of the beach, you will most likely pay higher rates.
Do I need windstorm insurance?
Windstorm insurance covers property damage and dwelling by strong winds, rain, hail, dust and other substances caused by windstorms. Although Florida’s law does not require homeowners to obtain windstorm insurance, many mortgage lenders do. Additionally, even if your lender does not require windstorm insurance, you could end up saving more down the road, as windstorm damage can become costly. If you live in an area prone to hurricanes or other wind-related weather, it is probably a good idea to ask your insurance provider if you have adequate protection from wind-related damage in your policy.
How much does windstorm insurance cost?
Windstorm insurance is handled differently by different carriers, and costs vary depending on several factors such as location, type of policy, insurance provider and your home’s value. Some insurance providers will simply charge you a separate deductible in the event of wind damages.
If you live in a coastal area, prices will be higher than average. The average rate for a standard homeowners policy in Florida is $1,353 per year for $250,000 in dwelling coverage. Kin Insurance, for instance, refers to its wind coverage as a hurricane deductible that is a percentage of your dwelling coverage rather than a flat amount. So, for $250,000 in dwelling coverage, if your hurricane deductible were two percent, you would pay $5,000 out-of-pocket for damages. However, these deductibles can sometimes be as much as 10 percent — which would cost you $25,000 if storm winds damage your home.
How do I get windstorm insurance?
Under Florida law, insurers that provide coverage for any property must also include coverage for windstorm damages in their policies. However, homeowners that live in an area more prone to windstorms may have difficulty obtaining a policy with broader wind insurance coverage.
Most home insurance companies in Florida offer windstorm insurance for an additional fee or a higher deductible. Some of the best home insurance companies in Florida that also offer windstorm insurance include USAA, Amica Mutual, Travelers and AAA.
If you have trouble finding wind insurance, you might want to look at the Florida Market Assistance Program (FMAP), a free service that helps Floridians find windstorm insurance. Through the FMAP, you can research several property insurance providers who also offer windstorm insurance. You can also opt-out of receiving windstorm coverage by submitting a written request. This may lower your insurance cost, but you may end up having to pay more in the future in the event of a windstorm.
Ways to save on windstorm insurance
Although windstorm insurance can hike up your insurance costs quite a bit, there are several ways that you can save on windstorm insurance. There are also several state programs to assist homeowners in lowering their costs.
Florida Hurricane Damage Mitigation Program
The Florida Hurricane Damage Mitigation Program (FCHDMP) helps Florida home and property owners reduce their risk of property damage from windstorms, reducing insurance rates.
By Florida law, any homeowner with wind and hurricane-resistant features is entitled to wind mitigation credits, enabling them to receive a discounted insurance rate for windstorm coverage. A windstorm mitigation inspector will check for features such as proper roof covering, wind-resistant windows and doors, hurricane shutters, and more to qualify for wind mitigation credit.
The more wind mitigation credit you qualify for, the greater the discount you will receive from your insurance company. During the inspection, the inspector may even suggest a few more preventative add-ons to your home to further reduce your insurance costs.
Ways to protect your home from windstorm damage
Florida homeowners can protect their homes from damaging winds to reduce the impact of a windstorm further. Additionally, by taking protective measures to the features of your home, you can also reduce your insurance rates. A few ways that homeowners in Florida can protect their homes include the following:
- Install storm shutters.
- Trim the trees.
- Ensure proper sealing of windows, doors and garage.
- Ensure proper roof covering and clear gutters.
- Install wind-resistant doors and windows.
- Install roof-to-home attachments.
Frequently asked questions
What is the average cost of home insurance?
The average annual cost of home insurance in 2021 for a $250k dwelling was $1,312. Florida homeowners pay on average about 3% more than the national average, with an average cost of $1,353.
What are the best home insurance companies?
The best home insurance companies depend on where you live and what you need. It is a good idea to select several insurance companies and then shop around to compare quotes and coverage options before purchasing a policy. Bankrate chose some of our favorite providers in Florida as a place to start.
Is windstorm insurance required in Florida?
Although windstorm insurance is not required by Florida law, it may be required by your mortgage lender. Even if it is not, if you live in an area that sees frequent winds, it is always a good idea to ensure that your homeowners insurance policy covers any wind damage to your property or belongings.