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Florida windstorm insurance: everything you need to know

Updated Apr 02, 2024
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Key takeaways

  • Windstorm damage is typically covered in a standard homeowners, condo or renters insurance policy.
  • Florida homeowners are not legally required to obtain homeowners insurance, but most mortgage lenders may require you to obtain coverage.
  • If you already have a homeowners insurance policy, ask your insurance agent to review the policy and identify any gaps in coverage.

The top causes of homeowners insurance losses in the U.S. are wind and hail, which accounted for 39.4 percent of the claims made in 2021, according to the Insurance Information Institute (Triple-I). In Florida, most homeowners are aware of the dangers of wind damage, especially those who live near the coast and are subject to hurricanes and tropical storms. Although homeowners insurance policies cover wind damage, it may require a separate deductible for damage caused by named storms determined by the National Weather Service.

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Windstorm insurance in Florida

Wind insurance in Florida is not a separate policy, even though it's a high-risk state. A standard homeowners, condo or renters insurance policy will cover windstorm damage.

However, carriers might have a separate “named storm” deductible. This means that if you’re a homeowner, the damage caused to your home by wind is typically covered under your standard homeowners insurance deductible. However, a separate deductible applies in cases where damage is caused by a “named storm,” such as a hurricane or tropical storm.

Florida insurers must offer a $500, 2 percent, 5 percent and 10 percent deductible for named storms. Percentage deductible amounts would be determined by applying the percentage to your dwelling coverage amount. So, for $250,000 in dwelling coverage, if your hurricane deductible were 2 percent, you would pay up to $5,000 out-of-pocket for windstorm damage caused by a named storm.

There are a few exceptions to the hurricane deductible amounts that an insurer might offer you:

  • Homes insured between $100,000 and $249,999:
    • An insurance company might provide a $500 deductible option.
    • Instead, they could offer a policy that ensures they will not nonrenew for a 12-month period, with a potential hurricane deductible up to 2 percent.
  • Homes insured at $250,000 or more:
    • The $500 hurricane deductible option may not be available.
    • Insurance companies are required to provide deductible options of 2 percent, 5 percent or 10 percent for hurricanes.
  • Homes insured between $1 million and $3 million:
    • Insurers may offer hurricane deductible options of 3 percent, 5 percent and 10 percent, providing an alternative to the usual 2, 5 and 10 percent choices.
  • Homes insured for more than $3 million:
    • The insurance provider is only obligated to offer hurricane deductibles of 5 percent and 10 percent, focusing on higher deductible options for these high-value properties.

Florida Statutes on windstorm insurance

The 2023 Florida Statutes set clear guidelines for windstorm coverage:

  • Coverage is a must-have: In Florida, insurance policies for homes must include protection against wind damage. This is important because it helps homeowners cover the costs if their property is damaged by wind from storms or hurricanes.
  • Opting out is an option: Homeowners have the choice to not include windstorm coverage in their policy. To do this, they need to write a clear statement to their insurance company, saying they understand they'll be responsible for any windstorm damage themselves.
  • Lender's approval is key: If the homeowner still owes money on their home through a mortgage or lien, they must get permission from their lender to exclude windstorm coverage. This step ensures that the lender is aware and agrees with the homeowner's decision to not have this coverage.
  • Personal belongings can also be excluded: For homeowners who aren't living in condos or renting, there's the option to not insure their personal belongings against windstorm damage. They need to inform their insurance provider in writing if they choose this.
  • Your signed statement matters: Keeping a signed document where the homeowner states their coverage choices serves as proof that they made an informed decision. This document is crucial, especially when there's a need to review coverage decisions.
  • Decisions stick with you: Once a homeowner decides about their windstorm coverage, that decision applies for the duration of the insurance policy. Changes to coverage preferences are generally made when the policy is up for renewal.
  • Accessibility for all: The law takes into account homeowners who might have disabilities, ensuring there are alternative ways for them to communicate their coverage choices to their insurance providers. This ensures everyone can make informed decisions about their windstorm coverage.

Do I need windstorm insurance?

Florida wind insurance is baked into your home insurance, which covers property and structure damage caused by windstorms. Although Florida’s law does not require homeowners to obtain insurance, most mortgage lenders do. Additionally, even if your lender does not require homeowners insurance, you may end up saving more down the road by having a policy, as property damage caused by windstorms or other perils can become costly. If you live in an area prone to hurricanes or other wind-related weather and have an active home insurance policy, it is probably a good idea to ask your insurance provider if your policy has adequate protection from wind-related damage.

Read more: Best homeowners insurance companies

How much does windstorm insurance cost?

The average cost of homeowners insurance in Florida is $1,884 per year for $250,000 in dwelling coverage. This is well above the national average of $1,687. Cost can vary significantly depending on what parts of Florida you live in, though.

The Florida insurance landscape has faced challenges, which have left some government and industry experts worried about a possible collapse of the market. Notably, fraudulent lawsuits and the escalating frequency of natural disasters have led some insurers to exit the market. This has complicated the search for home insurance for many residents, with remaining insurers raising rates to sustain operations.

However, a positive turn came in January 2024, with news that six insurers are set to enter the Florida market, signaling potential relief and more options for homeowners. Despite these developments, homeowners are advised to proactively maintain their properties and invest in protective measures like window reinforcements and sturdy garage doors. Such mitigation efforts can not only safeguard the home but also potentially lead to more favorable insurance rates.

How do I get windstorm insurance?

Under Florida statutes, insurers that provide coverage for any property must also include coverage for windstorm damage in their standard property policies. However, homeowners that live in an area more prone to windstorms, such as coastal communities, may have difficulty qualifying for coverage through a standard Florida carrier and might need to obtain a policy through Florida’s state-backed FAIR plan, Citizens.

If you have trouble obtaining windstorm insurance, you might want to look at the Florida Market Assistance Program (FMAP), a free service that helps Floridians find homeowners insurance.

Ways to save on windstorm insurance

Living in a higher-risk area can hike up your insurance costs quite a bit, but there are ways you may save on homeowners insurance costs. There are also several state-run programs to assist homeowners in lowering their costs, such as programs to help homeowners offset their risk of windstorm damage. In addition, Florida requires that insurers offer windstorm credits, which can help add to savings. Lastly, you may be able to carry a higher windstorm insurance deductible, but remember that a higher deductible means more expenses are paid out of pocket in a claim situation.

Florida Hurricane Loss Mitigation Program

The Florida Hurricane Loss Mitigation Program helps Florida home and property owners reduce their risk of property damage from windstorms, which may reduce insurance rates. Grants are available for mitigation efforts such as retrofits, inspections and construction or modification of building components that help a residential or commercial building better sustain hurricane winds.

Wind mitigation credits

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 most likely check for features such as proper roof covering, wind-resistant windows and doors, wind-rated garage doors, hurricane shutters and more to qualify for wind mitigation credit.

The larger the wind mitigation credit you qualify for, the greater the discount you will receive from your property 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 help protect their homes from damaging winds to reduce the impact of a windstorm. Additionally, by adding protective measures to the features of your home, you may also reduce your insurance premium. A few ways that homeowners in Florida can help protect their homes from damage caused by severe wind include:

  • Installing storm shutters.
  • Trimming the trees and removing dead or damaged ones, or those that are closer to the home than the height of the tree.
  • Ensuring proper sealing of windows, doors and garages.
  • Having proper roof covering and clear gutters.
  • Reinforcing your roof with hurricane straps that attach the roof to your home’s walls.
  • Installing wind-resistant doors and windows, as well as wind-rated garage doors.
  • Reviewing your procedures for securing outdoor objects such as dog houses, garbage cans and picnic tables in the event of a storm.
  • Bolting manufactured housing to the foundation using anchor bolts.

Frequently asked questions

Written by
Ashlyn Brooks

Ashlyn Brooks is a finance writer with more than half a decade of experience, known for her knowledge in areas such as taxes, insurance, investing, retirement, finance news, and banking products.

Edited by Editor, Insurance
Reviewed by Director of corporate communications, Insurance Information Institute