Wind and hail are the leading cause for property damage, and thus home insurance claims, in the U.S., according to the Insurance Information Institute (Triple-I). Any type of wind that can cause light damage to trees, buildings, homes or other property is considered a windstorm. While windstorms are typical elements of hurricanes and tropical storms, they can also be a non-tropical event generated by a convective storm or a strong cold front.
Most homeowners insurance policies in Florida cover wind damage to your property. Florida home insurance policies also typically include windstorm coverage, but require a separate deductible for wind damage caused by named tropical cyclones as designated by the National Weather Service. It is important to note that flood damage from a storm requires a separate policy.
Windstorm insurance in Florida
Windstorm insurance is not required in Florida. However, when you apply for a mortgage in Florida, your lender most likely will require it, regardless of whether you live near the beach or in an inland community.
Florida experiences many strong windstorms each year, especially during hurricane season. Florida regulations require that property insurers include 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 near the beach, you will most likely pay higher rates than areas well inland.
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, most 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 your policy has adequate protection from wind-related damage.
How much does windstorm insurance cost?
Windstorm insurance is handled differently by different carriers, and costs vary depending on several factors such as location, insurer, type of policy, your home’s value and the deductibles you choose. Some property insurers will simply charge you a separate deductible in the event of wind damages.
The average cost of homeowners insurance 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 2%, you would pay $5,000 out-of-pocket for wind damages. However, these deductibles can sometimes be as much as 10% — which would cost you $25,000 if hurricane winds damage your home.
How do I get windstorm insurance?
Under Florida statutes, insurers that provide coverage for any property must also include coverage for windstorm damages in their standard property policies. However, homeowners that live in an area more prone to windstorms, such as coastal communities, may have difficulty obtaining a policy with broader wind insurance coverage.
Most property insurers in Florida offer windstorm insurance for an additional premium with a separate 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 obtaining windstorm insurance, you might want to look at the Florida Market Assistance Program (FMAP), a free service that helps Floridians find windstorm insurance. Through FMAP, you can research several property insurers 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 property insurance costs quite a bit, there are several ways that you can save on windstorm insurance. There are also several state-run 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 most likely will check for features such as proper roof covering, wind-resistant windows and doors, wind-rated garage door, hurricane shutters and more to qualify for wind mitigation credit.
The larger 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 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 premium. A few ways that homeowners in Florida can protect their homes from damage caused by severe wind events includes:
- Installing storm shutters.
- Trimming the trees.
- Ensuring proper sealing of windows, doors and garage.
- 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 door.
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 home insurers in Florida as a place to start.
Is windstorm insurance required in Florida?
Although windstorm insurance is not required by Florida law, it most likely will be required by your mortgage lender. Even if you don’t have a mortgage, you might want your homeowners insurance policy to cover any wind damage to your property and belongings so that you are financially protected from catastrophic storm losses.
Does windstorm insurance include flood coverage?
Flood insurance needs to be purchased separately from property insurance and windstorm coverage. Most flood policies are typically sold and serviced by property insurers but underwritten by FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program. More than 30 private insurers also offer flood coverage to Florida homeowners.