Hearing a lot about hurricane and flood insurance lately? Hurricane and flood insurance seem to be the topic on the top of everyone’s mind since Hurricanes Michael and Florence slammed the Southeast this year.
Florida residents and coastal residents are getting more familiar with hurricane and flood insurance and what it does and doesn’t cover. But what about Florida property owners from Canada? Do they too need hurricane and flood insurance on their homes? What if they are only living in them seasonally, then how does that affect their hurricane and flood insurance?
Owning property in Florida comes with the risk of flood and hurricanes. Even the inland areas of the state such as Orlando and the surrounding suburbs are at risk for flood and hurricane damage. The best defense against it is to have proper hurricane and flood insurance. Every property owner in Florida should be aware of the risks and take measures to protect their home with hurricane and flood insurance.
Hurricane and Flood Insurance for Vacation Homes
Many Canadians and others from the North enjoy keeping a Winter home in Florida. Mild temperatures, beautiful beaches and lots to do calls many Northern residents to leave their homes in the Winter to soak up some sun in Florida.
Just like the primary residence though, a vacation home in Florida must be protected. Hurricane and flood insurance is wise even for vacation homes and for residents from Canada.
What is the difference between hurricane and flood insurance?
Hurricane is a covered cause of loss under certain types of property insurance. Hurricane coverage may be included in a homeowner or renters’ policy, or it may be purchased as a separate policy known as a wind-only policy.
Flood insurance is typically purchased from the National Flood Insurance Program. Some insurance companies in Florida offer a flood endorsement that can be bought and added on to a standard homeowner’s policy.
The primary difference is hurricane insurance protects your home if it’s damaged in a hurricane. Flood insurance kicks in if you suffer from a flood event. They are separate coverages, but both hurricane and flood insurance are needed to protect your home in Florida.
What do hurricane and flood insurance do?
From an insurance standpoint, hurricanes and floods have specific definitions. The definitions must be satisfied for your hurricane and flood insurance to kick in and cover any damage you may have to your home.
The National Flood Insurance Program defines a flood as:
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 your property) from overflow of inland or tidal waters, from unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters from any source, or from mudflow.
A flood policy responds only under those conditions. A hurricane can cause a flood, but if your home is damaged from the flood, you’ll need flood insurance to protect it. That’s why it is important to have both hurricane and flood insurance.
Under a homeowner’s policy, a hurricane is covered under windstorm damage. Windstorm coverage kicks in to cover home damage from hurricanes, tornadoes or other named storms. The coverage usually includes protection for your home and other structures such as garages.
Windstorm coverage may not come as part of your standard homeowner’s policy depending on where the home is located. In some areas in Florida, homeowners will need a separate policy known as a wind-only policy.
Because floods can often follow windstorms, hurricane and flood damage are crucial to protecting your home.
How do hurricane and flood insurance deductibles work?
Your hurricane and flood insurance come with their own deductibles. A flood policy can have a deductible ranging from $250 up to $5,000. A hurricane deductible can be expressed in a dollar figure, such as $2,500 or it may be a percentage deductible. A hurricane percentage deductible is a percentage of the coverage limit on your home. For example, say you have a 5 percent hurricane deductible, and the coverage limit on your house is $150,000, your windstorm deductible is $7,500.
A flood insurance deductible is typically a flat dollar amount. There are times when you may need to use both your hurricane and flood insurance, so choose your deductibles carefully.
Hurricane and flood insurance requirements
If you purchase a home in Florida, your mortgage company may have some hurricane and flood insurance requirements. If your property is in an area at high risk for flood, you may need both hurricane and flood insurance.
High-risk flood areas in Florida aren’t only along the coastline. Canadians who own property in inland areas are also vulnerable to flooding. If you are purchasing a property in Florida, be prepared to purchase both hurricane and flood insurance protection. It may be required by your lender, and it’s the only way to get true comprehensive hurricane coverage.
How do flood zones affect hurricane and flood insurance?
The Federal Emergency Management Agency creates flood zones. They are illustrated on flood rate maps. The zone where your property is located will indicate if your lender will require flood insurance.
Florida flood zones that are labeled B or X are said to represent low to moderate risk of flood. Homes in these areas will likely not have specific lender requirements on flood and hurricane insurance.
Still, homeowners who want the most comprehensive flood and hurricane insurance protection should purchase flood insurance no matter what zone they live in. Moderate flood zone areas give rise to more than 20 percent of flood claims. There truly is no area in Florida that is safe from flood and hurricane risk.
Hurricane and flood insurance are the only way to protect your home form a hurricane
Having both hurricane and flood insurance is the only way to truly protect your home from risk in Florida. Flood can often accompany or follow hurricanes in the form of storm surges or even relentless rain that swells river, creeks, and ponds. Even Canadians who own property in Florida must protect it with the proper hurricane and flood insurance.