Every year, hurricanes cause millions of dollars worth of damage to Florida homes and businesses. Hurricane insurance can be complicated, and laws about it have changed several times during the past few years.
The important question to ask yourself is, “if a hurricane wallops my area, can I afford to rebuild my home?”
For most of us, that answer is “no,” so we need to be sure our hurricane insurance policies cover us properly.
Hurricanes cause property destruction in three basic ways: wind, wind-blown rain and flooding. Most hurricane policies cover damage from wind and wind-blown rain, while flood insurance is a separate coverage.
The amount of damage correlates directly with the fierceness of the storm. A Category 1 hurricane is the least damaging and a Category 5 storm is the worst.
During a hurricane, the soft breeze that cools you down on a warm evening becomes a giant child hurling missiles at your property. Lawn furniture, tools, equipment, tree limbs, even cars and entire trees can pierce windows, doors, walls and roofs.
Broken windows are the most common type of hurricane damage, because even a Category 1 storm can toss anything that isn’t tied down through your expensive glass.
Missing roof tiles and lifted roofs are also common.
Additional types of wind damage include:
- Doors, including garage doors, blown in
- Damaged siding
- Missing roof turbines
- Loss or damage to personal items
- Sheds, porches, carports or other outbuildings blown over or damaged
When rain has hurricane-force winds behind it, it can get into your house in unexpected ways. Holes in the roof, gaps in the chimney, windows or doors, and access along electrical, phone or cable TV lines are just a few of the ways rain can find its way inside.
Wind-blown rain can damage walls, ceilings, floors and personal property, and short-circuit your electrical system.
Flooding refers to a “general and temporary … partial or complete inundation,” according to the NFIP (National Flood Insurance Program).
If a hurricane dumps enough rain onto the ground and into our rivers, streams, and storm runoff systems, flooding will occur.
After the storm ends, you can find your home inches deep in water and accompanying mud. If flooding and winds are severe enough, they can damage your home’s foundation and cause septic tank leakage.
Flooding also brings disease, vermin, snakes and insects.
It can ruin appliances and electronic equipment, furnishings, clothing, floors and floor coverings, and walls.
If the floodwaters mix with electricity, they can also cause fire.
What Will it Cost to Repair Your Home?
Construction costs are estimated using square footage so you need to know how big your house is. If you’re not sure, check your property tax records – the number of square feet under roof will be specified.
Once you know your home’s square footage, you can estimate rebuilding costs by multiplying that number by the average cost per square foot for building, remodeling or renovation in your area.
Building-Cost.net can give you an estimate for new construction based on specifications you provide. You might be shocked to find the cost of rebuilding to be more than your home is worth in today’s market!
And, of course, that amount doesn’t include the cost of cleanup and repairing or replacing personal property, or paying for you to live someplace else while cleanup and repairs are going on.
In a nutshell, that’s why you need to be sure your hurricane insurance provides adequate coverage to protect your home investment.
Our knowledgeable homeowners insurance agents can review your policy and make sure you have proper hurricane and flood insurance coverage. Don’t wait until a named storm is on its way – it will be too late to put a policy in place then.