Is Wind Damage Covered by Home Insurance in Florida?

In a state like Florida where hurricanes and other tropical storms can wreak havoc in very little time, protecting your home is critical. Standard home insurance includes coverage for wind damage in most cases, but there are also separate policies for windstorm damage that can be purchased by those who need them.

The best place to start when it comes to protecting your home from wind damage is to learn about the different insurance options and how they work. 

In 2020, as many as 45.5% of all home insurance claims were made due to wind and hail damage, which are two of the most common causes of loss for Floridians and others around the United States. Making sure that you have the right coverage is critical so that you can get reimbursed for damages and keep your home protected from these elements. 

Those who live along the 825 miles of Florida’s coastline may be required to have specific windstorm insurance or “named storm coverage” that protects against tropical storm and hurricane-force winds and their related damages. If you have been the victim of wind damage and you need to file a claim, you should start by knowing what your policy covers. Step one is to call your insurance company and report the claim. 

Here’s what you need to know to help you through the process. 

What Can Wind Damage Do?

The wind is a dangerous beast. Simple breezes are nice, but when winds pick up and they maintain sustained high speeds, they can lead to all kinds of potential damage. The stronger the winds, the more damage will be caused. Even without hurricane-force winds, Florida homeowners may experience a lot of damage due to windstorms, straight-line winds, and other wind events:

  • Damage to trees, shrubs, and landscaping
  • Loss of roof shingles
  • Tree branches or small tree damage 
  • Trees snapping under severe sustained winds
  • Damage to siding, brick exteriors, etc. 
  • Windows can break or become damaged
  • Damage to power lines and poles, leading to widespread power outages
  • Damage to vehicles from falling trees or objects
  • Damage to homes from fallen or uprooted trees 
  • Small mobile homes can be damaged or completely overturned

Wind is serious business and when it kicks up, Florida homeowners need to make sure that they’re ready with the appropriate insurance coverage and protection for their homes. 

Wind Damage in Standard Home Insurance Policies

Standard home insurance will cover wind and weather damage to a certain degree. Wind is just one of the natural elements and the way that it can damage homes and businesses varies but can be serious. All standard home, renters, and condo insurance policies will cover damage from wind and windstorms in the state of Florida. However, there may be a separate deductible or type of coverage required when the damage is related to a tropical storm or hurricane. 

Windstorm coverage in your standard policy will cover damage to the structure as well as any personal property damage. The unique thing to note here is that Florida law does not require homeowners to have insurance. Mortgage companies usually do require this coverage, though, so be sure to know what’s expected. And more importantly, protect your home with the right insurance even if it’s not a “requirement” because it’s your best investment. 

In a state like Florida, there’s lots of beautiful weather to enjoy. However, there is also plenty of peril throughout the year, due to tropical storms, heavy rains, flash floods, and the occasional hurricane, where winds can reach an excess of 75-160mph sustained, leading to all kinds of damage. That’s where you might want separate coverage. 

Separate Windstorm Insurance in Florida 

If Florida homeowners require additional coverage for wind damage, it will usually come in the form of an additional deductible. This means that your policy will cover wind damage no matter what, but if it’s due to a storm, it could require a separate named storm deductible. 

In Florida, insurance companies are required to offer named storm deductibles in the following amounts:

  • $500 
  • 2% of coverage
  • 5% of coverage
  • 10% of coverage

Thus, if your home insurance coverage includes $250,000 for dwelling coverage and your deductible is 5%, you’ll need to pay a $13,000 deductible before the named storm damage kicks in. This is why you’ll want to pay special attention and get the lowest deductible possible for your policy. That way, you’ll have lower out-of-pocket costs before the insurance kicks in. 

Hurricane Wind Categories 

Hurricanes and tropical storms can cause catastrophic damage in several ways, namely due to the sustained force of winds over hours and even days. There are five categories of hurricane wind damage classified by the National Hurricane Center on what is known as the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale:

CategoryWind SpeedsDamage
174-95mphRoof and siding damage, tree branch debris, power lines, and pole damage are likely
296-110mphMajor roof and siding damage, uprooted and snapped trees, near-total power loss
3111-129mphRoof decking and gable damage, uprooted trees and major blockages of roadways, electricity and water loss for several days to weeks
4130-156mphCatastrophic home damage, fallen trees and power poles, extreme flooding, areas left uninhabitable for weeks or months
5157mph + Total destruction of homes, fallen trees and power poles, major power, water, and other outages, areas left uninhabitable for weeks or months 

If you’ve ever stood outside during the start of a tropical storm or hurricane and felt those winds picking up, imagine what it feels like when they reach these speeds and can sustain them for extended periods. There is so much damage that can happen, and understanding the type of storm and its severity can help you properly file your insurance claim for wind damage related to hurricanes in Florida. 

Florida Hurricane Mitigation and Wind Credits 

There is also a program for property owners known as the Florida Hurricane Damage Mitigation Program, or FCHDMP. This program is designed to help property owners reduce risks related to wind damage, which can help reduce their insurance rates. There are grants available for inspections, retrofits, and modifications of buildings that will help improve the structure’s ability to sustain high winds and avoid major damage. 

Property owners should check out this program and find out how they can protect their homes with some simple tips and steps. Additionally, if the home features hurricane-resistant or wind-resistant elements, homeowners are eligible for wind mitigation credits, which help drive down the cost of their insurance premiums. 

Wind inspections will cover things like roofing, windows and doors, hurricane shutters, and other features that can protect the home from high winds. The larger the credit offered, the bigger your discount will be on your property insurance premium. And as a bonus, the inspector might even offer additional tips and insight during the process so that you can protect your home even better than you already are. 

Protect Your Home from Wind Damage in Florida 

Florida homeowners have a lot of options to protect their homes from damage caused by high winds, whether they’re from a tropical storm or not. After all, being proactive is a lot more effective than reacting to storm damage and having to clean up or rebuild every single time. Plus, if you don’t take preventive action and know wind damage is likely, some insurance companies will refuse to pay because you didn’t do your due diligence to protect your home. 

In any case, here are some of the best ways to protect your Florida home from wind damage related to windstorms, hurricanes, and more. 

  • Install storm shutters all around the property to cover all windows and doors. Make sure that they’re easy to engage and have them inspected and maintained regularly to ensure they’re in working order when you need them. 
  • Trim trees, remove dead trees, and clear branches that are hanging over the house or near the roof. That will help prevent damage from falling trees or branches. 
  • Make sure all windows, doors, and garage doors are properly sealed, weather-stripped, etc. This will help prevent wind from penetrating the windows and doors of your home and keep them in good condition. 
  • Keep gutters clean and inspect the roof regularly. Add hurricane straps to attach the roof to the walls for additional protection, too. The top of the home is usually the most susceptible to wind-related damage during hurricanes and sustained windstorms. 
  • Install wind-rated garage doors, windows, and doors in your home. This can save you from having to replace them or have them repaired after a windstorm. 
  • Make sure manufactured housing is bolted to the foundation with anchor bolts. This will reduce the risk of rollover or serious damage due to sustained winds. 
  • Review the plans for securing your outdoor objects and keep loose items indoors during a storm (garbage cans, tables, and chairs, firepits, dog houses, etc.). 

These steps will help you protect your home from any manner of wind damage and the potential issues that it can cause. 

Get a Review of Your Wind Damage Claim in Florida

If you’ve recently filed a wind damage claim and the insurance company isn’t being forthcoming about the process, or if you just want to make sure that you are getting the best outcome, you should get a professional review of your wind damage insurance claim. Whether it’s part of your home insurance or you have a named storm deductible involved, you deserve fair compensation—it’s why you pay insurance in the first place. 

To learn more and get a free review of your wind damage claim, contact the team at On Target Claims now. 

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