What's the Difference Between Flood Insurance and Hurricane Insurance_ - Robert armstrong personal injury attorney north carolina

Now that hurricane Florence has passed through the Carolinas, plenty of people are wondering about their insurance and how they will go about rebuilding.  Even if you have insurance, it might not cover the damage stemming from the most recent hurricane, flooding or another storm down the line.  There is a difference between flood insurance and hurricane insurance.  Plenty of homeowners in the Carolinas have both forms of insurance. Even those who do not live in flood-prone areas should have flood insurance.  The question most homeowners have is whether hurricane insurance is also necessary in addition to flood insurance.

Hurricane Insurance

Hurricane insurance is available for damage stemming from hurricanes as opposed to strictly flooding, fire or another specific form of damage.  If the damage to the property was caused by the hurricane, it will be covered.  The main difference between flood insurance and hurricane insurance is hurricane insurance extends beyond damage caused by water.  Hurricane insurance also includes wind damage.  Flood insurance typically covers water damage to the first floor yet hurricane insurance is applicable to the entirety of the home.

Flood Insurance

Flood insurance is comparably limited in scope.  This form of insurance covers losses caused by rising water as well as storm surge.  The federal government underwrites flood coverage with its National Flood Insurance Program.  However, private companies can also sell this important form of insurance.  In some cases, it is difficult to determine if a flood or hurricane caused the damage.  If it is challenging to determine the cause of the damage, it might be necessary for an engineer to perform an on-site analysis to gauge whether a hurricane’s winds or flooding are the true cause of the damage.

Two primary types of flood insurance exist: one for personal property and the other for buildings.  Policies applicable to buildings cover damaged caused to the structure, foundation, exterior and semi-permanent indoor items.  Examples include carpet, paneling, appliances and heating/cooling systems.  Personal property flood insurance is applicable to portable items.  Examples include furniture, electronics and clothing.  Even portable appliances and sundries such as pieces of art are covered. 

Flood Insurance and Hurricanes

It is important to note flood insurance is not applicable to all the losses that might have been caused by a hurricane.  Even if you lose a high-value item stemming from a hurricane in which flooding occurred at your property, there is no guarantee your flood insurance will cover the item in question.  Furthermore, insurance does not cover your yard or the structures in the yard such as swimming pools, fences and decks.  Nor do flood insurance policies provide compensation for living expenses.

It is also important to note flood insurance has nuanced requirements for eligibility.  Furthermore, many such policies have multiple exclusions.  As an example, furniture or other property within an area such as a crawl space, a basement or a walkout style basement will not be covered.  This includes sound systems, TVs, carpet, window treatments, bookcases, etc.  If you are considering flood insurance, you should know the federal version is capped at a quarter-million dollars per building and $100,000 for contents.  However, it is possible to purchase a policy with a lower limit.  Separate deductibles are issued for dwelling and contents. 

Don’t Learn the Hard Way

Too many homeowners learn the hard way that their flood insurance or hurricane insurance is not applicable following a devastating event.  Every property owner should be aware that flood and hurricane insurance are completely distinct from one another.  If you live in an area with even a remote chance of flooding or potential damage from a hurricane, you should explore all of your insurance options in-depth to make a truly informed decision.  Our legal team is here to help you with all the subtleties of hurricane and flood insurance including claims and settlement discussions.  Contact us today to schedule an appointment.