It’s a hot July afternoon, and you and your family have taken refuge at your summer beach house. The last thing on your mind is your beach house insurance policy, but disaster can strike at any moment. Your home needs coverage. You don’t want want to be left paying off a massive bill and not having any resources to aid in the recovery process if something goes wrong. You want to be prepared. The beach house you own should have a homeowners insurance policy, windstorm coverage, and flood insurance.
This basic and mandatory insurance for homeowners may be more expensive for beach houses given their coastal proximity and the possible natural disasters that could occur.
Homeowners insurance may cover property damage or loss caused by the following:
- Water leaks (e.g., from plumbing issues)
However, these insurance policies do not cover wind damage like that caused by the winds of a hurricane, storm surges, or flooding. It is safe to assume that your beach property is located in a coastal state, where wind and flood coverage is necessary considering these areas are prone to tropical storms and hurricanes.
Storms can cause wind damage to any home, breaking windows, disturbing the roof. This can especially be true in areas that are prone to hurricanes and other tropical storms.
Wind coverage may not be automatically given in your homeowner’s policy, primarily if you are located in a coastal area or if wind and flooding coincide, for example.
Some insurance policies offer a deductible for windstorm or wind and hail coverage and a hurricane deductible, which are required in 19 coastal states and the District of Columbia:
Hurricane Deductible: Higher than other insurance deductibles, this is relevant to damage caused by storms officially categorized as hurricanes.
Windstorm/Wind and Hail Deductible: This is relevant to any high wind damage or water that gets into your home due to high winds.
This wind coverage does not cover any damage from which your car suffers, like a window blown out by flying debris or a car crushed by a fallen tree. It does, however, cover your home and the personal belongings in that house.
These deductibles are not flat fees; their costs are dependent on your home’s insured value.
Did you know that homeowners insurance does not cover flood damage? A separate flood insurance policy, which can be purchased through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), is necessary for a homeowner with a house near the water just as much as it is for a homeowner with a home in an area with even the slightest chance of flooding from a storm. In fact, in coastal states and territories prone to flooding, this insurance can be required.
Flood insurance can cover, but is not limited to:
- Damage directly caused by flooding
- Clothing, furniture, and electronics lost due to flooding
- Debris removal
- Damage caused to the building’s foundation
Flood insurance may not cover:
- Avoidable damage not caused by flooding
- Damaged belongings outside the building, like lawn fixtures
- Temporary living expenses
Flood risk determines the cost of flood insurance. A policy takes 30 days to take effect, so it is best to buy coverage before a storm is already expected to hit.
You want to protect your home away from home and have the insurance policies necessary to protect yourself and your assets. It is always best to be proactive instead of reactive, buying a policy before a disaster occurs.