Miami 6/4/2012 11:38:10 PM
News / Real Estate

Home insurance on mind as hurricane season begins

Premier Homeowners Insurance

Florida’s first tropical storm of the 2012 season dropped a foot or less of water on the northeast corner of the state, a soggy reminder that hurricane season again is upon us. Thoughts of home insurance return to the forefront of the mind after a winter of trying not to think about it.



Rainfall such as was dumped by Beryl is probably the least of most homeowners’ concerns, though flooding from torrential downpours can cause havoc on the lowest lying properties. And water damage is especially ruinous because what the water doesn’t destroy when it inundates a home it can destroy later through rot and mildew that develops long after the water has receded.


Still, it is the wind of the hurricanes that homeowners—and home insurance providers—most worry about. Hurricane-force winds cause the most damage to property. That is because they can be unusually strong and the force of the gales can be sustained for hours at a time, unlike a tornado that hits and then skips by. Furthermore, hurricane winds tend to change direction as a storm passes, thereby being able to hit all vulnerable areas of a house.


The winds also become weapons by wrenching off  house parts and flinging them like projectiles from a gun into other houses and occupied areas. Flying debris not only represents loss from one property but becomes the creator of loss at another property, slamming into it with great velocity and sometimes shattering what the wind alone would not have damaged.


Home insurance is written to accommodate various kinds of storms and damages. Policies in hurricane-sensitive areas recognize the special nature of the storms and feature provisions insuring against wind and water damages, including damage from secondary sources. Premiums vary, of course, and deductibles can be high or low, but an insurance product usually is available.



The South Florida home insurance industry is in flux, with rates moving up and policies being cancelled, the latter tied to the soundness of a structure and its proximity to storm paths. This uncertainty can be an opportunity for homeowners who choose to rectify structural problems and to shop insurance providers. After all, as bad as hurricanes are, having one strike your uninsured home is even worse.