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Windstorm insurance: Do I need it?

Fact-checked with HomeInsurance.com

Windstorms can cause serious damage to your home and belongings. Standard home insurance covers wind damage up to your policy’s limit, but if your home is in a high-risk wind area, your policy’s limit might not be enough. 

With windstorm insurance, you can raise your wind damage coverage limit for added peace of mind. A windstorm insurance policy is ideal for people who live in states prone to high winds, especially from tornadoes and hurricanes. 

The one potential downside to wind insurance is the added deductible. If you have a wind insurance policy, you may need to pay a separate deductible to cover storm damage. The deductible can be a percentage of your home’s value or a specific dollar amount, which means it could be costly. 

What is windstorm insurance coverage?

Windstorm insurance is an endorsement you can add to your homeowners insurance policy. It’s designed to raise your coverage limits for wind-related damage, which your basic home insurance policy might not cover in full.

Some states charge policyholders a windstorm deductible, but the laws are specific about the events that qualify. In Florida, insurance companies only charge a wind deductible if the National Weather Service declares a hurricane warning and up to three days after the warning ends. In Texas, insurers can charge a dollar amount deductible for wind damage caused by any weather event.

What does windstorm insurance cover?

Wind and hail insurance protects the physical structure of your home, detached structures on your property and your belongings. This type of insurance covers wind-related events, including:

  • Hurricanes: Wind damage resulting from a hurricane of any magnitude is covered.
  • Tropical storms: Tropical storms that aren’t technically classified as a hurricane are covered by wind insurance.
  • Tornadoes: In the Midwest and central plains regions, tornado damage is covered.
  • Hail: Hailstorms that bring high winds are covered by a wind insurance policy.

Check with your insurer to see what it will cover and if there are policy limits you should know.

What doesn’t windstorm insurance cover?

Windstorm insurance only covers wind-related damages. Here are a few perils that windstorm insurance doesn’t cover:

  • Flooding: If a hurricane causes a flood, windstorm insurance won’t cover the flood damage.
  • Fire: If a wildfire ignites near your home and high winds cause it to spread to your property, the damages won’t be covered by windstorm insurance.

You can sometimes get protection from these things with over add-on coverages.

How do windstorm insurance deductibles work?

After a covered loss, your home insurance company requires you to pay a deductible before it will reimburse you. With windstorm insurance, deductibles often work differently, depending on the state you live in.

Some insurance companies require homeowners to pay a separate deductible for wind insurance. The deductible is often a percentage of your home’s insured value, usually between one to five percent. For example, if your home is worth $300,000 and your windstorm deductible is three percent, you would have to pay $9,000 for a wind-related claim.

Other insurers charge a specific dollar amount for your windstorm deductible like with your standard home insurance deductible. In this case, you may be able to lower your windstorm deductible by increasing your annual premium.

Where do I need windstorm insurance?

Homeowners in states that frequently experience windstorms should consider purchasing wind and hail insurance. Those states include

  • Alabama
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Kansas
  • Louisiana
  • Mississippi
  • Nebraska
  • North Carolina
  • Oklahoma
  • Texas

There are many benefits to having windstorm insurance, but not every homeowner needs it. If you live in one of the following low-risk wind states, your home insurance’s wind coverage will probably be enough to cover any damages:

  • Arizona
  • California
  • Ohio
  • Oregon
  • Montana
  • Michigan
  • Nevada
  • Tennessee
  • Washington
  • Wisconsin

Do more research on your area to see if you feel it would be worth the investment. 

How much is windstorm insurance?

The cost of windstorm insurance depends on your home’s location, size, condition and replacement cost. Homeowners who live along the coastline and in high-risk tornado and hurricane regions will pay the highest premiums.

Although windstorm insurance can be expensive, it’s still significantly cheaper than paying to repair storm damages yourself. For instance, if your home insurance policy’s wind coverage limit was $100,000 and a hurricane caused $300,000 worth of damage, you would have to pay the remaining $200,000 out of pocket. With windstorm insurance, you can raise your coverage limit to get a higher payout from your insurance company after a loss.

What if I cannot get windstorm coverage?

You may not be able to get approved for windstorm insurance in some cases. For example, if your home is in a city with a high crime rate or if you live somewhere with frequent hurricanes, you might get denied.

The alternative option is to get last-resort windstorm coverage through your state. Here are a few programs to look into:

  • FAIR Plans: FAIR Plans are available nationwide to cover wind-related events. FAIR Plans tend to be more expensive and offer less coverage than private insurance policies
  • Beach and windstorm plans: Beach and windstorm plans are similar to FAIR Plans, but they are only available for homeowners in coastal areas. These plans usually only offer coverage specifically for hurricanes and windstorms.
  • CMAP: The Coastal Market Assistance Program (CMAP) is a state-run organization that helps you find a private insurance company for windstorm coverage if you’ve previously been denied.

These plans may make windstorm available to you even if your insurance company didn’t offer it to you.

How to prevent windstorm damage

Preparing your home for windstorm damage before it happens can help you avoid a costly insurance claim. The most susceptible parts of your home are the roof, windows, patio and landscaping. Here are some ways that you can reduce your risk of wind damage:

  • Keep trees and branches trimmed.
  • Tie down outdoor furniture and other yard structures.
  • Install a garage door designed to sustain high winds.
  • Outfit your home with storm shutters.
  • Use plywood to seal glass windows and doors before a major storm.
  • Get impact-resistant shingles to protect your roof.

These steps might not completely resist damage, but they can minimize the costs of repairs by decreasing the risk.

The takeaway

  • If you live in a state prone to windstorms, having wind insurance is beneficial
  • Windstorm insurance offers more coverage for wind damage than a standard home insurance policy.
  • Some homeowners may pay a separate wind deductible for their windstorm insurance.
  • Windstorm insurance can be expensive, but it’s cheaper than paying out-of-pocket to repair your home after a storm
  • If you get denied for wind insurance, you can purchase coverage through a state-run program.

Windstorms can cause extensive damage to your home. Although your home insurance policy does cover wind-related damage, it might be enough to cover costly repairs. With windstorm insurance, you can increase your coverage limit for added peace of mind.

Homeowners in certain states have to pay a separate wind insurance deductible that is either a percentage of their home’s insured value or a set dollar amount. Wind insurance provides significant savings if you have to file a wind-related insurance claim.

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