Frances Badayos | author
ICHQ | Site Author
Over more than 160 years, Florida has had more hurricane landfalls than any other state. Of those, 37 were Category 3 or higher. As the state that has been hit more times by hurricanes than any other, Florida has laws dealing with hurricanes, and among those are laws that regulate insurance deductibles for hurricane-related damage.
How much is the hurricane deductible in Florida, and when is the deductible required to pay? Is the hurricane deductible required to be paid more than once?
The homeowners insurance lawyers at Insurance Claim HQ can help Florida residents deal with these questions about their coverage for hurricane damage.
Florida’s Hurricane Deductible Laws
Hurricane deductibles are required to be paid in Florida when a home is damaged or destroyed by a hurricane.
Under Florida law, the minimum hurricane deductible is $500 under certain circumstances — generally, these are homes of up to $250,000.
Other deductibles in the statute include 2%, 5%, and 10% rates. The customer chooses the deductible among those options, and the insurance company must provide a notice to the customers regarding what levels of deductible may be chosen. In addition, homes with a higher value may have alternative policies for each level of coverage, with additional conditions.
Some properties with certain values may have special coverage. For example, homes in Florida with a value of between $100,000 and $250,000 may have a policy with a 2% hurricane deductible and an additional condition where the owner can renew the policy for at least one period after a hurricane loss without any risk of the company denying the renewal due to hurricane damage, in lieu of offering a $500 deductible.
Properties with higher values may have fewer options for low rates. If a property is valued at between $1 and $3 million dollars, the insurance company may offer a deductible of 3% of the policy limits instead of the normal minimum of 2%. If a property is valued above $3 million, a 2% deductible is only optional.
If a homeowner with a home valued at under $500,000 in Florida wishes to have a higher hurricane deductible than the ones set in the statute, they must submit a notice of how much they are willing to pay, and it must be dated and signed by all the policyholders. The notice must then be given to the insurance provider.
All policies with hurricane deductibles must have a notice in bold letters of 18 point type or greater that this policy contains a hurricane deductible. Lastly, if a policy has a roof deductible, it will not apply when a hurricane deductible applies.
When Does Florida Law Consider a Storm to Be a Hurricane?
Under Florida law, a hurricane must first be named by the National Hurricane Center as a hurricane. Then, a hurricane watch or warning must be issued for any part of Florida.
As long as conditions for the hurricane exist in the State of Florida, the deductible will apply for any hurricane-related damage. The hurricane period ends 72 hours after the final hurricane watch or warning is terminated by the National Weather Service.
Tropical storms or depressions are not considered to be hurricanes, and if the storm never rises to the level of a hurricane, the deductible would not apply if homes were damaged in those cases. Even if a hurricane watch or warning was issued, the law states that a hurricane condition begins only when the storm is identified as a hurricane by the National Hurricane Center.
What happens if you have to deal with multiple hurricanes?
Under Florida law, the deductible is only for one hurricane season. Should multiple storms hit, you would have to pay for any damage until the deductible is met. If the deductible is met, and a hurricane hits later in the year, the “all other peril” (AOP) deductible would apply for any damages.
What if your damages are below the deductible?
It is important to file any claims for damages with your insurance company, even if the deductible is met. This ensures a proper record of the damages with your insurance company and ensures that you will not have to pay more than you are required to after a subsequent storm. In addition, a contractor or an insurance investigator may find additional damage to your home that may meet the deductible.
Contact a Hurricane Damage Claim Lawyer Serving Florida
If you have suffered damage from a hurricane and you are having issues with your insurance company, our lawyers at Insurance Claim HQ are ready to help. Call or contact us for help with the insurance claim process.