How Does Hurricane Insurance Work?

How Does Hurricane Insurance Work?

Written by Caitlin Wood
Last Updated December 22, 2022

You may associate hurricanes with more tropical destinations like Florida or the Caribbean islands. But hurricanes do still occur from time to time here in Canada. More often, hurricanes affect Canada after they’ve initially developed in the south and eventually make their way north of the border. By the time the remnants of the hurricane reaches Canadian borders, it’s often much weaker than it was in the epicentre of the storm. 

But while Canadian parts are not hit as hard as cities and towns in the US, hurricanes can still have a major impact on the True North, particularly on the east coast. Sometimes these storms can retain their strength all the way up the Atlantic coast from the Caribbean where they originate to hit parts of eastern Canada. 

Out of all parts of the country, Atlantic Canada is at the highest risk for hurricanes, especially Nova Scotia. In fact, this eastern province gets one hurricane every three years. 

Considering the real danger that hurricanes can present to Canadians — particularly those who live on the east coast — it may be worth it to seriously consider hurricane insurance to protect your home from the serious damage that the winds from these storms can cause. 

What Is Hurricane Insurance?

There isn’t really such a thing as “hurricane insurance,” per se. Instead, what you would need to do is verify what type of coverage you have under your current home insurance policy when it comes to the damage done specifically from the remnants of a hurricane, including wind damage, flooding, and sewer backup. 

In most cases, you may need to add riders to your existing policy in order to ensure adequate coverage for your home, particularly if you live in a hurricane-prone area.

Does Your Home Insurance Cover Hurricanes? 

The standard home insurance policy protects your home from damage caused by strong winds. This includes damage to your roof or exterior walls caused by flying debris. 

However, your policy may not cover flood damage from water that did not originate from within your home. If the water that caused damage came from the ground or outside your home, a standard home insurance policy will not provide coverage. Unfortunately, a lot of the damage caused by the strong winds of hurricanes comes from flooding, in addition to the force of the wind. 

There isn’t really an official hurricane insurance policy to take out. Instead, this type of coverage would be made up of a combination of add-ons to your policy that would ensure comprehensive coverage to protect against the damage that a hurricane can cause. 

While your standard policy may cover damage from heavy winds, you may also want to consider adding flood insurance, which would cover damage from overland flooding in your home. 

You may also want to add sewer backup insurance, as damage done from water coming into your home from an overflowing sewer will not be covered under flood insurance. A sewer backup can result in freshwater or sewage making its way into your home through the pipes, drains, septic tanks, or gutters and most often occurs after a heavy rainfall — which is a common component of a hurricane — or rapid melting of snow.

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What Types Of Natural Disasters Are Usually Covered Under A Standard Home Insurance Policy?

Home insurance policies cover natural disasters, including the following:

  • Wind storms
  • Tornadoes 
  • Hurricanes
  • Hail storms
  • Ice damage
  • Wildfires

However, there are certain types of natural disasters that are not usually covered under a standard policy, including the following:

  • Earthquakes 
  • Landslides
  • Overland flooding

The above can be added to an existing policy for coverage at an added cost. 

Does Your Car Insurance Cover Hurricane Damages To Your Car?

A basic auto insurance policy does not provide coverage against all weather-related damage. While it may protect you against damage done to another person’s vehicle as a result of an accident that your car was involved in, it doesn’t cover damage done to your vehicle that isn’t related to driving, including weather damage. Instead, you may need to purchase a comprehensive auto insurance policy to ensure that all weather damage is covered. 

A comprehensive car insurance policy provides coverage for damage done to your vehicle from non-accident-related incidents. For example, it may protect you against damage from flying debris caused by heavy winds from a hurricane. This type of insurance maybe a little more expensive than a basic policy, but it can protect you against occurrences that are out of your control, including damage from hurricanes. 

Does Life Insurance Cover Hurricanes? 

Yes, a life insurance policy covers all accidental deaths, even those caused by hurricanes or other natural disasters. However, the keyword here is “accidental.” There may be situations in which you are putting yourself in harm’s way, which may affect whether or not your policy will pay out a death benefit to your beneficiaries if your death is the result of a major wind storm. 

For instance, if you were chasing a hurricane to capture photos or for scientific study purposes, your insurance provider may deny a claim because they may not deem your death an accident. Instead, they may argue that you put yourself in a position to be much more vulnerable to the perils of the hurricane, in which case a claim could be denied. 

How Do You Make A Hurricane Insurance Claim? 

To file a claim with your insurance company after your home has been severely damaged by a hurricane, take the following steps:

Call Your Insurance Provider Right Away

It’s important that you notify your insurance company of the damage done to your home and your desire to initiate a claim as soon as possible. Waiting too long after the incident could risk your claim being denied. When you do call, make sure to provide the agent with as much detailed information about the damage as possible.

Document The Damages

Take photos of the damage done to your home and make detailed notes. Make a list of everything that was damaged, and collect all receipts that you may have of items that have been destroyed. This information will prove to be very helpful for your insurance provider to assess the total value of the damages done and the payout you eventually receive. 

Keep Receipts Of Cleanup, Repairs, And Temporary Living Expenses

You may have to hire a professional service to come and help you clean up the mess left behind and make repairs to your home. You may also have to temporarily relocate until your home has been repaired and is deemed safe to reoccupy. Any expenses that you incur as a result of the damage should be retained and passed on to your insurance provider.

Hurricane Insurance FAQs

What kind of natural disasters does a home insurance policy cover? 

The coverage for each home insurance policy varies by provider, however most home insurance policies cover unexpected events such as wildfires and storms (ice and hail, tornadoes, and hurricanes).

What unexpected events aren’t covered by home insurance?

In general, home insurance provides don’t provide coverage for unexpected events such as sewer backup, earthquakes, floods and landslides. However, if you’d like coverage for these events, you may be able to add it to your policy if it’s offered.  

What part of Canada experiences the most hurricanes?

The Atlantic provinces such as Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador are generally the most affected by hurricanes in Canada. Hurricane season usually starts in early June and ends around late November.

Final Thoughts

While hurricanes are not exactly a common occurrence in most parts of Canada, they are known to be a problem for Atlantic Canada residents, especially over recent years. If you live in an area that is prone to hurricanes — or at least the remnants of hurricanes from southern tropical parts — you may want to revisit your home insurance policy to make sure that your home is covered against damages done as a result of this powerful windstorm, including flooding and sewer backup.

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Caitlin Wood is the Editor-in-Chief at Loans Canada and specializes in personal finance. She is a graduate of Dawson College and Concordia University and has been working in the personal finance industry for over eight years. Caitlin has covered various subjects such as debt, credit, and loans. Her work has been published on Zoocasa, GoDaddy, and deBanked. She believes that education and knowledge are the two most important factors in the creation of healthy financial habits. She also believes that openly discussing money and credit, and the responsibilities that come with them can lead to better decisions and a greater sense of financial security.

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