Owning your own piece of beach heaven is a dream come true for so many homeowners. But with that dream comes the reality of hurricanes, floods, storms, and other coastal hazards. To help protect your home (and your assets), you want to make sure you have appropriate homeowners insurance coverage that is specialized for coastal areas. That’s why we’ve created this guide to homeowners insurance in coastal areas!
What is coastal homeowners insurance?
Standard homeowners insurance is generally comprehensive enough to help cover most of the incidents a regular home might face, like fire, theft, broken tree branches falling into the house, etc. However, coastal homes near the water have more specific needs that standard homeowners insurance may not provide. Plus, a lot of insurance carriers won’t even offer standard homeowners insurance to coastal homes due to the high risk of storms and flooding (see the risks that make your home difficult to insure.)
If you live within 5 miles of a coast, coastal homeowners insurance can provide additional coverage for the greater exposure and risk you face near the water. It can help fill in the gaps that your standard homeowners isn’t going to cover for your heightened risk factors. This kind of policy usually separates wind, named storms, and hurricanes. These will each have their own deductibles, which are usually either a flat fee or between 1-5% value of the home.
Like most homeowners insurance, flood insurance is excluded, even if you have a named-storm deductible. That means if your home has any damage from flooding due to the water, a hurricane, or other reason, your insurance won’t cover it. You’ll need to purchase additional flood insurance to protect your beach home from its increased risk. In most cases, your mortgage lender will require you hold flood insurance if you live in a designated flood zone, like a coastal area.
How is coastal homeowners insurance different from standard homeowners’?
“Coastal” homeowners insurance is essentially standard homeowners insurance with a few key changes. Insurance companies see coastal homes as a greater risk. So when they see a coastal home, they’ll start to remove some of the privileges of standard homeowners insurance, like wind and storms coverage. Unfortunately, your insurance carrier often doesn’t want to take on the extra risk of a coastal home.
Coastal homeowners insurance reinstates that coverage to ensure that you are always fully protected from any storms, weather, or hazards you may encounter. Since your home is more prone to these risks, you need insurance coverage that can best address these hazards with appropriate coverage limits and fair premiums. That’s what coastal-specific homeowners insurance is meant to do: fill in the gaps while also raising the coverage.
Tips for homeowners’ insurance in coastal areas
1. Get insured before hurricane season.
Most homeowners and flood policies take at least 30 days to activate. Plus, insurance providers won’t offer new insurance policies if there is an active storm watch. That’s why it’s so important to make sure you’re fully insured before the storm is even a threat.
Keep in mind that there’s no “safe” time for your home, so you should always have homeowners insurance to protect against any potential hazards (and your mortgage lender probably requires you have coverage!). Don’t reduce or lapse in coverage over the winter because it’s not hurricane season. Every season has its own challenges and risks, so every season requires insurance coverage.
Also, make sure you don’t let coverage lapse. That means pay your bill on time, and don’t let your policy expire (for even one day). Just one missed payment could cause your premiums to dramatically increase!
2. Pick the right deductibles.
Coastal homeowners insurance will typically have multiple deductibles for different areas of your policy, like separate deductibles for wind, named storms, and hurricanes. A deductible is how much you are responsible for out of pocket before your insurance steps in to cover the rest (up to your coverage limits).
Keep in mind that if you are hit by multiple storms in succession, you are responsible for the deductible expense per storm. That means you’d incur this expense multiple times if it’s a particularly stormy season. That means you want to make sure your deductible is fair/low enough that you could pay it out of pocket a few times over.
An InsuraMatch agent can help you find the appropriate coverage and the right deductible for your coastal home. Give us a call today at (844) 824-2887.
3. Know your coverage.
If you have a coastal home, your policy probably looks different than a standard homeowners policy. You’ll want to take a look at your plan to see exactly what kind of coverage you have, your deductibles, and where there may be gaps in your coverage (like flood).
Don’t try to go it alone or with an agent you don’t trust—because you could end up severely under-insured for your coastal home’s unique risks. Your licensed InsuraMatch agent can help you go through different policies to ensure you have all the coverage you need for your coastal home, and at the most reasonable price.
4. Get flood insurance.
For coastal homes, flood insurance is a must. Flooding is all too common along the coast, whether it’s from a stormy day or a big wave or just a local pipe breaking. If you own a beach home for 30 years, your chance of experiencing a flood at some point is almost 100%.
Most coastal areas are considered high-risk flood zones, which means you’re required to carry flood insurance by your lender. Even if it’s not required, we highly recommend getting flood coverage. We’ve seen what happens when our clients don’t have flood insurance, and it can be devastating. Even a few inches of water can incur thousands of dollars in damages, from home structure to furniture to foundation issues. Flood insurance is the best way to help ensure your finances don’t take a drastic hit.
5. Inquire about discounts.
Coastal homeowners insurance is usually more expensive than standard homeowners insurance because of the higher risk, especially with the increasing number of storms each year. But we want to make sure you’re not skimping out on getting all the coverage you need because of the price tag of the premium. That’s why InsuraMatch agents work with you to see which discounts could apply to your coastal homeowners insurance, so you can be fully protected at the fairest price.
Home safety features will usually provide the steepest discount, like if you’ve flood-proofed your foundation or added hurricane shutters to your windows. You may even get a discount just by signing up for auto pay and email bills. It never hurts to look at the discounts for which you might qualify.
Searching for the “bargain” on your homeowners insurance could mean you’re under-paid–or not paid out at all—if and when another storm hits. Don’t take that sort of risk with your home, assets, and livelihood. Get full coverage, then inquire about discounts and ways to save.
6. Consider other insurance needs.
Coastal homes aren’t all storms and floods. You use your home to enjoy the beach (and enjoy life). You may even rent it out as a vacation home so others can enjoy it too! Make sure to help protect the “fun” parts of your coastal home too. Here are some other resources to help make sure your beach house is fully protected:
- What Type of Policy Do I Need if I Occasionally Rent Out My Second Home?
- Boat insurance learning center
- InsuraMatch Adds Coastal Risk Solutions to Homeowners Carrier Panel
- 9 Insurance Considerations For Your Summer Vacation
- Common Insurance Claims For Spring/Summer Toys
How to purchase coastal homeowners insurance
It can sometimes be a challenge to get coastal property insurance. Your eligibility can depend on the number of claims you’ve had on your homeowners insurance in the past, the risk of your home, the geographic area, and a lot of other variables. Sometimes, qualifying for homeowners insurance in coastal areas may not even have to do with the home or the applicant. Since coastal homes are a much higher risk, some insurers have a limit on the number of coastal properties they can insure to mitigate their own risk.
That’s why you want to work with an agent and insurance company that you trust. Your agent can tell you what your policy will and won’t cover, and they can help you adjust it according to your individual needs.
We know it can be frustrating to find coverage for your coastal home, so let an InsuraMatch help you find the right policy. Call us today at (844) 824-2887.
Start comparing home insurance quotes for your coastl home with one of our expert insurance advisors at (844) 824-2887 today.
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