Jul 23 2010 6:00 AM

How much insurance do I need to cover a potential hurricane?

Standard home insurance covers your property and possessions from damage due to natural causes as tornadoes, windstorms, hail and lightning. However, if you live in an area that is likely to be hit by a hurricane or a severe windstorm, your home insurance policy may not cover your damage.

In many coastal states, insurers sell home insurance with percentage deductibles for storm damage instead of the traditional dollar deductibles commonly used to cover losses from fire damage and theft. In 18 states, insurance regulators allow home insurance policies to include hurricane deductibles tied to a percentage of a home’s insured value, rather than a flat dollar amount, according to the Insurance Information Institute.

There are two kinds of wind damage deductibles: hurricane deductibles, which apply to damage solely from hurricanes, and windstorm or wind/hail deductibles, which apply to any kind of wind damage. Eighteen coastal states as well as the District of Columbia have hurricane deductibles. Those states include Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia.

Some states have set up state-run pools to provide insurance to homeowners who live in high risk areas and are unable to buy insurance in the private market. Some plans are for specific coastal areas, while others offer insurance throughout the state.

Consult with an insurance agent or professional to make sure you purchase enough insurance to rebuild your home in the event it's completely destroyed by a hurricane.

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Laura Adams is a personal finance expert and award-winning author who is Senior Insurance Analyst for InsuranceQuotes.com. She represents Bankrate Insurance’s web properties in the media and works as an advocate to make sure consumers protect their financial futures by having the right kinds of insurance.

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