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Yenny Mattei

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Can You Buy Last-Minute Hurricane Insurance?

September 14th, 2021



As Tropical Storm Harvey continues to dump water on Texas and Louisiana, you may be wondering what kind of insurance can provide financial rescue in these situations -- and how far ahead you need to buy it.

Insurance for hurricane damage can involve more than one insurance policy. Waiting periods often make it tough to buy certain coverage as a storm is approaching. Other policies are more flexible and could be available depending on how close the storm is.

Heres a snapshot of the roadblocks you could encounter when trying to buy coverage before a hurricane:

Flood insurance

Home insurance doesnt cover flooding. Youll need to buy a separate flood insurance policy, which takes 30 days to take effect, according to FloodSmart.gov.

If a hurricane strikes within that 30-day window, your policy wont pay for flood damage to your home or belongings.

Windstorm insurance

Many homeowners policies include coverage for wind, especially if you dont live in a hurricane-prone coastal state, so you might not need to buy additional insurance.

But in coastal states like Texas and Florida youre more likely to need separate wind insurance. See NerdWallets guide to hurricane insurance for a list of where to buy windstorm coverage in these areas.

Waiting periods for windstorm insurance vary by state. If a hurricane is only a day or two away, you might be out of luck.

In South Carolina and Connecticut, for example, newly purchased windstorm policies cant be activated for 15 days. In other states, like Texas and Mississippi, insurers wont offer policies once a hurricane is within a certain range. You would have to wait until the storm either dissipates or passes. Some areas require a home inspection first, which could also delay the application process.

Homeowners insurance

Buying home insurance doesnt happen overnight. Your insurer must evaluate your home for potential problems and claims, which often means having an inspection. Chances are you wont be able to get a brand-new policy at the last minute.

If you already have home insurance, you may be able to make changes to your policy -- as long as its not too late. Insurers usually stop selling additional coverage once theres a hurricane watch. Thats 48 hours before the expected onset of tropical-storm-force winds, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Here are coverage adjustments to consider if youre underinsured, and if its not too late:

Auto insurance

Comprehensive car insurance pays to fix damage to your car from flooding, hail and other nasty weather.

Insurers typically wont sell new auto coverage if your area is under a hurricane watch. If it hasnt reached that point, however, ask your insurer about adding comprehensive coverage if you dont already have it.


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Disclaimer : The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Houston Association of REALTORS®

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