We are an independent, advertising-supported comparison service. Our goal is to help you make smarter financial decisions by providing you with interactive tools and financial calculators, publishing original and objective content, by enabling you to conduct research and compare information for free – so that you can make financial decisions with confidence. The offers that appear on this site are from companies from which TheSimpleDollar.com receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site including, for example, the order in which they appear. The Simple Dollar does not include all card/financial services companies or all card/financial services offers available in the marketplace. The Simple Dollar has partnerships with issuers including, but not limited to, Capital One, Chase & Discover. View our full advertiser disclosure to learn more.
Does Renters Insurance Cover Hurricanes?
Renters insurance is a savvy, prudent purchase for anyone renting a house, apartment or condo. Even renting a room in someone’s home can make someone eligible for the reasonable costs of renters insurance. If you live in a hurricane-prone area or live somewhere temporarily during hurricane season, renters insurance will cover non-flooding damages.
What hurricane damages are covered by renters insurance?
Renters insurance generally oversees four categories of coverage — personal property, personal liability, medical expenses and loss of use. What is covered by your insurance depends on the perils included in your policy. What’s a peril? In insurance companies’ language, whatever the cause of damage is. So, the hurricanes themselves? Not a peril. The winds and rain? Those are designated as perils. No matter what, renters insurance is always worth its value.
How renters insurance breaks down:
Personal property: Personal property includes furniture, clothes, electronics and collectibles.
Personal liability and medical: If you have to sue your landlord because they didn’t fix something damaged, or if you or anyone in your home gets hurt, renters insurance will not cover that in the event of a hurricane.
Additional living expenses (ALE) or loss of use: Renters insurance will cover the cost it takes to live somewhere else if your place is uninhabitable due to a covered peril. Keep in mind this reimbursement will be for your typical cost of rent and average expenses. It won’t cover a stay at The Ritz.
Hurricane perils covered are fire, lightning, wind, hail, damage from falling objects and any non-flood-related damages you can conclusively prove. Flooding is never covered by renters insurance. However, it can be added to your policy for an extra cost.
[ Read: What Does Renters Insurance Cover? ]
Does loss of use kick in due to hurricane damages?
Just like any other personal property insurance, it depends entirely if it is a covered peril. For example, if hurricane winds knocked a tree down into your living room. In this case, your insurance will cover your hotel fees as long as they do not exceed a certain amount. If the sewage system backs up and floods your home, then most likely, your insurance will not cover the damages. The latter falls under flood damage and will not be covered. It must be one of the hurricane perils listed above to qualify for loss of use coverage.
When it comes to government-mandated evacuations of hurricane areas, loss of use may or may not kick in. Read your policy carefully. Some policies will include language that specifies coverage in such a case. Some insurance carriers may be a bit more in the gray area. A thorough read of your policy and a long talk with your insurance provider representative will give you peace of mind on this aspect.
Are renters eligible for FEMA assistance after a hurricane?
According to fema.gov, yes. The first step is to contact your renters insurance and see what is and is not covered. Next, there are several ways to determine what sort of assistance FEMA can offer you after a storm.
- Register at disasterassistance.gov
- Download the FEMA app
- Call the helpline at 800-621-3362 or TTY 800-462-7585. People who use 711 or Video Relay Service may call 800-621-3362.
After you contact FEMA using one of the methods above, a FEMA inspector will get in touch with you. The questions an inspector asks will focus on your insurance, the type of damages endured, the extent of damages and the safety of you and anyone living in your home. The inspector may also ask to do a remote inspection if where you rent is still livable. If it is not, then FEMA will schedule an in-home visit.
Make sure whatever contact phone numbers you give to FEMA are working, current and active as it is vital to get their help. Keep in mind that if you receive any grant money from FEMA, you need to keep the receipts proving what you spent it on. If you spend that money outside of FEMA outlines, you may be on the hook to pay it back. You could also lose eligibility for federal assistance in other natural disasters.
Should renters get flood insurance in case of a hurricane?
The short answer is you should ask your renters insurance provider what the best course of action is here. It is also smart to ask your neighbors and local friends or family if they have a flood insurance policy. It is easier to gauge from there.
The longer answer is to think of it logically. If you rent in Galveston, Texas, which is right in the Gulf of Mexico, then absolutely. If you live in Austin, Texas, which is in the north-central part of the state, then it’s not as much of a worry. It’s all about proximity to large bodies of water. Renting almost anywhere in Florida means flood insurance is a good bet. The further inland you are, the less needed it is. Bear in mind that being close to rivers, drainage areas and other things facilitating water movement may make you think more closely about it.
Further still, there are places where the probability of flooding is so high it is designated a flood zone. That means insurance is too high for insurance companies to be interested.
[ Read: 3 Reasons to Get Flood Insurance ]