In the wake of the destruction caused by Hurricane Harvey in Texas and with the approach of Hurricane Irma to Florida, many homeowners and businesses will be contacting their insurers with flood and wind insurance claims. However, the insurance for these two risks varies and insureds should be aware of the differences. Homeowners insurance may cover wind and flood damage, but it depends on the policy and the nature of the damage. Wind coverage is often provided through a homeowners insurance policy however exclusions may apply especially in hurricane prone areas. Basic flood insurance is offered by the National Flood Insurance Program (“NFIP”) and covers up to $250,000 in damage for homeowners and $500,000 for businesses due to flood damage to building structures and offers limited damages for personal property beyond structural damage.
While wind damage will surely result from both storms, flooding is likely to be overwhelming due to the lengthy accumulation of rain in Harvey and the likelihood of storm surge in Irma. Beyond the NFIP and any excess coverage that businesses and homeowners have purchased, the federal government will bear a big burden of the burden of the total damage. The federal government has recently approved disaster relief funds for Hurricane Harvey and the President has already approved emergency declarations, mobilizing federal disaster relief efforts in connection with Hurricane Irma.