Hurricanes can destroy a whole city, including your home

Home insurance in Louisiana, a coastal state prone to hurricanes, is a crucial purchase for homeowners looking to protect their home against the elements.

How Much Does Louisiana Home Insurance Cost?

According to the Insurance Information Institute, in 2010, the average annual premium for homeowners insurance in Louisiana was $1,546, making the state the second most expensive market in the nation for homeowner’s insurance. The exact amount of your premium will depend on a number of factors, including the age, condition, and location of your home, as well as the amount of deducible you pay, your credit rating, and any additional coverage you choose.

Louisiana homeowners know that homes in coastal regions or flood plains will cost more to insure. Increasingly, insurers are also using computer catastrophe models to determine policies. These computer models predict hurricane activity, and if more risk is assessed, it may increase your deductible, raise rates, or even reduce coverage.

Insurance rates vary by lender, so it’s best to look around to find the best one for you. The Louisiana Department of Insurance provides information for consumers on credible insurers and rates.

What Does It Cover?

Most homeowner’s policies cover damage caused by fire and lightning, smoke, vandalism, theft, and other perils. The coverage typically includes the building itself, your property within the building, and additional living expenses if you need to move elsewhere if the damage to your home is too great. A standard component of most policies is liability coverage, which provides coverage if someone is injured on your property and you or someone in your household is found legally responsible.

Do I Have to Get Home Insurance in Louisiana?

Home insurance is not required by law in Louisiana. However, buying insurance can help protect your house and property against damage from unforeseen circumstances, and liability for accidents that injure other people or damage their property.

Optional Coverage to Consider

  • Flood. Flood insurance is not included in standard homeowner’s insurance policies. Instead, policies are issued through the federal government’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), as well as some private insurers. Flood insurance rates are based on several factors, including flood risk, number of floors, the building’s age, and the location of the home’s contents. Be aware that your flood risk may change; as recently illustrated in Livingston Parish, La., new federal flood insurance rate maps have both moved homes into and out of flood hazard areas, drastically affecting their insurance rates.
  • Windstorm. Windstorms are one of the 10 perils generally covered by standard homeowner’s policies, according to the Insurance Information Institute. But because Louisiana is especially prone to hurricanes, which can inflict damage to roofs, you should check with your insurance policy to make sure this peril is not only covered, but is enough to replace your roof in the event of extensive damage. A separate windstorm deductible can provide greater coverage than your insurance policy alone.
  • Hurricane. Similar to a windstorm deductible, a hurricane deductible can provide greater coverage than your insurance policy alone for damage resulting from hurricanes. Louisiana is one of 18 states where this deductible is sold by insurers, and some insurers may even mandate it in your policy. Unlike traditional deductibles where the amount you owe is a set amount, hurricane deductibles are based on a percentage of the replacement cost. The deductible also only goes into effect based on a set “trigger” determined by the insurer. Triggers may be the intensity of the hurricane or when a hurricane watch goes into effect by the National Weather Service.

Mobile Home Insurance in Louisiana

Mobile or manufactured home insurance policies cover the mobile home itself, adjacent structures, and personal belongings if damaged from such events as fire or rain, as well as liability in the event someone’s injured on your property. Some policies may also cover damage from flooding or earthquakes, which is normally a separate policy from homeowner’s insurance.

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