Waterfront Homeowners Weather High Insurance Costs After Major Storms – The Wall Street Journal

Calvin and Elizabeth Moore weren’t worried when they learned their coastal Pensacola, Fla., home was in the path of Hurricane Sally. They had upgraded its roof and windows after Hurricane Ivan damaged the property in 2004.

But the 2020 storm was stronger than expected, and they ended up with significant damage from a leaking roof, said Mr. Moore, 79, a retired real-estate broker. They were able to have their antiques, art and furniture safely removed and stored while workers repainted and dealt with mold inside the house. They spent months sleeping in the sitting area off their kitchen.

To cover the roughly $300,000 in repair costs on their 4,000-square-foot home, which faces the water on three sides, the couple added their own funds to payouts from the insurer they finally switched to after the previous storm and after a second insurer they picked stopped covering their area. Their $1.5 million Pure Insurance policy, including repairs and replacement from water damage, covered about $200,000 in damages. Mr. Moore said he paid a $37,000 wind deductible to the builder and plans to spend $70,000 to repair his torn-up backyard, which isn’t covered.

“It’s a work in progress,” he said.

The Moores were diligent about adequate coverage, which costs them about $28,000 annually and includes two additional government-backed flood policies. The typical home-insurance policy doesn’t always cover costly storm damage, such as flooding, for high-end coastal and waterfront properties. Many luxury homeowners, like the Moores, are turning to a small but growing sector of private insurers to combine various policies and fill the gaps.