27 May 2015

DEFINITION of ‘Beach Plan’
Property insurance for coastal property owners who have a high exposure to windstorm and hail losses. A beach plan is designed to cover losses that a regular homeowners insurance policy does not and has a separate deductible. Further, instead of a dollar amount deductible, such as $5,000, beach plans have a percentage deductible based on the home’s insured value.

If your home is valued at $250,000 and your beach plan deductible is 5%, you’ll pay $12,500 before your insurance policy will pay anything. Without these high deductibles, insurance companies wouldn’t be able to afford to offer beach plans at all. Windstorm losses can be extremely expensive for insurers since they cause major damage and affect numerous policyholders simultaneously.

Beach plans are necessary because basic homeowners insurance often limits coverage for wind damage in storm-prone states like Florida, Louisiana, Texas, North Carolina, South Carolina and others. If you want to be covered when high winds propel your neighbour’s patio furniture through your back window or rip your roof off, you need windstorm insurance.

One example of a beach plan is North Carolina’s beach plan, called the Coastal Property Insurance Pool. The state government created this insurance market of last resort in 1969 to fill a gap in the property insurance market for coastal residential and commercial property owners. The state regulates the beach plan but is not the insurer. Insurers that belong to a non-profit association of North Carolina insurance companies called the North Carolina Joint Underwriting Association write policies under the beach plan.

Property owners who can’t obtain wind and hail coverage in the regular property insurance market because insurers view the risks as too great can purchase insurance through North Carolina’s beach plan. It offers actual cash value contents coverage, windstorm insurance and hailstorm insurance. Residential policyholders can get building coverage for as much as $750,000 through the beach plan. Other states that have beach plans include Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas and other East and Gulf Coast states.

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