More on Home Insurance
More on Home Insurance
Published December 16, 2020
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Homeowners insurance protects your home and personal belongings from different types of weather damage, including wind-driven storms. That means property damage caused by tornadoes, hurricanes, and other windstorms are all typically covered by homeowners insurance, but there may be exclusions and nuances to your coverage depending on where you live.
Windstorm and hail damage are covered in a standard homeowners insurance policy
That means your home insurance will pay to repair damage like siding ripped off in a windstorm, roof damage from high winds, or toppled fences
If you live in a Gulf or Atlantic Coast state, or a Midwestern state at heightened risk of tornados, you may need to pay a separate wind and hail deductible
Property losses from heavy winds and hail storms are the most frequent cause of homeowners insurance claims, according to the Insurance Information Institute. Thankfully, homeowners insurance spells out in fairly plain English that damage caused by windstorms or hail is covered. Personal property inside your home generally isn’t covered if it’s damaged by rainwater or snow, but if the rain or snow entered your home due to an opening in your roof or wall caused by wind or hail damage, you’ll likely be covered for that damage too.
Here are some common examples of wind damage that are covered by homeowners insurance.
The part of your home perhaps most susceptible to wind damage is your roof. Whether a section of shingles is removed or your entire roof is torn off by a tornado, you’d be covered by homeowners insurance. Your insurance company may pay for roof repairs or replacement, depending on the extent of the damage.
If you file a claim for damage to your roof, you’d be reimbursed under the dwelling coverage portion of your policy, up to your coverage limit. If the roof of a separate structure — like your garage or shed — is damaged and you file a claim, you’d be reimbursed under the other structures portion of your policy.
Homeowners insurance also covers wind damage to fences, under the other structures provision in your homeowners insurance policy, which covers exterior structures like fences, sheds and detached garages. Structures protected under this provision are generally covered against the same perils as your home, including damage from lightning, fire, smoke, and vandalism.
If a windstorm causes a tree to fall onto a covered structure (like your home, garage, or fence) or blocks your driveway, homeowners insurance will pay up to $1,000 to remove it from your property. You would also be reimbursed for property damage caused by the fallen tree.
If your windows are blown out in a wind-driven weather event or the siding of your home or any other structure on your property sustains wind damage, that would also be covered by the dwelling or other structures provisions in your policy.
In 19 states and the District of Columbia, insurance companies are permitted to charge separate hurricane deductibles that must be paid before you can be reimbursed for wind damage that occurs during a hurricane or named storm. Some insurers in tornado-prone Midwestern states will charge separate wind and hail deductibles, depending on the specific risks associated with your home.
If your policy has a wind and hail deductible, the amount you pay is a percentage of the total amount for which your home is insured. These deductibles are also commonly known as “percentage” deductibles, as opposed to your standard dollar amount deductible for all other perils.
With wind and hail deductibles, if your home is insured for $300,000 and you have a wind and hail deductible of 5%, you’d have to pay $15,000 (300,000 x 0.05) before you’d be covered for a wind and hail-related loss. A higher percentage can lower the cost of homeowners insurance, but keep in mind that you’ll need to pay out more in the event of a loss.
Pat Howard is a homeowners insurance editor at Policygenius in New York City. He has written extensively about home insurance cost, coverage, and companies since 2018, and his insights have been featured on Investopedia, Lifehacker, MSN, Zola, HerMoney, and Property Casualty 360.
Pat has a B.A. in journalism from Michigan State University.
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