Homeowners Insurance Covers Most Types of Storm Damage
Strong storms can cause a great deal of damage to your home and property. Storm damage can be caused by heavy rain, hail, lightning and wind, and you never know when a damaging storm might hit your neighborhood.
Homeowners insurance can help you pay for repairs and lost property—if you have the right coverage. Coverage levels, policy limits and exclusions can vary greatly among policies, so it is important to know what your homeowners insurance covers, and what it does not, so there are no surprises.
In general, most homeowners insurance policies cover damage caused by hail, tornadoes, wind, rain and lightning. But there are exceptions, and it is important to note that your homeowners policy does not cover flood damage.
Your home insurance policy likely provides coverage for damage caused by lightning. This means that if lightning hits your home and starts a fire, you will be covered for the costs of repairing the damage or rebuilding your home in a worst-case scenario. Lightning can also cause power surges that can damage or completely ruin electronic devices. Your home insurance policy also likely covers the costs of repairing or replacing electronics that are damaged due to a power surge. Because power surges can be so disruptive, be sure to take steps to protect your electronics by unplugging them during storms. You can also consider installing some type of surge protection system (lightning rod, electronic surge protectors).
Flood damage from a hurricane or any other type of event is not covered by your standard homeowners insurance policy. Flood insurance can be purchased through your insurance agent from the National Flood Insurance Program. If you do not have flood insurance, flood damage from a hurricane—including damage caused by wind-driven water and storm surge—will not be covered.
If a tree falls during a storm and damages your house, you likely have coverage for the damage to your home or other structures on your property even if the tree falls from your neighbor’s property onto yours. You might also have limited coverage for removal of the tree and stump (if applicable) from the structure onto which it fell. However, if a tree falls in your yard and causes no additional damage, you likely will not have coverage for the cost of tree and stump removal from your yard, or for the cost to replace the tree.
Wind damage is usually covered under most standard homeowners insurance policies. However, homeowners in coastal areas or those prone to windstorms and hurricanes often must purchase separate windstorm insurance. In addition, chances are your Texas homeowners insurance contains a separate hurricane deductible that is a percentage of your home’s value, rather than a flat dollar figure like your primary insurance deductible. Hurricane deductibles come into play only when your home has sustained hurricane damage, or after a specific coverage trigger. The coverage trigger for a hurricane deductible is usually when the National Weather Service declares a hurricane watch or warning, officially names a tropical storm, or defines a storm’s intensity.
It is a good idea to review your policy every year and to be familiar with what your hurricane deductible trigger is.
Loss of Use Coverage
Most homeowners policies provide loss of use coverage, which pays for certain living expenses—up to specified limits—if you cannot live in your home while it is being repaired due to a covered loss.
Also note that your homeowners policy will not cover any storm-related vehicle damage. Storm damage to your vehicles is covered under the comprehensive portion of your auto insurance policy.
Are you familiar with the storm coverage provided by your homeowners insurance policy? Do you have special windstorm or hurricane coverage? Have you ever had to file an insurance claim because of storm damage to your home? Tell us about your experience.
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