Your homeowners insurance usually protects your home if hazards occur that cause unpreventable or unavoidable damage. Most people can’t tell when a storm will hit their property, so generally, if that storm does damage, then your policy might apply. However, you can’t make assumptions, because there are exceptions to every rule. Some of the most-damaging weather that might strike a home are wind & hail. In some cases, your policy covers these losses, in others, it won’t. Always check with your insurance agent to determine whether your policy includes this coverage.
Coverage for Storm Damage
Homeowners policies are designed to protect houses from problems that might occur at any time, and that you can do very little to prevent. Storms usually fall into this category. Within your policy, you might have various types of coverage to use to your benefit:
- Structure coverage helps you pay to rebuild or repair the home to the way it was before the storm hits.
- Possessions coverage insures belongings damaged or lost as a result of the storm damaging the home.
- Loss of use coverage helps you pay for living expenses (like hotel bills or dining costs) when a storm damages the home and you have to move out until you can make it livable again.
Therefore, on its face, your policy will often offer ample protection in case of storm damage. Since both hail and wind can prove extremely devastating in the right situations, it’s important that you should be able to rely on this coverage. Your policy might help you repair a damaged roof, replace torn siding or reinforce the structure if it becomes unstable.
However, the fact is that limits will exist, and some policies don’t offer guaranteed coverage for your wind and hail damage. It’s important to understand why this might occur.
Time Limits Exist
In many cases, you have to report storm damage to your insurer within a certain time period. If you don’t, it makes it increasingly hard for your insurer to determine what damage was caused by the storm. They might not be able to tell what damage resulted from other hazards, or from your neglect to repair the storm damage expediently. This might increase your risks of a denied claim.
Nearly all policies will include deductibles for structural damage. The cost of damage must exceed the cost of your deductible before your policy will pay anything. So, if you have a $2,000 damage deductible, then hail or wind must cause at least $2,000.01 in damage for your insurance to even consider paying. If you have $1,000 in damage, a $2,000 deductible won’t pay. However, if you have $5,000 in damage, your policy will pay you $3,000, which is what they agree to pay because $5,000 - $2,000 = $3,000.
Depending on how your policy works, storm damage from wind and hail might have a deductible that is different from other claims’ deductibles. Your insurance agent can work with you to choose the right value that you can afford to pay.
Some Policies Exclude Wind or Hail Damage
In some cases, homeowners policies will cover certain storm damage and not others. For example, some policies sold in areas that are prone to either wind or hail will exclude this damage. Policies sold in coastal regions, where hurricanes are prevalent, may not cover wind damage, for example. However, you might be able to add this coverage into your policy by purchasing an additional wind or hurricane insurance rider.
The best thing to do is to talk to your RCU Insurance agent. We can help you determine both if your policy covers wind & hail, and help you determine how much you can receive for a claim.