No matter where you live, your home can be affected by some kind of major storm. Unfortunately, you can’t control the weather. But you can control how you protect yourself when the unexpected happens.
Homeowners insurance offers peace of mind when a storm strikes and causes costly damage to your home. While it doesn’t apply in every situation, coverage can kick in for a variety of common storm risks. Here's when and how you can file a storm damage claim.
Does home insurance cover storm damage?
Homeowners insurance covers most kinds of storm damage, although in some cases the cause of the damage may make a difference. Most home standard home insurance policies cover damage caused by:
Water and ice damage.
Lightning strikes and power surges.
Wind, hail, and fallen trees.
Water and ice damage
Storms often involve some kind of water or precipitation, and water in any form can be highly destructive. Luckily, home insurance often covers damage caused by rain, ice, snow, and hail damage, but there are cases where the relationship between water damage and home insurance can be tricky.
Let’s say, for example, heavy winds rip off your roof so that the inside of your home is damaged by rain. Most home insurance policies cover that type of water damage because wind, a covered peril, caused damage that allowed rain in your home. You’re likely also covered if a tornado breaks your windows and rain damages your home. Similarly, your homeowners policy likely kicks in if an ice storm damages your roof or siding.
Floods, however, are different. If there is flooding that is related to a storm, any damage that results from flooding is usually not covered.
Standard homeowners insurance does not cover flood damage. This is true whether your flood damage is caused by:
Overflowing rivers or streams.
A clogged drainage system.
You can get flood insurance from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) or by purchasing private flood insurance from a company like Kin. Our flood coverage comes in the form of an endorsement to your home insurance policy, which often makes it less expensive than NFIP policies.
Wind and hail
Is wind damage covered by homeowners insurance? Typically, the answer is yes. The same is also true for hail. So if strong winds rip shingles off your roof or send a tree crashing into your living room, your policy most likely covers it. You’re also likely covered if wind damage leads to water damage inside your home..
Lightning strikes and power surges
If your home or another structure on your property is struck by lightning, any resulting damage from fire, smoke, or a power surge are often covered by your home insurance. This is more likely when the damage is sudden and accidental. Damage that occurs over time is usually excluded.
Does homeowners insurance cover roof damage?
If your roof is damaged or leaks during a storm, the roof damage as well as any damage to the interior of your home is covered by home insurance, as long as it was caused by a covered peril.
But your claim will likely be denied if it’s caused by something not covered in your policy, like poor maintenance. Additionally, your roof damage is unlikely to be covered if it was caused by flooding, unless you have separate flood insurance or a flood insurance endorsement.
How does homeowners insurance cover storm damage?
Most homeowners insurance offers the following types of coverage for storm damage:
Dwelling coverage. Pays to repair and replace your damaged home, and may even pay out the value of your home if it’s a total loss.
Personal property coverage. Pays for damage to your insured personal property, such as furniture, clothing, artwork, and so on.
Other structures coverage. Pays to repair and replace any detached structures (e.g., sheds, driveways, detached garages) and their contents.
Loss of use coverage. Pays for additional living expenses if you’re forced to live somewhere else while your home is being repaired after a covered loss. This coverage typically pays for hotel bills, food, and certain other living expenses (as long as they are in line with your current standard of living).
Before any coverage kicks in, you’ll need to pay the deductible that you chose when you purchased your policy. Your policy’s applicable coverage limits also apply. This means that your policy only pays for repairs up to the limit outlined in the policy for a particular type of loss.
A note about deductibles
Home insurance policies can have more than one deductible, especially when they cover homes in catastrophe-prone areas. For example, home insurance in Florida often comes with a hurricane deductible that only applies to damage caused by named storms. You may also have a wind / hail deductible for damage from a severe convective storm.
These deductibles apply to specific types of damage, so you could conceivably be responsible for each in a catastrophic event.
How to file a claim for storm damage
The storm has passed. Now what? Here are some tips for filing a storm damage insurance claim.
Contact your insurance company. Your insurance provider can tell you how to secure your property, conduct an inventory of damaged possessions, and anything else you need to do to begin the claims process
Keep good records. Save any receipts for your expenses related to the damage and recovery. These will be important for expediting your insurance claim and ensuring you receive appropriate reimbursement.
Document everything. Documentation ensures that your storm damage claim settlement is accurate. Separate damaged property from undamaged property, and start a detailed list of what’s been lost. Your list should include as much information as possible about each item.
Get estimates from professionals. Be sure to get estimates in writing and follow your insurer’s instructions so you are reimbursed appropriately. Be aware that scammers often come out of the woodwork after a large-scale storm. Whether you’re filing an insurance claim or not, research anyone who offers to repair your home – especially if it sounds too good to be true. Look for reputable contractors who are licensed, insured, and experienced in your community.
Above all, be sure to cooperate fully with the insurance investigation. An insurance adjuster will likely visit your storm-damaged home within one to two days. If you want your claim to be settled quickly, be sure to be onsite with the adjuster and cooperate with all aspects of the investigation.