Storm Damage FAQ: What Does Your Homeowner's Policy Cover?
We're no strangers to rough weather in the Midwest. It's home to everything from heavy rains and hail to tornados. When you live in an area that faces potential damage or destruction from the weather, you want to be prepared—and that means knowing what your home insurance covers.
We've compiled a list of some of the most frequently asked questions around storms and home insurance that can help you get started.
How to Prevent Storm Damage?
You can't completely protect your home from storm damage; after all, the weather is unpredictable. However, there are a few things you can do to help reduce damage:
Remove any loose items from your yard, such as lawn furniture, before a storm.
Maintain or remove damaged or dead trees that could fall in a storm.
Make sure you maintain your roof and repair any damaged shingles.
Double-check your gutters are secured and are clear of debris, so water doesn't collect and pool.
Check to see what damages your homeowner's policy will cover following a covered peril, which is an event your insurer will help reimburse you for if you file a claim. Commonly covered events often include lightning strikes on your home and snow damage, as well as theft or vandalism.
Does Home Insurance Cover Wood Rot?
Typically, wood rot isn't covered by insurance, especially if the damage developed over time. One common example would be wood rot around window framing, which eventually causes a leak. In this case, unless stated in your policy, the wood rot damages wouldn't be covered.
If you have wood rot—under a floor, for example—from an accidental pipe or water heater bursting, your policy may cover those replacement costs.
Does Home Insurance Cover Tree Damage?
It depends on a couple of factors. In many cases, if the tree was alive and healthy and knocked over by lightening, which then caused damage to your home (or fence or shed, for example), your insurance may help you pay for expenses related to removal and replacement of the tree and the resulting damage to your home.
However, if the tree was already dead or was rotted and wasn't maintained by you, then your policy probably won't cover the cost to remove or replace the tree.
Does Home Insurance Cover Roof Leaks?
Damages related to roof leaks are often covered by your homeowner's policy. However, check your policy's terms because, in many cases, how the roof was initially damaged does matter.
If your roof was damaged in a bad hailstorm, for example, and shingles were functionally destroyed, allowing water to get in, then your policy will most likely cover repairing the damage to the roof and the interior. On the other hand, if your roof was already in disrepair, the damages may not be covered.
Does Home Insurance Cover Hail Damage?
Home insurance policies will often cover hail damage. However, it is often the case that the damage to shingles would have to result in clearly not being able to perform its intended function to shed water or that the life span of the shingle has drastically diminished. You'll want to review your policy for specific terms.
Does Home Insurance Cover Mold?
When it comes to mold, you'll want to review your homeowner's policy carefully. Typically, mold is not covered unless it happens from a covered peril, such as water damage from a burst hot water heater, for example.
Sometimes, you might discover mold damage from a storm. This damage can fall into categories: If it's mold resulting from a flood, it probably won't be covered unless you have flood insurance; if the mold is discovered after a storm damaged your roof and water leaked in, you may have coverage for mold removal along with other damages from that storm.
Does Home Insurance Cover Water Damage?
Usually, as with a roof leak, the coverage for water damage often depends on the original cause. Typically, if water damage happens as a result of an accident inside your home, such as a burst pipe, it's usually covered.
If the damage happens due to water outside your home, it may not be covered. Those that live in flood-prone regions might want to consider flood insurance. It can provide an coverage for water damage from water outside the home that may not be covered by your homeowner's policy.
Before getting into the heart of the upcoming storm season, check in with your local independent insurance agent to see if your policy covers and if it needs an upgrade.
We're here to help. Learn about the home insurance products Westfield offers, and don't hesitate to get in touch with an agent if you have more questions.