Did your property suffer damage from recent storms? Are you dealing with fallen trees, ripped-off shingles, and/or damaged siding?
If you’re among the unfortunate homeowners who answer “yes” to these questions, you may be asking yourself one more question: Does homeowners insurance cover wind damage? As is typical with most insurance policies, the answer is not so cut and dry, and you’ll need some help figuring out how to move forward.
While most policies provide some form of coverage for damage from windstorms, every policy is different. The way your specific policy is worded may mean you’re covered for all damages, or it might mean that only surface damage is covered and any residual damages caused to the rest of your property as a result of the storm, are omitted. An attorney can help you figure out what’s covered and what isn’t, so be sure to contact our team at Wheeler, DiUlio, & Barnabei for a thorough analysis of your specific policy.
We want to take a minute to focus on windstorm coverages for your home itself, commonly referred to in your policy as “Coverage A – Dwelling.”
Initially, most HO-3 policies (also known as “all-risk” policies) have some language similar to this:
We insure for accidental direct physical loss to the property described in Coverage A, except as provided in SECTION I – LOSSES NOT INSURED.
Essentially, what this means is that all “direct physical loss” to your property is covered, unless it is expressly excluded later in the policy. Therefore, we need to look further into the policy to see if windstorms are excluded from coverage.
A quick review of this policy reveals that windstorms themselves are not excluded from coverage. However, certain forms of “water damage” are excluded under most policies. For example, one such exclusion reads:
c. Water Damage, meaning:
(1) flood, surface water, waves, tidal water, tsunami, seiche, overflow of a body of water, or spray from any of these, all whether driven by wind or not;
So, what happens when, say, a windstorm causes a tree to fall onto your roof, puncturing a hole and allowing water inside? The policy has no exclusion for trees falling on your house and allowing water to enter, but will your insurance company make the argument that the water damage was driven by wind? They may try, but they would be wrong. And that is when we step in. Always remember, your insurance company is not on your side. Insurance is a business, and like any business, they must make money.They make money by not paying your claim.
This is why you have to be extra-careful when reporting your claim to your insurance company, and exactly why you should contact a professional like Wheeler, DiUlio, & Barnabei, P.C. as soon as you experience your loss.
Most policies provide some form of coverage for damage from windstorms. However, every policy is different, and the way your coverages apply to your home versus the contents inside of your house is as distinct as the policy itself. If you’ve caught yourself wondering, “Does homeowners insurance cover wind damage?” we can review your policy and let you know exactly what’s covered, and whether you deserve reimbursement for your damages.