Windstorms can cause severe damage to homes and properties. From hurricanes and tornadoes to strong thunderstorms, wind damage often results in expensive repairs. That’s why windstorm insurance is an important coverage to consider for homeowners. This article will provide everything you need to know about windstorm insurance.
What is Windstorm Insurance?
Windstorm insurance, also known as wind and hail insurance, is a type of property insurance that covers damage caused by wind-related events. This includes damage from:
- Strong winds
Windstorm insurance will help pay for repairs if high winds or hailstones damage your home or personal property. For example, it can cover:
- Roof and siding repairs from wind damage
- Windows shattered by hail
- Fallen trees or debris that harm your home
- Interior water damage if winds rip off part of the roof
Windstorm coverage is an optional add-on policy for homeowners insurance. In some high-risk storm areas, like the coasts or Tornado Alley, windstorm insurance may even be required by mortgage lenders.
Windstorm Insurance Features
Windstorm coverage provides invaluable protection that standard homeowners policies lack. Key takeaways:
- Wind damage can easily cost tens of thousands in repairs.
- Windstorm insurance fills gaps left by typical homeowners policies.
- Premium costs vary substantially based on risk factors.
- Comparison shop between insurers for the best rates.
- Understand exclusions – you may need additional flood or surge insurance.
- Document damage, make repairs promptly and keep stringent records to facilitate claims.
With catastrophic winds always a possibility, windstorm insurance delivers peace of mind that you can rebuild after destructive gales strike. Carefully consider adding this critical coverage to your homeowners protection plan.
Why You Need Windstorm Insurance
There are several important reasons to consider adding windstorm insurance:
Wind damage is expensive
Windstorms can cause severe destruction, with repair costs quickly reaching tens of thousands of dollars. Even a modest wind event can lead to a roof leak or broken window that costs several thousand to fix. Without insurance, these costs come straight out of your own pocket.
Standard homeowners policies have exclusions
Most standard homeowners insurance policies do not cover wind damage. While they include general storm coverage, this applies to precipitation damage only – not winds. That’s why you need additional windstorm insurance for full protection.
You can’t predict the next big storm
Hurricanes, tornadoes and hailstorms often appear with little warning. And they can happen anywhere, not just traditionally stormy regions. For example, a record EF-4 tornado struck Massachusetts in June 2011. With wind insurance, you’ll be covered no matter when or where the next windstorm strikes.
Windstorm claims are increasing
Thanks to improved science and detection, the number of recorded windstorms has risen over the past decades. And with climate change, researchers expect further increases in severe wind events. This makes wind insurance an essential buffer as wind damage becomes more frequent.
What Windstorm Insurance Covers
Windstorm insurance policies vary between insurers, but generally cover direct physical damage to your property and belongings caused by wind. Coverages may include:
- Dwelling: Your home and attached structures.
- Other Structures: Detached buildings like garages or fences.
- Personal Property: Furniture, appliances and other possessions.
- Additional Living Expenses: Pays for temporary accommodations if your home is unlivable.
- Debris Removal: Covers the cost to remove windstorm debris from your property.
Make sure to review the full policy details, as some insurers may limit payouts for certain categories like landscaping, pools or watercraft. Also check the deductible, as insurers typically apply a percentage deductible to wind claims rather than the flat dollar amount for standard claims.
What Windstorm Insurance Does Not Cover
Understanding windstorm insurance exclusions is also important:
- Flood Damage – Wind insurance only covers damage directly caused by wind. Any ensuing or concurrent flooding damage requires separate flood insurance.
- Power Surges – Damage due to power surges or interruptions during a storm is not covered. You need separate endorsement for this.
- Downed Power Lines – Wind policies do not apply if downed power/utility lines or poles land on your property.
- Surface Water – Rain or snow entering through wind-created openings is covered, but surface flooding is not.
- Policyholder Negligence – Damage from leaving windows/doors open or failing to adequately prepare the dwelling prior to a windstorm may be excluded.
- Vehicles or Boat Damage – You need comprehensive auto/boat coverage for wind damage to vehicles.
Review all exclusions carefully before purchasing windstorm insurance. Be aware you may need extra coverage beyond the wind policy itself.
How Much Does Windstorm Insurance Cost?
Windstorm insurance premiums vary substantially based on risk factors like:
- Location – Properties near coasts or other high wind zones face greater risk.
- Dwelling Type – Mobile homes are more vulnerable than brick/concrete dwellings.
- Deductible – Choosing a higher deductible reduces premiums.
- Coverage Limits – Higher coverage for dwelling/contents raises premiums.
- Home Value – More expensive homes cost more to insure.
- Claims History – Frequent past wind damage claims can increase costs.
On average, windstorm insurance adds 5% to 15% to your overall homeowners premium. But for high-risk homes, it could exceed over 30% of the total cost. Carefully weigh the costs against your risk tolerance and assets to protect.
How to Buy Windstorm Insurance
If you decide wind coverage is right for you, here are some tips for purchasing it:
- Check with your current insurer first. This avoids gaps in coverage and makes bundling easier.
- Compare pricing from multiple insurers. Rates can vary dramatically between companies.
- Look for discounts. Options like storm shutters or impact-resistant roofs may lower costs.
- Raise your deductible. Opting for 2% or 5% of the dwelling value instead of a flat $500-1000 can help lower premiums.
- Ask about multi-policy discounts. Insure both home and auto with one company to possibly qualify for savings.
- Inquire about builder’s discounts. Some insurers offer lower rates for newly constructed, wind-resistant homes.
The best way to find the right windstorm insurance for your property and budget is to shop around and get quotes from several providers before deciding.
How to File A Windstorm Insurance Claim
If your home suffers wind damage, act quickly to file an insurance claim:
- Document the damage. Take photos/video of destruction like roof leaks, collapsed walls, or blown out windows.
- Emergency repairs. Take reasonable steps to prevent further damage like covering broken windows. Keep receipts.
- Contact your insurer. Notify them as soon as possible after the wind event transpires.
- Complete claim forms. Provide information on damaged items and wind circumstances.
- Get multiple repair estimates. Your insurer will want qualified contractor estimates on home repairs.
- Keep records. Maintain all invoices, claim documents and correspondence with your insurance company.
- Understand claim payouts. Most wind claims subject damages to Actual Cash Value initially, with recoverable depreciation later.
Staying organized and thorough with paperwork will help facilitate fair compensation from your windstorm insurance provider.
Wind and hailstorms can rapidly cause extensive damage to homes across large regions. Having a comprehensive windstorm insurance is key to recovering financially from these destructive events.
Take time to understand what wind coverage includes, approximate costs in your area and how to file effective claims after wind events. With proper windstorm insurance, you can rest assured knowing you are protected even if intense gales head your way.