A blustery day is one thing, but it’s can be altogether frightening when there’s enough wind to damage your home. In certain areas of the United States, devastating destruction happens almost every year due to sudden acts of nature. In fact, around one in every 40 homes in the US will file a windstorm-related claim every year.
Fortunately, most insurance companies offer additional insurance that protects homeowners against losses suffered in one of these weather events. But what exactly does windstorm insurance cover?
What’s Considered a Windstorm?
A windstorm could mean different things depending on where your home is. In coastal areas, a windstorm could be a hurricane or tropical storm where sustained wind speeds could be between 74 mph and 156 mph, according to the [NOAA’s Saffir-Simpson] https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/aboutsshws.php) wind scale. For states in “Tornado Alley” stretching from Texas to South Dakota, windstorms could be tornadoes that cause a focused path of destruction. Or they could be a gale, which is simply defined as a strong wind between 30 and 60 mph.
Since you’re unlikely to know the exact windspeed blowing pieces off your house, simply think of a windstorm as anything that makes you think, “Wow, it’s really blowing!” when you look outside.
What Kinds of Damage Are Common with Windstorms?
The ways your home can become damaged in a windstorm are diverse. You could have a few shingles ripped from your roof, or it could feel like your roof has been taken off like a can opener. Wind could cause broken windows that allow rain or snow into your home, damaging your belongings. Or it could cause a permanent structure, such as your home or garage, to collapse in certain conditions.
Doesn’t Your Home Insurance Cover Wind Damage?
Common wind damage is usually covered as part of a normal homeowners insurance policy. It’s considered storm damage and can pay to repair or replace broken trees, damage to your home, and belongings that are lost or ruined as a result of the storm. But with a home insurance policy, the limits may not be high enough for homes in wind-prone areas.
For example, if you have $25,000 in coverage for storm damage on your home insurance policy, that’s usually plenty to replace a roof. But if the windstorm causes additional water damage or it’s so severe that your home needs to be rebuilt, the $25,000 limit won’t be nearly enough to compensate for your loss. Purchasing additional windstorm insurance should be on your radar.
What Windstorm Insurance Does for You
Depending on your insurance provider and your state, it could be known as either windstorm, tornado, or hurricane insurance. It’s commonly a rider or endorsement on your policy to enhance coverage for the specific damage that can result from a windstorm. In those areas, windstorm damage may otherwise be an exclusion.
Windstorm insurance covers you within its extended limits to cover the costs of repairs and restorations caused by a weather event. You’ll want to ensure your coverages include high enough limits to replace all of your valuables should the worst-case scenario happen.
Coverage for windstorm insurance can usually apply to other structures in addition to your home, like garages and sheds, not to mention pools, hot tubs, and decks.
When you’re purchasing windstorm insurance, take note if a deductible applies. Commonly, it’s assessed as a percentage of your home’s total insured value, not a flat-rate deductible for other losses you could suffer. To save money, you can choose a higher deductible amount.