Does Home Insurance Cover Storm Damage?
From minute to minute, you never know what you’re going to get from New England weather—and Mother Nature only seems to be getting more unpredictable. Just this year, homeowners have dealt with a variety of wild weather events, from record-high temperatures to extreme rain, flash flooding, hurricane warnings, and even several tornado touchdowns. With this increasing weather volatility, the Bearingstar team feels it’s more important than ever that we help homeowners understand their home insurance coverage and, specifically, delve into whether the standard policy typically includes protection against storm damage.
What Types of Storm Damage Are Covered in a Standard Home Insurance Policy?
It’s only by reading through your specific homeowners policy that you can be certain what storm-related damages may or may not be covered. But we know interpreting that document is easier said than done. So, if you’d like our professional assistance to understand what weather-related events your policy typically includes, please don’t hesitate to contact the Bearingstar team in either Connecticut or Massachusetts.
In the meantime, we are happy to provide some general insights into whether your homeowners policy might cover property damage caused by the following common weather events:
Wind and Hail
Many of the storms that have been swirling around the area, including hurricanes, tornados, thunderstorms, microbursts, and Nor’easters, frequently come with strong winds and sizeable chunks of hail that can rip siding from your home, tear shingles from roofs, break glass panes, and more. Will a standard homeowners policy cover these and similar damages to your house if caused by wind or hail? Typically, yes, your homeowners policy includes coverage that should help you pay to repair or replace property and belongings that have been damaged by these two types of weather hazards.
When a sudden and loud crack of lightning strikes right outside your house, it can get your heart pounding and your mind racing with thoughts like: “What if the next strike actually hits my house?” or “What if it starts a fire or fries all my connected devices?” It might provide you with some calm during the storm to know that the standard home insurance policy typically includes coverage for property damage caused by a lightning strike, as well as a fire caused by lightning. This coverage generally applies not only to your house but also to other structures on your property, like a garage or shed, and to personal belongings such as electronics and appliances, up to your policy limits, if they need to be repaired or replaced because of a direct lightning strike.
Some of the most frequent casualties of the extreme storms in the area have been bushes, trees, and other landscaping. Whether due to heavy snow, a buildup of ice, strong winds, a lightning strike, or another covered event, if a fallen branch, broken limb, or downed tree is the cause of damage to your home, belongings, or other structures on your property, a standard home insurance policy is typically going to assist you in paying for repairs—even if the tree comes down from your neighbor’s yard. This coverage also helps cover some of the cost of removing a fallen tree that has caused property damage to your driveway or a ramp, or that is blocking them. However, if a tree falls and doesn’t damage your house or obstruct an exit or entry, the cost of the tree removal will likely have to come out of your own pocket.
This winter weather hazard is a major concern for Massachusetts and Connecticut homeowners for good reason. It can easily develop after a huge snowstorm hits because, in typical New England fashion, the sun often comes out the next day, melting some of the snowfall. Then, the sun goes down, temperatures drop drastically, and all that snowmelt runoff ends up freezing around your roof and gutters. Once an ice dam starts to form, it can become a heavy load on your roof, causing water to seep into your home or your roof to sag and even collapse. Even if you implement all the best practices for preventing an ice dam, one can still form. So, you will probably be glad to learn that a standard home insurance policy typically pays for the removal of any portion of an ice dam that is directly causing a leak into your home and for fixing damages done to your home because of the ice dam.
There are numerous ways rainwater can infiltrate your home during a storm. For example, it could be blown into your home by high winds during a hurricane or tropical storm or it could enter through a roof damaged by hail, an ice dam, or a fallen tree. In these scenarios, since the rain seeped into your home due to an insured event, a standard home insurance policy is typically going to provide coverage and help you pay to address the resulting damages to your property and belongings. However, once you identify that rainwater is coming into your home, it’s critical that you get the issue fixed as quickly as possible, even if it’s a temporary solution, so as not to incur additional damages that might not be covered.
For all the weather-related storm damage discussed above, it’s important to know that coverage terms, limits, exclusions, and deductibles often differ based on the individual homeowner’s policy and the insurance company issuing it.
In addition, it is critical for homeowners to be aware that there is no coverage for flood damage in a standard home insurance policy. With flooding being one of the most common natural disasters—and an extremely costly one—it makes sense for every homeowner, even if you are not in a high-risk flood zone, to strongly consider getting a flood insurance policy.
If you would like to get a better understanding of the details in your specific home insurance policy, we invite you to contact one of Bearingstar’s insurance professionals. We can help you evaluate your coverage and whether it includes the right amount of protection against the financial repercussions of a wide variety of potential risks, including storm damage.
Bearingstar Is Here to Help You Weather the Storm
As weather-related disasters strike with more frequency and intensity, we hope that having the Bearingstar team in your corner will provide you with greater peace of mind. If a storm does damage your property, as your insurance professional, Bearingstar will be there to help in any way we can, including guiding you through the claims process and facilitating a faster and fair resolution of your claim.
But we are committed to doing more than that. We are also here to provide you with insights on how to get your home ready for all the seasons and the storms that come with them. From preparing for a hurricane to what to include in your home emergency kit, you can find numerous informative articles in our blog. The Bearingstar team is dedicated to helping protect your home, your family, and what is most important to you.