Homeowners may automatically assume that they’re protected from storm damage since they have an insurance policy. However, no single insurance policy protects against every type of loss.
Let’s take a look at the definition of storm damage, what a typical Rhode Island homeowners insurance policy usually covers, and when you may need additional coverage.
Storm Damage Defined
Weather-related events are usually what are included in storm damage. Events typically include wind or ice storms, tornadoes, hail, lightning, wildfire, power surges, and fallen trees.
Examples of storm damage may include a damaged roof caused by a severe wind storm or exterior siding dented by hail. However, not all damage caused by storms is automatically covered under a homeowner’s policy.
Flooding & Earthquakes Aren’t Covered
Damage caused by flooding and earthquakes isn’t typically included under storm damage within a homeowners insurance policy. You need to buy additional coverage to protect against these risks.
Flood insurance is available through your agent and the National Flood Insurance Program. You can either add earthquake coverage as an endorsement on your existing homeowners insurance policy or buy it as a separate policy.
In some cases, sewer backup is not be covered under a homeowners insurance policy either, even when it is caused by the weather.
Understand Exceptions & Limitations
Discuss your coverage with your agent to understand precisely what risks your insurer includes under storm damage. Insurance policies always have exceptions and coverage limitations. Some policies actually exclude wind and hail damage.
If you live in a hurricane, hail, or tornado-prone area, you’ll want to review the deductibles pertaining to wind and hail within your policy. They’re listed separately and are often much higher than the policy itself. They may be based on a percentage of the value of your home making it extremely important to align them properly.
Your agent can help you balance your premiums and deductibles to provide the best possible coverage at the most affordable price.
Home Maintenance is Paramount
Just because high winds tore off many of the shingles on one side of your roof during a storm, that doesn’t necessarily mean your homeowners insurance policy will cover it. The insurance adjuster will check the condition of the roof to see if it has been maintained. If not, your insurer may deny your claim or apply depreciation to your settlement.
You are also responsible for clearing the sidewalks after a storm and cutting away dead branches. Left unattended, these risks could potentially injure someone after a weather-related event. Your agent will do their bit and review your liability limits if an accident does occur. However, you need to do your part too.
Keep Your Coverage Up-To-Date
Storms tend to be more intense and longer-lasting than in previous years. Sea levels are also rising. Plus, temperatures are fluctuating more than ever before.
If you haven’t reviewed your insurance in some time, call us. It only takes a few minutes to discover whether your current policy offers sufficient coverage and how we can help you close insurance gaps. No one wants to discover they have poor coverage when they experience a storm damage loss.