Wind, Hail Damage to Siding and Your Homeowners Insurance
- Wind, Hail Damage to Siding and Your Homeowners Insurance
Your siding is durable, but it isn’t invincible. Hail and wind can batter the exterior of your house and leave scars on your siding. These marks aren’t only eyesores; they can lead to further damage if not repaired, which is why it’s important to fix them quickly.
In some cases, your homeowners insurance policy can cover the repairs to wind and hail-damaged siding. But, it depends on a few factors. The extent of the damage and the language in your policy need to be considered, in addition to how well you’ve maintained your siding as a homeowner.
Keep reading to understand when and how homeowners insurance covers wind and hail damage to siding.
Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Wind Damage to Siding?
Homeowners insurance likely covers wind damage to your siding. Wind damage can come in multiple forms, and it’s usually covered unless specifically excluded by an endorsement to your policy. However, your deductible will differ.
Homeowners insurance usually covers wind damage to your home. This includes damage caused by:
The dwelling coverage portion of your home insurance plan covers the structure of your house, such as the roof, windows, floors, and siding. The instances listed above are typically covered perils in standard homeowners insurance policies, called HO3 policies. If the exterior of your house, including siding, was damaged by covered perils, you should be covered.
If you’re thinking about filing a claim for wind damage to your siding, be sure the damage is higher than your deductible. If high winds blew a few panels of siding clean off your home, it may be more cost-effective to just have the damaged siding fixed by a professional without contacting your insurer. Check with a local siding professional.
If the damage is limited to a small area, the cost to repair may only be a few hundred dollars, especially if the siding that got blown off didn’t get damaged too badly and can be slid back into place on your house. But, if you’ll need new pieces of siding, you may run into more problems if the existing siding on your home can’t be matched because it’s been discontinued since it was installed.
In this case, you may need to replace all the siding on your home. If the initial amount of damage wasn’t greater than your deductible, your insurer may not cover the job. Your deductible is the amount you agree to pay when filing a claim before your insurer can pick up the rest of the tab. In some areas, you may have a separate wind deductible for damages caused by wind.
Wind and Hail Exclusions
Additionally, some carriers in states where windstorms, such as hurricanes and hailstorms, are common may include windstorm or hail exclusions on policies. This amendment to your coverage excludes damage from hail.
It may explicitly state that your insurer will “not insure for loss caused directly or indirectly by the peril of windstorm or hail; or the peril of windstorm during a hurricane.” It may also state that “such loss is excluded regardless of any other cause or event contributing concurrently or in any sequence to the loss.”
Of course, if this is part of your policy, wind and hail damage to your siding won’t be covered.
Some insurers may also have cosmetic damage rules in their plans, which state that they may not cover siding damage if it only affects your siding cosmetically and not functionally.
If your siding suffers a few dings and scratches, but still performs the job it’s supposed to by protecting and insulating your home, your provider might not want to cover the damage if you have a cosmetic damage exclusion.
These are contentious, though, since visible damage to your siding can hurt your home’s value, and insurers are typically required to bring properties back up to pre-loss condition after a covered loss. This may be important if you need all new matching siding even though only part of your home got damaged. You’ll need to consult your insurer if this scenario applies to you.
Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Hail Damage to Siding?
Homeowners insurance should cover hail damage to your siding, too. But, be sure to file for hail damage promptly after it occurs, and verify that the damage is higher than your deductible.
Siding is a durable and relatively affordable material that can last a long time on your home and provide you with aesthetic and insulation benefits. But, wood siding that’s been on your home for a long time can become brittle and lose its integrity the older it gets.
Additionally, siding of any material can lead to issues if it’s not properly maintained over the years. A small crack left unnoticed or untreated can allow moisture to affect the frame of your home, which can cause serious structural issues if it gets bad enough.
This is one reason why home insurers are sometimes hesitant to cover hail damage to siding. If the damage from the hail storm isn’t immediately reported or clearly evident, it can be hard to determine if a crack or hole is the result of hail or not. Try not to wait until months after a hail storm to file for hail damage.
Also, the hail may have just exacerbated a small crack that already existed before the storm, in which case the insurance isn’t responsible if damages expand since the initial hole or crack wasn’t caused by a covered loss (the hail) and you could’ve repaired it in the first place had you been more vigilant.
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Be Aware of Your Deductible
As with wind damage, hail damage to your siding must exceed your deductible, too. If the damage you want to file for isn’t higher than your deductible, your insurance won’t accept the claim.
And, if the amount is just over your deductible, it might be more cost-effective for you to just cover the expenses yourself instead of having your provider step in. Filing a claim can raise your rates, and if you still foot most of the bill after you pay your deductible, you may be better off just paying to repair the hail damage to your siding yourself.
For example, let’s say your home insurance deductible is $1,000, and the hail damage to your siding will cost $1,300 to fix. After you pay your $1,000 deductible, your insurer can only cover the remaining $300 worth of damage.
Instead of going through the insurance claims process and waiting for the $300 settlement from your carrier, which would only cover a fraction of the costs, it would probably be quicker to just pay out of pocket. Plus, you may experience a rate increase as a result of the hail damage that would effectively nullify your settlement in a few years as you pay higher premiums.
Hail Damage Siding Insurance Claims
We’ve mentioned that you should know your deductible and understand your policy exclusions when it comes to wind and hail damage. Before you make that insurance claim for hail damage to your siding, though, here are a few more things to consider:
File As Soon As Possible
We touched on this earlier, too, but it’s important. If you notice serious hail damage to your siding after a storm, you should notify your insurer as soon as you can. But, sometimes the problem is noticing it in the first place. Inspect your siding closely in different lights and at different angles to notice any indentations.
Filing quickly can help ensure that the recent hail storm was, in fact, the cause of the damage. And, generally, the sooner you file a claim, the sooner you can get reimbursed for the damages and start repairs.
Also, filing promptly can prevent the hail damage to your siding leading to further damage to your house. For instance, not reporting holes caused by hail in your siding can allow moisture or pests access to the frame of your house, which can lead to more problems that might not be covered by your carrier.
Know Types of Siding and Types of Damage
Hail damage to siding manifests itself differently on the different types of siding. Hail could cause cracks and holes in vinyl siding, while it could create dents in aluminum siding. If the type of damage to your siding doesn’t match with what hail could do to it, your insurer will likely raise some questions.
Was the damage caused by hail, or was it originally caused by something else and then made worse by hail? Did policyholder negligence make the damage worse than it should be?
Also, being familiar with the type of siding you have and the costs to fix it would help you determine if the hail damage exceeds your deductible and whether it would be worth paying out of pocket instead.
Perform Routine Maintenance
This also relates to policyholder negligence. If you’ve never cleaned, inspected, or treated your siding, it probably isn’t in good shape to begin with. So, if a hail storm comes along and damages it, your insurer might not cover the costs to fix it because it was in a state of disrepair in the first place and its condition made the damage worse.
Your insurance company expects you to keep up your property reasonably, and not performing routine maintenance can jeopardize your claim.
While you should make temporary fixes to your damaged siding that will prevent damage from worsening, don’t make any lasting repairs without contacting your insurer first. If your actions make the damage worse, your insurer may not cover it all.
Take Pictures and Keep Records
It’s wise to keep records of every time your siding is serviced or cleaned. Then, when you do experience suspected hail damage, take pictures and videos to submit with your claim. Your records of maintaining your siding without damage, and then having evidence of the damage from hail, can help your claim go smoothly.
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The editorial content on Clovered’s website is meant to be informational material and should not be considered legal advice.