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Is Wind Damage Covered By Homeowners Insurance?

By Jarrod Heil

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Wind damage is one of the most common causes for homeowners insurance claims each year and, thankfully, damage to your home and belongings that’s sustained by any kind of wind damage (hurricanes, tropical storms and tornadoes) is likely covered under your homeowners insurance policy.

Homeowners insurance protects the structure of your home, other qualifying structures on your property and your personal belongings if they were directly damaged by the wind. So a wind storm that tears off your roof, allowing rainwater to seep into your home and damage your belongings, should be covered by your policy.

Coverage for wind damage looks significantly different based on where you live in the United States, though. If you live in an area that’s prone to hurricanes and tropical storms — like Florida, South Carolina and North Carolina — or one that’s prone to tornadoes — like Pennsylvania and Texas — you’ll be subject to pay a separate wind deductible before your coverage kicks in. Let’s take a look at everything you need to know about homeowners insurance wind damage coverage.

Hurricanes, Tropical Storms & Tornadoes

Although wind damage can occur all across the U.S., the most common and costly forms of wind damage occur in areas where hurricanes, tropical storms and tornadoes are common. Luckily, no matter where you live in the country, your homeowners insurance should cover wind damage, as it’s one of the 16 named perils commonly covered by home insurance.

So whether the damage occurs to your home’s siding, fences, roof or foundation, you should be covered. Depending on the source of water entering your home, your policy may also cover some forms of water damage that were directly caused by the wind damage.

The only difference in coverage that can occur from state to state is how much you must pay for your deductible before your insurer steps in to foot the remaining bill.

Understanding Your Wind Deductible

Instead of a common dollar-amount deductible of $500, $2,500 or somewhere in between for regular home insurance claims, several states that see severe wind damage year after year have enacted a wind damage deductible, also known as a hurricane deductible.

Wind damage deductibles are based on a percentage of your policy’s dwelling coverage, usually from 1% to 10%. So if you have $200,000 worth of dwelling coverage and a 5% wind damage deductible, you’d have to pay $10,000 toward a wind damage claim before your insurer would step in to pay for the remaining damage.

While that may seem like a lot of money, insurers began to take massive hits due to costly wind claims, so legislation put these deductibles in place to mitigate the costs they were facing. Currently, 19 states require wind deductibles (Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia).

Dwelling Coverage

Your policy’s dwelling coverage is designed to protect the structure of your home and everything that creates it. So this coverage extends to things like your roof, garage, ceilings, flooring, windows, doors and even items that are considered to be built into your home, such as your water heater and air conditioning unit.

Your policy comes equipped with one of two forms of dwelling coverage: replacement cost coverage or market value coverage. If you sustain a covered claim, replacement cost coverage will pay to repair or rebuild your house to its original condition at the time it was damaged. Market value coverage will pay to repair or rebuild it to its market value before the damage occurred.

In some instances, and depending on how old your home is, your house may need to meet new building codes that weren’t in place when your home was built. If this is the case, your standard homeowners policy may not cover the extra costs. In that case, you’d have to invest in an endorsement to your policy called law and ordinance coverage, which helps to cover those additional expenses related to meeting updated building codes.

Other Structures Coverage

The second form of wind damage covered by homeowners insurance is the other structures portion of your policy, which is geared to pay for the repairs or rebuilding of structures on your property that aren’t connected to your house.

Other structures coverage protects things like fences, detached garages, carports and sheds located on your property. Your policy’s maximum typically caps out at 10% of your dwelling coverage. So if you have the same $200,000 of dwelling coverage from before, the other structures on your property would be covered up to $10,000 per claim.

If you have expensive structures on your property that exceed 10% of your policy’s dwelling portion, the only way to get more other structures coverage is to extend your policy’s dwelling limit, as many insurers may not allow you to exceed that number.

Personal Property Coverage

If your home is damaged by wind, there’s a good chance your personal belongings could be affected, too. If that occurs, don’t worry, your policy’s personal property coverage is designed to pay for items that are damaged or destroyed by the same direct winds that damaged your house.

This coverage can come in two forms: replacement cost coverage or actual cash value coverage. Replacement cost coverage is more straightforward, as your insurer will pay you the exact dollar amount you paid for the item — no matter how old or rundown it is. While actual cash value coverage takes depreciation into account when determining your payout.

There isn’t an exact formula to determine how much you’ll receive for an item when you have actual value converge, but it’ll almost always be less than its value on replacement cost coverage. Also, since you’ll get more with the latter coverage, actual cash value is cheaper.

Loss of Use Coverage

The final portion of your homeowners policy that has your back due to wind damage is the loss of use coverage. It helps to pay for additional living expenses you incur if you’re forced to temporarily move out of your house due to sustained wind damage.

It can reimburse you for a temporary place to live, extra gas costs from a longer commute and even pet boarding if your furry friends can’t come to your temporary home. It’s important to keep all the receipts to prove the costs, too.

How a Wind Mitigation Can Help

If you live in Florida, you may be glad to find out the state gives wind mitigation discounts to homeowners who’ve taken the proper steps to prevent hurricanes from damaging their homes. This includes installing wind-resistant windows and doors, as well as a hip roof that helps deflect heavy winds away from your house.

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The editorial content on Clovered’s website is meant to be informational material and should not be considered legal advice.