Does My Insurance Cover Winter Storm Damage?

homeowners insuranceHomeowners know that they need homeowner's insurance but they don't often know what that insurance covers until they're in a position to file a claim. The problem with this scenario is that you're often extremely emotional when you've had severe damage to your home caused by weather. The last thing you need to compound your distress is to be surprised by your coverage, or lack thereof. As a homeowner, it's important that you read through your policy and understand the parameters. For instance, you should know how much your insurance covers in personal possessions and, if you have very expensive items in your home, you might want to discuss adding coverage for those particular things - pieces of art or expensive jewelry, for instance. Often those things are adequately accounted for in the event of a fire or burglary. But how exactly does your policy protect you in the event of a natural disaster, such as winter storm damage?

Winter Storm Damage Your Insurance Should Cover

The following list is not exhaustive. There will certainly be scenarios which are less common or not included. But insurance should cover the bulk of these incidences depending on your policy parameters (and you should always check).
  • Wind Damage. Gusting winter winds can cause a good deal of damage, including broken windows, lost siding, damage to roof, and damage to screen doors or shutters. Most policies will cover damages caused by wind, though often deductibles are high enough that a lot of homeowners will repair smaller damages out of pocket. If the deductible is $500 and the damage only costs $300, they don't find a need to report the claim.
  • Tree Damage. In a severe winter storm, a tree coming down and landing on your home or taking out windows would most definitely be covered. If there is damage to belongings inside the home, from water or weather gaining access, those things may be covered, too.
  • Broken Pipes. Frozen pipes can burst causing a lot of damage and expensive repairs. This should be covered under your insurance.
  • Roof Collapse. With excess snow, there is a chance of roof collapse, especially on flatter roofs which accumulate snow. These damages should be covered.

Things Insurance Will Not Cover

Another winter weather problem can be flooding. When snow melts rapidly and the ground is too frozen to take the saturation, basements and lower levels can take water. Unfortunately, this is not covered under any Homeowner's policy. A separate flood insurance policy can be taken out through FEMA to cover any flood damages throughout the year. FEMA policies do not cover any personal possessions, only structural and mechanical. If you're in an area where flooding is a concern, it's recommended that you speak with your agent about increasing your homeowner's policy to include personal items, such as washers, dryers, televisions, and clothing that will not be covered in the event of a serious flood. [undefined]
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