For those who suffered property losses during this week’s windstorm — the Northwest Insurance Council said in a post-storm release — the knowledge that wind damage is covered under standard homeowners and business insurance policies “may bring some peace of mind. Vehicle owners with optional comprehensive coverage also are insured.”
Homeowners insurance and business insurance policies cover wind damage to the structure of your home or business and your belongings. If you have renters insurance, only damage to your personal possessions inside your home or vehicle is covered. Wind damage to vehicles caused by falling trees or other wind-driven objects is covered if you have optional comprehensive coverage on your auto policy, the council said.
And for those citizens who suffered a loss, the council offers some key recommendations for homeowners and business:
▪ Don’t delay filing a claim. Filing quickly will reduce the time it takes to get your claim settled. If you’ve filed a claim for minor damage that doesn’t impact your ability to live in your home, consider getting several repair estimates before your adjuster arrives. This will help your adjuster settle your claim more quickly.
▪ Damage to your home from wind and falling trees is covered under your insurance policy, regardless of whose property the tree fell from. In cases where negligence can be proven, your neighbor’s insurance may apply.
▪ Document the damage and take pictures. When safe to do so, make temporary repairs to prevent further loss from rain or wind and save receipts for reimbursement. Don’t pay a large amount of money for temporary repairs unless authorized by your insurance adjuster. You could get stuck with the bill if the repairs are deemed excessive.
▪ Many companies exclude coverage for spoiled food unless a power outage is caused by a loss on your property, such as a tree severing the power lines attached to your home. Some companies provide up to $1,000 coverage for frozen and refrigerated food spoilage after 72 hours of continuous power interruption. Check your policy for coverage information.
▪ If your home is unsafe to occupy due to physical damage from the windstorm, most policies provide for Additional Living Expenses that exceed your normal expenditures. General power outages occurring off your insured property are excluded from coverage under most policies. While you may elect to seek other accommodations when your heating system is not working due to a general power outage, cold weather alone does not qualify you for additional living expenses coverage under your insurance policy.