Everything you need to know about insurance basics, like coverage types, limits, cost and more.
Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Wind Damage?
If your home is damaged due to wind-driven weather events, your homeowners insurance policy offers some protection. Typically, you’re covered for wind damage from events like tornadoes, hail storms, rain and lightning. Understanding how your policy offers protection against wind damage is key to properly preparing for the unexpected. This way you know the coverage limits to select and your additional coverage options for a wider net of protection.
According to the Insurance Information Institute, almost 1 in 20 homes will file a weather-related claim every year — and around 1 in 50 will report wind damage specifically. This is why it’s really important for you to know how your homeowners policy is designed — so you can get the help you signed up for when you need it most.
Let’s take a look at all the important ways your homeowners policy can protect you when the wind starts to howl.
What Types of Wind Damage Does Insurance Cover?
After straight-line winds make their way through your neighborhood, the yard may look a little different. Lawn furniture can be tossed around, tree branches might lay askew. And when you take a look at your home, you may find that a section of your roof is missing some shingles. Or perhaps your fence is knocked down and a tree’s now laying squarely in your yard.
Your home insurance can help you pay for the costs of repairing or replacing damaged sections of your home, roof, fences and other items that have taken a hit during a weather event. But the amount you will receive for your damaged roof depends on the type of coverage you have: actual cash value or replacement cost value.
Get in touch with your agent to review the type of coverage you’ve purchased.
Wind storms can produce a lot of damage by getting under your shingles and literally lifting them up and away. Your homeowners insurance policy will usually offer protection during covered losses like these.
But what exactly is covered under a base homeowners policy when you discover damage like this? And what additional coverages are available to better protect your home when the weather turns? These are good questions. And we’ve got the answers.
There are a few key ways your homeowners policy protects you against wind damage:
Wind damage to roofs
Your roof is protected by your homeowners insurance, but how you’re covered depends on your policy. The base policy usually provides replacement cost coverage for losses other than wind and hail. And, if your roof is eligible — based on its age and type (e.g. shingles, tiles, slate, wood, etc.) — roof replacement cost coverage is available for wind and hail damage as well.
Check out the details on additional roof replacement coverage for a closer look at how your homeowners insurance can be bolstered to cover damages to your roof.
Wind damage to shingles
Wood-shingled roofs offer a more natural look, though they are less common than asphalt composition-shingled roofs. Wood-shingles tend to require more vigilance and care from homeowners, especially after a storm. Getting coverage for wood-shingled homes may be dependent on a physical inspection where the condition of the roof will be reviewed, but it is available under the right circumstances. Wood shingles and shakes require yearly maintenance, so they are not the best choice of roofing material for many homeowners.
It’s important to report shingle issues as soon as possible because damaged wood shingle or shake roofs can quickly cause extensive leaks.
Wind damage to windows
Windows and doors are left exposed during a windstorm. If the wind picks up a small flowerpot and launches it into the air, your doors and windows could be vulnerable to being damaged or even destroyed. The good news is that your homeowners policy usually protects you during an event like this.
Wind damage to fences
Can you claim insurance for wind damage to a fence? Yes, you can. Coverage for this type of event typically falls under the category of other, or detached, structures on your property. With other structures coverage, fences are usually covered for the same unexpected events as your home, like damage from strong winds, hail, lightning, vehicle damage, fire and smoke, as well as vandalism. Depending on your insurance company and policy, wood fences may only be covered for actual cash value, which means that depreciation could be applied depending on the age and condition of the fence.
You can also find added coverage for them with the purchase of additional unscheduled structures coverage. This coverage offers $5,000 in limited protection which can be increased if necessary.
Wind damage to siding
You’ve got coverage for both metal and vinyl siding in an active homeowners policy. But in order to ensure that your siding is fully protected from unexpected events, it’s important to know exactly how your policy handles siding damage and replacement coverage.
If damage is caused by a peril listed in your policy — like wind, hail, fire and tornado — you’ll probably be covered for the damage and should be able to replace the damaged or missing siding with a material that closely matches.
But a standard homeowners policy only covers the parts of your home that are damaged — which can be a bigger deal than you might think. That’s why matching siding coverage is so important.
If your siding is a few years old, it may no longer be in production and a reasonable match may be not available. And even if it is available, your home’s siding may have faded, leaving you with two almost-matching colors on your home. And that can really put a dent in your home’s curb appeal.
With added matching siding coverage, you may be reimbursed for up to $20,000 of the costs for replacing the remaining undamaged siding if a reasonable match cannot be found. That way, everything matches as closely as possible.
How to Submit a Wind Damage Insurance Claim
After any severe weather event, it’s wise to approach the impacted area carefully. In the aftermath of high winds or a tornado, powerlines can be downed from overturned trees, and sharp hazards can be hiding in the debris. And it’s very important to stay off your roof when inspecting for damage and filing a claim. Take a look at these recommended tips when filing a claim for wind-damaged property:
- Ensure the area is safe
- Document the damage with photos and short videos
- Note the date and time that the damage occurred
- Jot down a written description of the damage
- Make temporary repairs to help keep the elements out of your home if possible
- Secure your valuable personal property by storing it with friends
Filing a claim is easy with American Family Insurance. One of the best ways to report a claim is to log into My Account or use the MyAmFam app. And by initiating your claim with one of these options, you’ll also experience additional benefits including:
- Filing anywhere, any time
- Tracking the status of your claim
- Easily communicating with your claims representative by email or phone
How to Protect Your Home from Wind Damage
There’s a lot you can do — in advance — to minimize the risk of wind damage. Start by trimming low-hanging branches that extend over your roof. And take a look at these tips to help prevent wind damage:
- Remove dead or dying trees near the house
- Check your roof frequently for any existing damage
- Reinforce windows and doors — you may need to hire a contractor
- Have a roofing contractor inspect your roof and check for any loose or missing shingles
- Verify that your garage door is mounted properly and closing completely
- Bolt or chain down large appliances around the yard like gas grills and patio furniture
- Verify all storage sheds and garages are anchored properly to their foundations
- Install storm shutters if you live in a hurricane-prone area
Get the Homeowners Protection Your Home Needs
If you’re just beginning the process of shopping for homeowners insurance, be sure to review our homeowners coverages. You’ll get easy-to-understand details on how and when you’ll be covered.
And remember to check out our Quick Home Insurance Estimate tool to give you an idea of the cost of home insurance in your area. You can use this when talking to your American Family Insurance agent. With the right insurance company, you’ll be better protected for whatever Mother Nature sends your way.