Image of a home and neighborhood that have suffered wind damage.

Wind Damage & Homeowners Insurance

Updated February 2, 2020 . AmFam Team

Wind can cause serious damage to your home’s roof, siding and shingles. Make sure your home is covered from wind damage with American Family Insurance.

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 (Opens in a new tab) 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 (Opens in a new tab) 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

You can always call us at 1-800-MYAMFAM (1-800-692-6326) to speak directly with a claims representative or contact your American Family Insurance agent (Opens in a new tab).

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 (Opens in a new tab). With the right insurance company, you’ll be better protected for whatever Mother Nature sends your way.

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    Windshield Repair & Replacement Insurance Coverage

    Rocks and gravel, damage from weather and even temperature changes are all common causes of a cracked, broken or chipped windshield. It might surprise you that repairing a cracked windshield is actually a pretty simple fix — as long as you take care of it right away. Because what may seem like a small, insignificant crack at first could turn into a bigger, more expensive problem if left unrepaired.

    We know the question you want answers to: Will my insurance cover windshield repair and replacement? The short answer is yes, with some minor stipulations. We’ve highlighted some key information about windshield repair and replacement to help you understand how your insurance helps cover these small but impactful damages.

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    Do I need a repair or a replacement?

    Did you know that a small chip or crack reduces the strength of a windshield by up to 70%?* And eventually those small cracks spread into larger cracks that just might require a full replacement (which means more money out of your pocket). Getting your chip or crack repaired right away helps preserve the structural integrity of the windshield, which is a critical safety feature of your vehicle, and almost always prevents damage from spreading into a more costly replacement.

    To determine if your windshield needs a simple repair or a full-on replacement, you’ll need to identify what kind of damage exists. For example, if you have a small break, like a half-moon, bullseye, star or combination, you’ll typically be able to get a quick repair — which usually only takes about 30 minutes to fix.

    Here’s a list of common types of cracks:

    Chip or ding. Usually, small chips or dings are caused by a rock or other hard object hitting the windshield and taking out a small chunk of glass. Though small and usually not impeding your line of sight, a chip or ding could eventually spread and require a full windshield replacement. So, take the time to get it repaired right away!

    Bullseye. A bullseye crack looks just like its name — and it’s usually one of the most common types of windshield damage. The good news is it’s one of the most repairable kinds of cracks.

    Stress crack. A stress crack occurs when your windshield is exposed to extreme variations in temperature in a short amount of time. For instance things like extreme or swift temperature changes like cranking up the A/C or heat can cause a chip to expand into a larger crack, or if you put hot water on your ice-covered windshield, a stress crack may form.

    Edge and floater crack. An edge crack is formed near the edge of your windshield, whereas a floater crack is near the center of the windshield. These kinds of cracks usually cover a large area of your windshield and will need a full replacement. Over time, all the bumps and other impacts that occur during driving can cause the edge or floater crack to worsen.

    Insurance adjuster taking images of windshield damages.

    Does my insurance cover windshield replacement or repair?

    Insurance coverage for windshield replacement or repair depends on what type of coverage you have and the extent of the damage.

    If your windshield is damaged in a car accident, your collision insurance would cover repairs or replacement, but you’ll be required to pay a deductible, which is the amount you pay before your insurance company steps in.

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    No Deductible Windshield Replacement

    Do you have comprehensive insurance? At American Family Insurance, if your windshield is repaired instead of replaced for a covered comprehensive loss, the deductible is usually waived. Keep in mind that if the windshield needs to be replaced, you’ll still be covered, but a deductible may be applied.

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    How to File a Claim to Replace or Repair Your Windshield

    American Family Insurance offers a glass repair program with our trusted partner, Safelite. With them, we’ll work quickly to get your windshield repaired or replaced so you can get back to more important things.

    Make sure you file a claim before you take your vehicle in for repairs because your agent can help you determine how you’re covered. Remember, a repair usually won’t cost you anything, but a replacement will often require a deductible.

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    File Your Windshield Claim with the MyAmFam App

    File, track, and monitor the status of your claim from your phone with the MyAmFam app.

    Get in touch with our Glass Claims Department at 1-800-MYAMFAM (1-800-692-6326) or conveniently submit a claim online to Safelite.

    Have the following information on hand when submitting your claim to make sure the process goes as quickly and smoothly as possible:

    • Policy number
    • Details about the damage
    • Make, model and year of your vehicle
    • VIN

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    Does a windshield claim increase insurance?

    If you file a windshield claim, your insurance company typically won’t apply a surcharge, which is the rise in your insurance premium. However, if you do frequently file auto repair claims, your company could consider you a high-risk driver, which would cause a hike in your premium.

    Don’t forget to weigh your options when deciding to file a claim. Are you required to pay a deductible? Is the deductible going to cost more than your repairs? If so, maybe consider paying out of pocket for the repairs and avoid adding a claim to your car insurance history.

    At American Family Insurance, we want to make sure you’re confident and know all the ways you’re covered. Your agent is always happy to answer any questions you have about how you’re protected — in the meantime, check out more about our claims process so you know just what to do to keep moving forward when dealing with the unexpected.

    * Source: Belron® Technical, the world's leading vehicle glass research & development organization.

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    Personal Offense Coverage for Homeowners

    You probably have insurance to protect your home, car and health from the unexpected, but have you ever thought about putting protection in place in case you ever face a lawsuit for things like libel and slander? That’s where personal offense coverage comes into play. It’s a lesser known but important coverage available to add to your home insurance policy. Not sure what this coverage means? We’re here to help.

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    What is a personal injury endorsement?*

    Your home insurance financially protects you from many unexpected incidents, whether you’re at your home or away from it. But personal offense coverage doesn’t fall under the realm of protection provided by your standard homeowners policy. Insurance for personal offense is actually an additional coverage you can purchase on your homeowners insurance that’ll help protect you against personal offense allegations.

    A personal injury certainly sounds like an injury that happens to you or even to another person — in fact, this type of insurance can often be confused with bodily injury or personal liability insurance. But, while bodily injury or personal liability insurance covers things like medical bills and legal fees if a guest is injured on your property, personal offense coverage covers something much different.

    Personal offense insurance covers things like:

    • Libel and/or slander
    • False arrest, detention or imprisonment
    • Malicious prosecution
    • Wrongful eviction or wrongful entry
    • Associated legal costs

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    Do you need to add a personal injury endorsement to your home insurance policy?

    In today’s world, social media is more prevalent than ever. With the touch of a button, you (or your kids) can tweet, blog or post just about anything for just about anyone to view — which is why personal offense insurance is so important. Consider what would happen if someone sued you for a slanderous tweet you posted about them. Without personal offense coverage, defense costs and potential settlement fees will come right out of your own pocket.

    Or let’s say you rent out your basement apartment to a tenant, and you entered into the apartment without their knowledge. Harmless as this may seem, your tenant sues you for wrongful entry. Having personal offense protection can help cover resulting legal fees.*

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    What doesn’t personal offense insurance cover?*

    Though personal offense coverage can help you in instances where you’re in trouble for libel or slander, it doesn’t mean you should go ahead and say or write defamatory statements. Just as your other home insurance coverages have limitations, a personal injury endorsement also has exclusions and limitations on what it’ll cover. For instance, if you knew what you were doing was wrong or what you did was illegal, you likely wouldn’t be covered.

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    What does personal offense insurance cost?

    Adding a personal injury endorsement to your homeowners insurance policy is rather affordable — typically adding only a few dollars a year to your premium. Personal offense coverage is an inexpensive option that’ll pay off if you or a family member face a lawsuit.

    Contact your American Family Insurance agent to learn more about adding personal injury insurance to your homeowners insurance policy. Want an easy way to access your insurance information? Log in or sign up for My Account, where you can view your insurance info, file a claim, pay your bills and much more. Even better? You can do it all from the MyAmFam app. Download it today.


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    What Is Homeowners Liability Insurance?

    Accidents happen, and as a homeowner, you, your children or your pets can be held responsible for injuries to people in or outside your home or damage to other people’s property. The good news is your policy can give you financial protection against covered liability claims.

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    What Personal Liability Insurance Covers*

    Your homeowners insurance provides both property and liability protection. Property insurance protects the structure of your home (dwelling coverage) and your belongings (personal property coverage). And personal liability coverage protects you if you’re legally responsible for damage to someone’s property, or if you accidentally injure someone whether you’re at home or away from it.

    How exactly does personal liability insurance protect you? Let’s break it down.

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    Injury on Your Property

    If someone is injured on your property, your personal liability insurance helps pay for their medical bills and other potential costs. For example, if the injury resulted from your neglect — like failing to repair a broken banister — you may even be sued. And if you’re found liable, liability coverage within your homeowners policy may help protect your finances if legal expenses result.

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    Negligent Acts of Children and Others

    Let’s say your children are kicking a soccer ball in the yard and they accidentally kick it through your neighbor’s window. Fortunately, even though it wasn’t your own home that was damaged, if accidental damage occurs to someone else’s property by a member of your household, the liability portion of your homeowners insurance helps provide protection against associated costs from the accident.

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    Dog Bites

    Whether out walking Fido or playing in your yard, the liability portion of your homeowners insurance policy will typically help provide protection if your dog bites a person or another animal. Keep in mind, not all dogs will meet the criteria to be included under your policy. Connect with your agent to check if your dog is eligible and learn more about the limits of the liability coverage. Here’s a closer look at homeowners insurance and dogs.

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    What Personal Liability Insurance Doesn’t Cover

    Though it’s important to know the many ways in which personal liability insurance protects you, it’s also important to understand what it doesn’t cover.

    This coverage is designed to protect you if you accidentally injure or damage the property of a guest, neighbor or anyone who isn’t a member of your household. And it’s not an alternative or supplement to your health insurance. For instance, if you or a family member are injured in your home, your personal liability coverage won’t cover resulting medical bills — that’s what your health insurance is for.

    Also, if you or a family member intentionally cause harm to someone, you won’t be able to depend on your personal liability coverage for financial protection.

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    Home Insurance Liability Coverage Amounts*

    Like any coverage, your personal liability coverage offers protection up to your policy limit, which is the capped amount your insurance company pays in the event of a claim. You’ll choose your coverage limit when creating your policy, and any expense that extends beyond your limit will come out of your pocket. The good news is you can increase your coverage.

    For extra protection and added peace of mind, umbrella insurance provides an additional layer of liability coverage above your policy limit, so you won’t have to dig into your own savings in the event of a substantial claim.

    For example, we mentioned that personal liability coverage helps cover you if your dog injures someone — which is an important protection to have in place. But a dog bite claim can often surpass your personal liability coverage limit. Having umbrella insurance provides an additional layer of protection should a claim exceed the liability limits you selected within your homeowners policy and helps protect your assets.

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    Remember, costs can vary depending on the amount of coverage you’re looking for. That’s why your best bet is to connect with your American Family agent to discuss policy amounts and limits — they’ll help customize your policy to ensure you have the right limits for your unique needs.

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    Why Did My Homeowners Insurance Go Up?

    A lot of thought went into the purchase of your home. Its amenities, location, and overall design played an important role when you made the decision to place an offer on the house. Many of those same traits and features are referenced when an insurance company puts together a homeowners quote. And there are other key factors that they use to determine the cost of your premium.

    If you’re wondering “why did my homeowners insurance go up?” you’re not alone. It can be surprising to learn that your rates have increased. It may be because your property’s becoming more valuable than it was a year ago. Or maybe you invested in an addition, boosting your home’s worth. Or did you file a claim on your home sometime last year? There’s a lot to learn — when homeonwers insurance increases every year, it’s important to understand why.