Wind damage: Is it insured or not?
With the recent destructive windstorm lashing western Washington, home and business owners may be left wondering what to do about significant damage to their property and vehicles.
The NW Insurance Council offers the following coverage facts for wind damage:
What’s typically covered:
• Damage to your home from wind and falling trees, including trees from neighboring properties that fall on homes or outbuildings.
• Removal of trees that have fallen on buildings.
• Damaged personal property (both home and renters) inside a damaged building.
• Additional living expenses such as increased housing costs, extra food costs, furniture rental, and storage fees, if you can’t occupy your primary residence due to storm damage.
• Costs for temporary repairs to prevent further damage to the building or contents.
• Damage caused by wind and falling trees – if you purchased optional comprehensive coverage.
What’s typically not covered:
• Removal of trees that have fallen in your yard without damaging a building.
• Upgrades that weren’t part of your home before the storm.
• 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.
•Damage to your vehicle if you don’t have a comprehensive coverage policy.
What to do if your home or vehicle has been damaged:
•Document damage and take pictures.
•If safe to do so, make temporary repairs to prevent further loss from rain or wind. Save receipts for possible future reimbursement from your insurance company.
•If your home or property is damaged by a windstorm, contact your insurance agent or company to file a claim immediately. Filing a claim quickly enables your insurance company to get your claim to you sooner.
•Use only licensed, reputable building contractors and be sure they receive the proper building permits.
What to avoid if your home or vehicle has been damaged:
•Avoid contractors who ask for a large deposit up front or bids that are remarkably low. This may indicate a willingness to cut corners or leave work unfinished.
•Don’t pay a lot for temporary repairs unless authorized by your insurance adjuster. You could get stuck with the bill if the repairs are deemed excessive.
•Don’t discard anything that is damaged until it has been examined by your adjuster. You could miss out on coverage for that item.
For more information, call the NW Insurance council at 800/ 664-4942 or visit their web site at www.nwinsurance.org.