Every so often, you see it on TV, hear it on the radio, or read about it in the newspaper. Somewhere in the country, a hurricane, tornado, or blizzard leaves behind a trail of widespread damage. Sometimes, weather-related damage to property and homes is minor; at other times it may be catastrophic. Do you know what natural perils your homeowners policydoes cover and what it does not? Let’s take a closer look.
Wind, Lightning, and Hail: Damage to your property and home caused by winds associated with thunderstorms, tornadoes, and hurricanes, or by lightning or hail, is generally covered. But, what happens if your tree falls down and damages your neighbor’s house? In most cases, your homeowners policy will pay to remove the debris and repair any related damage. Your policy generally will pay (within specified limits) for losses to your own property, as well as those for which you might be held liable.
Snow: If, following a massive snowstorm, part of your roof collapses under the weight of snow, sleet, or ice, your homeowners policy will generally pay for any necessary repairs. You may also be covered for cost-of-living expenses, should you have to move out and temporarily live in a hotel or rental apartment.
As a general rule, several weather-related risks or other natural disasters are excluded from coverage. These potential hazards are listed under “policy exclusions.” Some typical exclusions are:
Earthquake, Flood, and Sewer Backup: Most homeowners policies do not cover damages caused by earthquake, flood, or sewer backup, although you may be able to add these perils to your policy by special endorsement. Flood insurance, however, is available separately from the National Flood Insurance Program.
Landslides, Mudslides, Tidal Waves, and Ocean Storms: Landslides, mudslides, tidal waves, and wave damage in coastal areas are excluded from most homeowners policies. Like earthquakes, these perils generally affect only individuals in certain geographic areas. Separate coverage for one or more of these risks may be available where you live.
Ultimately, it is important to remember that not every policy is the same and coverage may vary from state to state. Feel free to review your insurance with us so we can help you identify important areas of coverage, and assist you in updating your policy, if needed.