How does insurance cover severe weather damage?
While you're protected against damage to your vehicle from weather-related issues with optional comprehensive coverage on your auto policy, covering your home against hurricanes, floods, and other incidents involving harsh weather isn't as simple. Standard home insurance policies cover your home and most items against wind damage, but flood and earthquake coverage is usually excluded.
What types of severe weather does home insurance typically cover?
Hail: Standard home insurance will generally cover hail damage, minus your hail deductible. In fact, hail damage to your roof is one of the most common home insurance claims.
Wind (including damage from tornadoes and hurricanes): Most home insurance policies are designed to cover damage to your home's structure and belongings from high winds, including those caused by tornadoes, hurricanes, winter storms, etc.
Note: The terms "hurricane insurance" and "tornado insurance" don't really exist, but you'll have insurance coverage for damage caused by severe weather under your standard homeowners policy.
Lightning: You won't need additional insurance to cover your home and personal property from lightning. It's covered on standard home policies, including lightning strikes that result in fire.
What types of severe weather does home insurance typically NOT cover?
Floods: Flood damage is not covered under standard home policies. However, specialized flood insurance can be purchased from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) or a private flood insurance company, if available.
Earthquakes: Home insurance won't cover damage from earthquakes on standard policies. In certain states, some insurers offer a separate policy or endorsement for earthquake coverage. In California, you can obtain coverage from the California Earthquake Authority (CEA).
Hurricane and windstorm deductibles
Your policy will likely have a separate, higher deductible for damage caused by windstorms or hail. Make sure to discuss the different windstorm and hurricane deductible options with your agent or insurer. Some deductibles are based on a percentage of your home's worth, so make sure you choose the right option for your needs.
What types of storm damage does vehicle insurance cover?
Just about everything. If there's weather damage to your car, motorcycle, RV or boat, your policy's optional comprehensive coverage can pay the cost to repair, or potentially replace, your vehicle or watercraft. A deductible will apply.
Pro tips for protecting your property from severe weather:
Check your policy: Be aware of any exclusions and coverage limitations. If your home is in an area prone to severe weather, make sure you have the right protection in place. If you're unsure about what's covered, speak to your agent or insurance company. In rare situations, you might be able to exclude wind insurance coverage for a substantial discount.
Be proactive: Don't wait to purchase the proper protection. If there's a hurricane watch in your area, it will be too late to buy homeowners insurance, as most insurers won't offer policies if there's a hurricane in range.
Make sure your deductible is within your budget: As mentioned above, storm and wind deductibles can be expensive. Be prepared to pay thousands out of pocket in situations where your deductible is a percentage of your home's worth. If you have the option for a flat deductible amount, you may want to choose the lowest deductible in exchange for paying a bit more on your monthly premium.