Publish Date: January 2016
You purchased homeowners insurance to help protect your home and yourself just in case something goes wrong. But does that include coverage for when Mother Nature strikes, whether it's an ice storm or a fallen tree? The answer depends on the situation. Here's a look at what homeowners insurance may and may not cover if bad weather strikes.
Be sure you understand what is included in your coverage. Talk to an agent if you have any questions, want to make updates or would like to know if any additional coverages are available.
Whether it's a thunderstorm in the spring or a roof covered in ice, water can damage a home. While ice and hail damage are typically covered by homeowners insurance — up to the limits stated in your policy — coverage for water damage varies, depending on the cause. You may find homeowners insurance helps protect you if a frozen pipe bursts in your home. But homeowners insurance does not cover flood damage, whether it's caused by a rain storm or overflowing river. Review your coverage before you're all wet to see what your policy covers, and talk to an agent about whether flood insurance, which is sold separately, makes sense for you.
Damage caused by an earthquake or earth movement is typically not included in homeowners coverage. However, earthquake insurance may be available as a separate policy. An agent can tell you if this coverage is available in your area.
Should lightning strike your home or another structure covered by your policy, the resulting damage, such as fire or smoke damage, is typically covered by homeowners insurance. Some policies also provide coverage for power surges and outages that are the result of a lightning strike, such as damaged electronics or appliances. As with any coverage, limits will apply. Check your policy or contact your agent to learn the types and amount of coverage it provides.
If a strong storm roars through, you may find your siding damaged by hail and shingles that the wind ripped off the roof. Homeowners insurance typically covers wind damage. Coverage also usually includes damage from hail, wind-driven rain or snow that gets inside the home when a roof or wall is damaged due to wind. Most policies also offer some coverage for fallen trees that damage your home, provided the tree broke because of a storm or wind.
While homeowners insurance may help provide protection against the unexpected, it's a good idea to be prepared ahead of time. Taking measures to help prevent or minimize damage from bad weather or a harsh winter may save you a lot of time, energy and money.