Homeowner’s Insurance for Weather-Related Disasters

Many homeowners purchase insurance with the assumption their policy will cover all natural disasters. Yet when a particularly devastating incident hits, they soon discover the peril is specifically excluded or coverage is only extended in a limited capacity.

Based on a study from Aon, natural disasters resulted in $71 billion in insured losses across the globe in 2019 alone. To ensure you’re covered and able to recoup in the aftermath of a damaging incident, thoroughly understand what your policy does and does not cover.

Covered Weather-Related Incidents

Weather-related incidents include a range of scenarios, from winter storms bringing multiple feet of snow to water damage from spring thaws.

Generally, if you find your home has experienced damage as a result of weather, you should file a claim as soon as possible before the issue worsens.

Whether you’ll be covered depends on the perils included or excluded from your policy. A typical homeowner’s policy tends to extend coverage to:

  • Lightning
  • Hail
  • Water damage, with the exception of flooding
  • Weather-related roof damage
  • Windstorms
  • Ice damage, including ice dams and frozen pipes
  • Fallen trees
  • Weather-related power failure
  • Snowstorms

In terms of what your policy does cover, your carrier will help reimburse your claim for property damage and related liabilities.

Weather-Related Incidents Not Covered

All homeowners should review the list of perils their policy includes and specifically excludes. Otherwise, you could be paying out-of-pocket for all related damage after an incident occurs.

Certain weather-related conditions are consistently excluded from homeowner’s insurance policies, requiring you to purchase additional coverage. These include:

  • Flooding: Most homeowner’s insurance carriers specifically exclude flooding, with the exception of instances like a burst pipe. Especially if you live in a flood-prone area, you’ll need to get coverage through the National Flood Insurance Program or a private carrier.
  • Earthquakes: Similar to flooding, standard homeowner’s insurance policies exclude earthquake-related damage. However, homeowners can purchase separate coverage or add an endorsement.
  • Sewer Backup: Both homeowner’s and flood insurance specifically exclude sewer backups. If your area is more likely to experience this issue and it’s beyond your control, you may want to purchase a separate policy.

Homeowner’s insurance also won’t extend coverage to gradual damage, regardless of which peril it resulted from. For this reason, you’re advised to file a claim right away and document the state of your property through photos and video. Once you do this, your carrier will send out a team to ensure your property doesn’t experience additional damage.

Unfortunately, about 66 percent of homeowners are unsure about which weather-related events their policy covers and excludes. To adjust your policy or take out supplemental coverage, contact us today.