Windstorms in insurance are considered a named peril, or something bad that could happen to your property that your renters or home insurance will cover.
Breaking down windstorms in insurance
Windstorms – grouped with hail on most basic renters or homeowners insurance policies – are one of the bad things your insurer will cover you for if it damages or ruins things you own.
You’re probably thinking, “Well, great I’m covered for windstorms… but what in the world is a windstorm?” And that’s totally justified. It’s not like you open your weather app and see “high chance of windstorms today.” ?
In the insurance world, windstorms refer to high winds, cyclones, tornadoes, and hurricanes.
Exceptions to windstorm coverage
While windstorms are a named peril, there may be a few exceptions, depending on which state you live in.
We’re talking things like:
- Your insurer might not cover damages as comprehensively as they would in other states (in this case, you’d have to purchase extra coverage or get an endorsement for more protection)
- Your insurer might have a separate Hurricane or Windstorm Deductible (for homeowners only)
You’ll be able to see all of this coverage stuff (what’s covered and what’s not) on the declarations page of your insurance policy.
Make sure to give it a good read to understand how much coverage you have and what types!
Windstorms: what’s covered and what’s not
Your insurance policy probably has language similar to the following regarding your coverage for windstorms in the Perils Insured Against section:
“This peril includes loss to watercraft of all types and their trailers, furnishings, equipment, and outboard engines or motors, only while inside a fully enclosed building. This peril does not include loss to the property contained in a building caused by rain, snow, sleet, sand or dust unless the direct force of wind or hail damages the building causing an opening in a roof or wall and the rain, snow, sleet, sand or dust enters through this opening.”
Wow. That’s a mouthful.
Basically, your insurer is trying to say here that your policy will cover any damage to:
- Your building’s exterior (if you’re a homeowner)
- The stuff inside your place (if you’re a renter) if the damage is directly caused by wind from bad weather
Take note that, as per usual, you won’t be covered for anything solely water-related in these cases.
So, let’s say there was a cyclone that tore off the roof of your house, and also caused severe flooding. Only your roof and anything damaged from the rain that came in through your roof would be covered. None of the stuff damaged due to the flooding would be included.
Yeah, it gets complicated.
How are windstorm deductibles calculated?
In general, there are two ways insurers calculate how much homeowners will get on a windstorm claim.
It’s either a flat amount, or a percentage of your dwelling coverage (the amount of coverage you have on your actual property). While the flat fee is usually around $1,500 per claim, the percentage-based option ranges from 1% – 5%.
Let’s say there were strong winds that ripped the roof right off of your house. This caused $30,000 worth of damage to your garage and the stuff inside. Ouch. If you have $400,000 in coverage on your home, and your windstorm deductible is 1%, your insurance deductible would be just $4,000. That way, you’ll be receiving a check from your insurer for $26,000. Phew!
When getting an insurance quote, make sure to double-check your options for flat versus fixed rates, and make sure you’re getting enough coverage to suit the area you live in.