Wisconsin weather always keeps us guessing, and this past June was no different. In a matter of weeks, we saw several storms that brought large hail, damaging wind gusts, and flash floods. You may have experienced one or more of these and had to turn in an insurance claim due to the damage. Although it’s been a couple of months since these storms, it’s a good idea to have a refresher course on storm damage claims.
The types of storm perils generally covered by most home insurance policies are wind, hail, fallen trees, lightning strikes, power surges, and in some cases water. If your vehicle is damaged from a storm, there is coverage if you have comprehensive coverage on the damaged vehicle.
As mentioned above, wind and hail damage is covered under your home insurance policy. However, the coverage is subject to your deductible – the amount you pay out of pocket before insurance pays for the rest. In many cases, the deductible for your home policy applies in this situation. What is becoming more and more common are separate wind and hail deductibles.
For example, you may have a home deductible of $1,000, but you also have an option to have a higher deductible for wind and hail losses which could be $2,500. In some cases, wind/hail deductibles can be a percentage of the total loss with a specified max dollar amount out of pocket.
Fallen trees or branches are very common during severe storms. The difficult question becomes are they covered by insurance? It depends. To better explain the answer, think of what an actual homeowner’s policy covers. It insures the home itself, any detached garages, sheds, outbuildings, fences, and your personal property. A home policy does not insure trees on or off your property. If a tree falls and damages your home or detached structure, the damage caused by the tree is covered, but there is most likely very limited coverage for removal of the tree if any at all. There is no coverage for a fallen tree that does not damage anything.
During the month of June, insurance companies were bombarded with countless storm damage claims. Due to the sheer number of claims that came in, insurance companies are prioritizing the most severe claims first. If you still have an unresolved claim currently, we appreciate your patience as claims adjusters work around the clock to ensure all repairs are handled properly and in as timely a manner as possible.
Inspection companies were also overwhelmed as a result of these storms. Third-party inspection companies may inspect for a number of different insurance companies, and when each of those insurance companies has a large number of claims that need inspecting, they start to pile up. Many inspection companies had employees quit their jobs due to the long hours and stressful days. As a result, there is an employee shortage at inspection companies which is only lengthening the time a claim is open.
Something to be aware of when larger storms roll through an area are storm chasers looking for business. There have been cases where out-of-state roofing companies will go door to door in an area where a storm came through asking to check your roof for damage. While this may seem like a friendly contractor making sure your roof is safe, they may just be looking for as much business in the area as they can find. If this happens, make sure to get a second opinion from a trusted contractor.
An Agent You Can Trust
Severe weather is out of our control but is a large reason why having proper home insurance coverage is so vital. Your local CRG agent provides the right insurance so you are protected after storm damage. They also provide value because you can have off-the-record discussions before you decide to put in a claim. Not every claim situation is black and white, so talking with your insurance agent will give you clarity as to what your next move should be. You aren’t supposed to have all of the answers, which is why having a trusted insurance agent is so valuable.