Storm Damage: Does Your Homeowner’s Insurance Cover It?
Have you have ever tried to use a store coupon, only to find out the discount cannot be applied to the items in your cart? If so, then you know what it’s like to be caught without the right insurance. Unfortunately, the price tag is that much worse when you realize you have insufficient Homeowner’s Insurance coverage after your home has been damaged by a tornado or heavy thunderstorm.
As a homeowner in Southwestern Ontario, you are prone to experiencing the best and worst of all four seasons. While you cannot change the weather, you can ensure you have the right Homeowner’s Insurance and Car Insurance to protect your belongings from storm damage. See the most common weather mishaps and how to get the protection you need below.
How to Insure Your Home for Water Damage
Q: “I have Homeowner’s Insurance, so that means I’m covered if there’s flooding in my basement, right?”
A: It depends on what caused the flooding in your basement. If a pipe burst, your Homeowner’s Insurance should pay to replace it. But if the flooding was caused by something else, you may need another type of protection.
Your basement could also be damaged by a sewer backup, which is covered by an optional add-on that is appropriately named Water Backup Coverage. If you are only carrying a standard Homeowner’s Insurance policy and your basement is filled with sewage, you will probably be on the hook for 100% of the repairs. For this reason alone, homeowners in older homes and/or with lots of big trees in the yard may find Water Backup Coverage is a smart investment.
Flooding caused by precipitation is also generally not covered by Homeowner’s Insurance but it would be covered by a rider or optional coverage on the main policy. Without it, estimates suggest that just one inch of water inside your home can cost upwards of $27,000. That is not an amount any homeowner wants to pay out-of-pocket!
Prevent Water Damage to Your Belongings
You can help lessen the risk of water damage in your home with these tips:
Be mindful of basement storage. Elevate your appliances, electronics and personal belongings above the basement floor, which is where water will typically accumulate first. Avoid storing valuable or irreplaceable items in the basement altogether.
Maintain your roof. Contact a roofer any time you notice shingles coming loose or falling off, to prevent a vulnerability for water to come in. Once your roof is more than 20 years old, it may be time to consider a new one.
Seal any foundation cracks. Even a hairline crack could provide an entry point for moisture. A foundation repairman can seal these cracks to prevent mold and other costly damages.
Insure Your Home Against Heavy Wind and Tornados
Q: “Does my Homeowner’s Insurance protect me from wind damage? How would I recoup the losses if my home was hit by a tornado?”
A: Like any insurance policy, your Homeowner’s Insurance has a deductible you pay out-of-pocket before your coverage kicks in. Your Homeowner’s policy will also include limits for Dwellings and Personal Property coverage, to specify the maximum amount that would be reimbursed for your home and belongings. Expensive jewelry and other luxury items typically exceed these Personal Property limits.
How to Avoid Damages from Heavy Winds
Try these suggestions to prevent wind damage from tornadoes and heavy thunderstorms:
Remove dead and dying tree limbs. Branches should be kept a safe distance away from your home and outdoor structures, to lessen the odds of smashing your roof or deck.
Secure your outdoor belongings. Tie down anything that cannot be taken inside, such as patio furniture, fountains, trampolines and landscaping décor.
Know how to turn off your utilities. If the main lines are damaged during a storm, you need to know how to turn off your home’s electric, water and gas lines.
Install impact-resistant materials. Hail-resistant roof shingles, windows and doors may also earn you a discount on your Homeowner’s Insurance policy.
Cover windows with storm shutters. If storm shutters are not an option, you could also cover your windows with plywood. Don’t forget to cover or protect skylights!
Insurance for Hail Damage to Your Car
Q: “Okay, so Wind and Hail Damage may be a separate deductible on my Homeowner’s Insurance policy. What about my car?”
A: Your Auto Insurance will reimburse you for hail damage to your vehicle if you are carrying Comprehensive Coverage on your policy. Remember, provincial law typically only requires drivers to carry Liability Coverage, which protects other drivers from any damages you cause. Liability Coverage does not protect your own vehicle. So, if you are only carrying the minimum coverage required by your licensing province, you probably would not have coverage for hail damage.
Similarly, Collision Coverage pays for damages to your car resulting from an automobile accident – not resulting from a single-car incident, such as theft, vandalism or adverse weather. In a nutshell: Even if your Car Insurance policy includes some additional protections, hail damage to your car will not be covered unless the policy includes Comprehensive Coverage
If you haven’t evaluated your Auto Insurance since you first started driving, contact one of DPM Insurance group’s six offices for a complimentary policy review to find out if you are protected from hail damage.
How to Protect Your Car from Hail Damage
Repairing hail damage can be costly. Avoid damage before it happens by moving or covering cars. If a garage is not available to you, cover your vehicle with a thick blanket or a layer of Styrofoam to lessen the chances of significant hail damage.
Get a free, no-obligation quote on Car Insurance to see if you can save money by switching your coverage.
DPM Insurance Helps You Protect What Matters
It’s important to make sure your Homeowner’s Insurance covers everything you need it to – and everything you expect it to. Before bad weather ever hits, review your policy with an Insurance Broker to identify any areas where you may be under-covered. Once your policy is in place, keep a copy offsite so that your documents cannot be lost or damaged by a storm.
You don’t need to be an insurance expert to get the best coverage for your home and belongings. All you need is the right Insurance Broker. DPM Insurance Group will help protect you from the financial consequences of a flood, tornado or thunderstorm.
Get a FREE, no-obligation quote on Homeowner’s Insurance, or contact DPM Insurance Group today to set up a free consultation for your current policy.