Nature’s fury can strike at any moment, leaving behind a trail of destruction. Storm damage to your home can be devastating, whether it’s a:
- Thunderstorm ⛈️
- Hailstorm 🧊
- Hurricane 🌬️
- Tornado 🌪️
Fortunately, homeowner’s insurance is designed to provide a safety net during trying times. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the process of filing a storm damage insurance claim. We’ll cover what homeowner’s insurance typically covers, common signs of storm damage, and the steps to follow when filing a claim.
Read along, and get informed for when you need your roof repaired.
Understanding Homeowner’s Insurance
Let’s be honest. The insurance process? Hugely confusing. Unless you work in insurance yourself, you may find yourself scratching your head, wondering how it all works. Luckily, we’ve put together this handy guide just for you!
What Does Homeowner’s Insurance Cover?
Homeowner’s insurance is a financial safety net that helps protect your home and personal belongings from a variety of perils, including storm damage. While specific coverage can vary depending on your policy and provider, it generally covers the following:
- Dwelling Coverage: This protects the physical structure of your home, including the roof, walls, floors, and foundation. It typically covers damages caused by wind, hail, lightning, and other storm-related events.
- Personal Property Coverage: This provides coverage for your personal belongings, such as furniture, electronics, and clothing, in case they are damaged or destroyed by a covered peril during a storm.
- Additional Living Expenses (ALE): ALE coverage helps pay for temporary accommodation and related expenses if your home becomes uninhabitable due to storm damage. It can cover costs like hotel bills, food, and transportation.
- Liability Coverage: This protects you if someone is injured on your property during a storm and sues you for medical expenses and other damages.
- Medical Payments Coverage: This covers medical expenses for guests injured on your property during a storm, regardless of fault.
What Doesn’t Homeowner’s Insurance Cover?
While homeowner’s insurance provides essential coverage, it doesn’t cover every type of storm-related damage. It’s important to be aware of what your policy typically does not cover:
- Flooding: Standard homeowner’s insurance policies do not cover damage caused by flooding. You would need a separate flood insurance policy, usually offered through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) or private insurers, to protect against this risk.
- Earthquakes: Most homeowner’s insurance policies do not cover earthquake damage. If you live in an earthquake-prone area, consider purchasing a separate earthquake insurance policy.
- Wear and Tear: Insurance is designed to cover sudden and unexpected events. It does not typically cover damage resulting from normal wear and tear or lack of maintenance.
- Cosmetic Damage: Superficial damage, such as minor dents or scratches to siding or roofing, may not be covered unless it affects the structural integrity of the home.
Identifying Common Signs of Storm Damage
It can be hard to know when to contact your local roofing contractor and insurance provider if you don’t know what roof damage looks like. Here are some of the more obvious signs that you may be able to spot on your own!
Exterior Signs of Storm Damage
Before you file a storm damage insurance claim, you need to identify the common signs of exterior damage to your home:
- Roof Damage: Missing or damaged shingles, dents or cracks in roofing materials, and water stains on the ceiling are signs of roof damage caused by hail, wind, or falling debris.
- Siding Damage: Hail and high winds can cause dents, cracks, or punctures in siding materials. Look for signs of loose or missing siding pieces.
- Window and Door Damage: Broken or cracked windows and damaged doors can be a result of high winds or flying debris during a storm.
- Gutter Damage: Storms can cause gutters to become clogged, sag, or even detach from the house. Check for visible damage or signs of poor drainage.
- Fence and Deck Damage: Fences and decks are vulnerable to storm damage, including broken boards, loose fasteners, or even structural issues.
Interior Signs of Storm Damage
Interior signs of storm damage can be less obvious but are equally important to identify:
- Water Stains: Water stains on ceilings or walls may indicate a roof leak or water intrusion from damaged siding or windows.
- Mold or Mildew Growth: Excessive moisture from storm damage can promote mold and mildew growth, which poses health risks and can be a sign of hidden damage.
- Electrical Issues: If you experience power outages or notice sparking or flickering lights after a storm, it could be a sign of electrical damage.
- Plumbing Problems: Leaking pipes or fixtures may develop after storm-related water damage.
6 Steps for Filing a Storm Damage Insurance Claim
Ready to file an insurance claim but not sure where to start? Here are 6 simple steps to take.
1) Document the Damage
Once you’ve identified storm damage to your property, it’s crucial to document it thoroughly. Take the following steps:
- Photograph and Videotape: Use a camera or smartphone to document the damage from multiple angles, both up close and at a distance. This visual evidence will be crucial when filing your insurance claim.
- Create an Inventory: Make a list of damaged items inside your home. Include their descriptions, estimated value, and purchase date if possible.
- Preserve Evidence: If safe to do so, try to prevent further damage. Cover broken windows with tarps and remove debris to prevent additional problems.
2) Contact Your Insurance Company
Promptly contact your insurance company to initiate the claims process. Be prepared to provide the following information:
- Policy Information: Have your policy number and contact information readily available.
- Date and Details: Provide the date of the storm and a detailed description of the damage to your property.
- Documented Evidence: Share the photographs, videos, and inventory you created earlier.
- Temporary Repairs: If necessary, ask your insurance company for guidance on making temporary repairs to prevent further damage. Keep all receipts for these repairs.
3) Meet with the Adjuster
Your insurance company will likely assign an adjuster to assess the damage in person. Here’s what to expect:
- Schedule a Visit: Coordinate with the adjuster to set up a convenient time for them to visit your property.
- Provide Documentation: Share all the evidence you’ve gathered with the adjuster during their visit.
- Ask Questions: Don’t hesitate to ask questions or seek clarification about the claims process and coverage details.
- Be Present: It’s a good idea to be present during the adjuster’s visit to ensure all damage is properly documented.
4) Review Your Policy
Before the adjuster’s visit, review your homeowner’s insurance policy to understand the coverage limits and deductibles. Your deductible is the amount you must pay out of pocket before your insurance coverage kicks in.
5) File Your Claim
After the adjuster’s assessment, your insurance company will provide you with a claim estimate. If you agree with the estimate, the insurance company will proceed with processing your claim.
6) Timeline and Payment
The timeline for receiving payment for your storm damage insurance claim can vary. It depends on the complexity of the damage and the efficiency of your insurance company. Once approved, the insurance company will issue a payment to cover the necessary repairs or replacement costs.
Get Help With Your Storm Damage Insurance Claims
Filing a storm damage insurance claim can be a challenging process, but with the right information and documentation, you can navigate it successfully. At Trust Roofing, we can help make the process as smooth as possible with thorough inspections, insurance claims support, and fantastic roof repair and replacement services.
Contact us today to schedule your appointment!