It's severe storm season in Florida. With any storm, there comes the possibility of wind damages. High winds are often hard to predict, and it is even harder to pre-determine how this wind will affect your home. Get tips for how to reinforce your home.
The good news is that if severe winds damage your home, your homeowners insurance can play a helpful role in helping you afford repairs. However, homeowners insurance may not cover every instance of wind damage.
It is up to you to prevent excessive wind damages to your home. Even if you can’t prevent all instances of wind damage, you can reduce the likelihood that these damages will become excessive. You can help make sure damage stays within the coverage limits of your homeowners insurance policy.
Homeowners Insurance Coverage for Wind
Most standard home insurance policies cover damages from severe weather, almost always including wind damage. Since wind damages are often unpredictable and unavoidable, you have a high likelihood that insurance will cover repairs.
However, the key word here is unavoidable. There are often things you can do to avoid excessive wind damages from impacting your home. This can help your insurability in a variety of ways.
First, by reducing wind damage risks around your property, you can ensure that any damages that do occur don’t exceed the value of your policy limits.
Secondly, properly reducing wind damage risks demonstrates your reliability as a home owner. This might make you a less risky client in the eyes of your homeowners insurance company.
Let’s say, for instance that you have a dead tree on your property. You haven’t taken steps to remove the dead tree because it isn’t harming anyone. However, during the next windstorm, the tree crashes down and falls through your home.
Ignoring this dead tree means you have consciously avoided destroying the risk it poses to your home. Therefore, your home insurance might investigate your claim, and determine that your negligence caused damages that might have been otherwise avoidable.
Additionally, weather coverage varies from policy to policy. Some individual policies may exclude certain weather phenomena that cause wind damages. For example, certain policies in some states might exclude windstorms that accompany hurricanes from coverage.
The good news is that Florida is not one of those states. Florida law requires that most residential property insurance contain a degree of hurricane wind coverage. This is due, in part, to the high risk that the state faces from hurricanes. Nonetheless, when you register for a policy, talk to your insurance agent. They can help you determine the appropriate levels of hurricane coverage to protect your home.
Preventing Wind Damages on Your Property
You have the responsibility to reduce wind damage risks on your property. The example of the dead tree above is a strong example of how homeowners insurance may not cover you from wind damages.
Therefore, take the time during good weather to inspect your home for wind risks. Putting a few hours into securing these risks can reduce the safe threats they pose to the home.
- Check your roof for loose shingles, structural weakness or other signs of damage. Most roofs last around ten years, though each roof’s lifespan varies. If you have an older roof, or a damaged one, consider hiring a professional either to reinforce, repair or replace the roof.
- Cut dead vegetation away from the home. In addition to trees, cut back dead branches, and dig up dead shrubbery. Burn or shred this vegetation so that it does not become a projectile in the event of high winds.
- Inspect your brickwork or siding for structural weakness. If they need repairs, call a professional. If you have a chimney, routinely monitor it for signs of breakdowns or structural deterioration.
- Ensure that your windows and doors have strong latches, and fit securely into their wells. Check panes of glass for signs that they are loose.
- Inspect your utilities like your HVAC system and electrical hookups. In the event that wind damages your outdoor electrical ports, it might increase the risk of catastrophic power failures and fires.
- Look at the home’s walls and foundations for signs of cracks, sinking or lopsidedness. If the home’s structure is not balanced, high winds might exacerbate the existing problems. Many homeowners have to periodically reinforce their home’s foundation to maintain structural integrity.
- If severe weather threatens your home, take the time to secure your home’s exterior.
- Leave your vehicle into a garage or carport.
- Secure outdoor items. Take umbrellas and hanging plants down from their hooks. Move patio furniture and lawn equipment into a covered area.
- Look around your yard for items that might become projectiles in windstorms. Even a child’s skateboard is a threat. Move these items indoors.
- If extreme weather, like hurricanes, threatens, consider boarding up your windows and doors with plywood. This can help protect the home from projectiles.
Most importantly, see to your family’s safety during high winds. Don’t let your children play on outdoor jungle gyms or swing sets. Keep away from windows during the most severe occurrences.
Should your home sustain severe wind damage, get in touch with your home insurance provider immediately. They will help you file a claim, and initiate a proper investigation to help you get the most out of your policy.
Bouchard Insurance has your coverage needs in mind. We can help you get a homeowners insurance policy that meets your unique needs. Call us at 800.966.6481 for more information.