Living in New England, homeowners see their fair share of storms including heavy rainfall, lightning strikes, and strong winds. Without the right insurance coverage, storm damage can be devastating both emotionally and financially for homeowners; which is why it pays to work with a local, knowledgeable insurance agency like HIG Insurance.
Having a local team in your corner – one that understands the wide variety of storm damage that can affect the South Coast of MA and Rhode Island – will help you secure the proper coverages to protect your family, your home, and your belongings in case you ever have to file a storm damage claim.
When it comes to homeowners insurance and storm damage, it’s important to understand that not all storms are alike, which is why we’re breaking down what types of storm damages are typically covered by a standard homeowners insurance policy.
A wide range of potential disasters such as fire, theft or vandalism are typically covered under your homeowners insurance. However, in terms of damage caused by a storm, it’s a little more complex and not always easy to understand what is or what isn’t covered. A standard homeowners policy commonly covers damages caused by:
- Lightning strikes and power surges
- Water and ice damage (excluding floods)
- Wind, hail and fallen trees
The best way to find out if you’re covered for any of these perils is to contact your local insurance agent. However, we will break it down here so you know what protection is in a typical homeowners policy.
Are Lightning Strikes and Power Surges Covered by my Home Insurance?
Sudden spikes in electricity, also known as power surges, can occur when lightning strikes your home directly or power lines or telephone wires connected to your home. They can also happen if there are sudden changes in the electrical current within your home due to things like power company operations or large appliance malfunctions. In either event, your homeowners insurance policy can usually help cover costs associated with the damage an electrical surge may cause. For example, if a power surge causes a home fire, your dwelling coverage can help to rebuild or repair your home and your personal property coverage can help replace your damaged or destroyed belongings like appliances or electronics.
Is Water and Ice Damage Covered by my Home Insurance?
In the case of water or ice damage, your homeowners insurance policy will typically help pay for damages if the cause is sudden and accidental. For example, if a pipe suddenly bursts, your home insurance will likely cover those damages up to the limits of your policy. However, it’s important to note, that if your basement floods due to rising water levels your standard home insurance would typically not cover the damage caused by this peril either. Similar to coverage for lightning strikes or power surges, there are two types of coverage within a homeowners insurance policy that may help with water or ice damage. Dwelling coverage helps pay for damage to the structure of your home while personal property coverage helps pay for damage to your belongings.
Will Home Insurance Cover Damage Caused by Wind, Hail and Fallen Trees?
Whether it’s due to a summer storm, fall hurricane, or a winter nor’easter that comes whipping through, wind, hail and fallen trees can all cause major headaches for homeowners. In the event that wind or hail damages your property, the dwelling and personal property coverage within your homeowners insurance policy will likely help pay for damages. If one of these storms was to cause a tree to fall and damage a structure on your property, like your home or garage, then your homeowners insurance will also likely cover this damage.
It’s important to note that there are often underlying coverage limits associated with weather or storm-related claims. These limits may differ among carriers, but are usually outlined in your homeowners policy. In the case of lightning, power surges, wind, hail, and water that may ignite a fire, cause an ice dam to form, or a tree to fall, there may still be limits to what is and isn’t covered depending on the specifics of your policy. For this reason, we think it is essential to work with a local independent insurance agent, like HIG. Your insurance agent should help you fully understand your policy and identify areas where you may need additional insurance coverage based on your unique home and property.
What Storm Damage is Excluded from My Homeowners Insurance?
A standard homeowners insurance policy provides a broad range of essential coverages, however, there are some exclusions when it comes to fully protecting your property from certain damages. Common storm-related perils that are not included in your typical homeowners insurance policy include floods and earthquakes.
Flood damage is excluded under a standard homeowners or renters insurance policy, but that does not mean that there aren’t other ways to guard against this type of damage. A separate flood insurance policy is available both from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and a few private insurers in the market. As the trusted experts for coastal home insurance along the South Coast of Massachusetts and Rhode Island, HIG understands the risk of flooding all year round and can help assess your flood risk and answer any questions you may have.
Coverage for earthquake damage is also excluded from most property insurance policies. If you live in an earthquake-prone area, you’ll need a special earthquake insurance policy. Although not common, Massachusetts and Rhode Island both experienced earthquakes in the past. Just six months ago, there was an earthquake in Warwick, Rhode Island, which is why adding this coverage to your homeowners policy is an important protection to consider. Earthquake insurance is specifically designed to help protect homeowners from damaged caused by Earthquakes, which is often extensive and expensive.
When it comes to protecting your home against storm damage, having the proper coverage is key. Before a claim happens, speak to an HIG insurance agent today about the risks your property may face and how to protect against them. An additional insurance policy or an added endorsement may be right for your unique situation.
If you have unanswered questions about protecting your home or filing a claim — an HIG insurance agent is happy to help! Give us a call at 508-676-5949 to review your current homeowners insurance policy and make adjustments to ensure proper and full coverage for you and your family.