Plan for the Unexpected

Weathering a Storm: How Good Is Your Homeowners Policy?

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No matter what part of the country you live in, severe weather is always a threat. Hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, or blizzards may leave behind a trail of widespread damage. Sometimes, weather-related damage to a house and property is minor; at other times it may be catastrophic. In any event, it is always good to know what natural perils your homeowners policy covers and what may be excluded. Let's take a closer look.

Wind, Lightning, and Hail

Damage to your home and property caused by winds associated with thunderstorms, tornadoes, and hurricanes, or by lightning or hail, is generally covered. You might wonder, "What happens if a tree falls and damages my house?" In most cases, your homeowners policy will pay for the removal of the tree, in addition to repairing any damage caused by the fallen tree. This coverage is also available should a tree fall and block a driveway or a ramp designed to assist a handicapped person in entering and leaving a home. Your policy generally will pay (within specified limits) for losses to your own property, as well as those for which you might be held liable, such as if your mailman were to fall on your icy walkway and become injured.

Snow

If part of your roof collapses under the weight of snow, sleet, or ice, your homeowners policy will generally pay for any necessary repairs. In most cases, you may also be covered for additional living expenses, should you have to vacate your home and temporarily live in a hotel or rental apartment.

Generally, some weather-related risks or other natural disasters are excluded from coverage. You need to look for these potential hazards under "policy exclusions." Some typical exclusions are:

Earthquake, Flood, and Sewer Backup

Most homeowners policies do not cover damages caused by earthquake, flood, or sewer backup, although you may be able to add earthquake or sewer backup coverage to your policy by special endorsement. On the other hand, if you need flood insurance you may have to buy a separate policy through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

Landslides, Mudslides, Tidal Waves, and Ocean Storms

Landslides, mudslides, tidal waves, and wave damage in coastal areas are excluded from most homeowners policies.

Ultimately, it is important to remember that not every policy is the same and coverage may vary from state to state. Review your home or rental property insurance periodically. We can help you identify the most important areas of coverage and assist you in updating your policy, if needed.


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