Your roofer will thank you if you come in already knowing the answer to this question – and there is no harm in asking your insurance company or starting the claims process immediately. Your premiums won’t be raised due to storm damage, so you have nothing to lose – and everything to gain. While there are many different types and levels of insurance policies with different coverages, limits of liability and exclusions, most homeowners insurance policies do cover storms, including:
However, damage from floods, earthquakes and fire usually require separate coverage.
Check to see what your homeowner’s policy covers on the declarations page of your policy. You’ll see types of coverage like “Damage to your home,” “Damage to other structures including garage, deck or swimming pool,” “Loss or damage to the contents of your home,” “Loss of use in case your home is not inhabitable,” etc. If you have questions as to exactly what each of these means, call your insurance company to ask how they define them.
When you call your insurance company after storm damage, it’s helpful to be prepared with your mortgage information and lots of pictures of the damage from all angles. If you’ve already had a contractor come out to start clean-up or preliminary repairs, be sure to save your receipts for possible reimbursement. However – don’t start major repairs until you’ve started the claims process and met with your adjuster. Until you do that, just do what is necessary to prevent additional damage.
In some cases, your insurance company may pay for loss of use if your house is uninhabitable after storm damage. And, if a tree (or a forest) has blown into your home after gale-force winds, most policies will cover the cost of their removal – although some treat tree removal as a separate policy. Ultimately, if you have homeowner’s insurance, chances are that at least some part of storm damage will be covered, but you’ll never know for sure until you ask!