Storm Damage – Is Your House Covered?

Throughout the past few summers, Souther Ontario experienced a string of violent thinderstorms and tornadoes, leaving a path of widespread destruction that effected numerous buildings and homes. With the recent tornado that ripped through Angus last Tuesday, over 100 homes were damaged as a result. For most homeowners, as a result of the weather related destruction, insurance will cover a majority of the damage – but not all.

If a tree falls

If a tree on your property gets blown over and it crashes on your neighbour’s property damaging their house/vehicle, this can be a complicated situation as it involves a third-party claim. If the tree was in good shape, you will not be held liable as there wouldn’t have been anything you could do to prevent it from occurring.

On the contrary, if the tree was in fact dead or had a dead branch and you left it as is, there may be some exposure on your policy – meaning you might be held responsible for the damage in this case which may raise your premium. To avoid this scenario, it’s crucial that as a homeowner you keep a constant eye on the state of your trees and take corrective action if they don’t appear to be healthy.

If your roof is damaged

If a brutal storm rips holes in your roof, your insurance company will assist with the damage costs. However, the extent to which the roof has been maintained will be a consideration in the amount of coverage you’ll receive from the insurer. Insurance companies will normally investigate the depreciation of the roof, and will pay towards the cost of a new roof but may not cover the entire amount.

Just like the trees on your property, you should be proactive in regularly monitoring your roof to ensure that there are no signs of depreciation, and that everything appears in good shape. Verify that all openings are sealed properly, and look for signs of water damage on ceilings or walls.

If your fence collapses

What happens if your fence blows over in a storm or tornado? Many insurance companies will look at the fence as an extension of the home, and therefore will likely cover replacement fees. But like all other aspects of your home, maintenance is crucial here. Just as your roof should be in good working condition, so should your fence. A fence that is already warped or falling over may wind up leaving you responsible for a portion of the cost.

At the end of the day, the main aspect to remember is that a policy can provide peace of mind when a storm sets in, but it doesn’t alleviate the homeowner of his or her responsibilities. If you’re not actively maintaining your home and damage takes place, the chances are much higher that certain aspects may not be covered.

In general, here are 4 points of reference when it comes to home insurance coverage:

  • Most home insurance policies will look after damage caused by wind, such as broken windows and debris removal.
  • Auto policies cover wind damage if you have purchased comprehensive coverage. Marine insurance policies normally cover damage to boats from wind.
  • If a home is in fact uninhabitable because of damage, homeowner’s and tenant’s policies will normally provide coverage for additional living expenses.

If you’re a homeowner in Angus, Barrie, or Orillia and your home or personal property has been affected by storm damage, Will Marshall Insurance will evaluate the damage and determine if your policy has the required coverage to insure the damage. A lot depends on the amount of coverage you purchased and the word phrasing built into your policy. Be sure to review your policy’s word phrasing or get in touch with us today to go through your specific home insurance coverage and deductibles. Contact us at 705-726-2551

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