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If you live in an area that gets frequent storms — especially tornadoes and hurricanes — you likely know that they caan produce hail. Hail is generally covered by a standard homeowners insurance policy, but if you live in an area where hail storms are common, you may need to get add-on windstorm insurance.
Homeowners insurance covers your property from damage, referred to as insurance perils. A peril is an event that may damage your home or belongings, like theft, fire, or a storm. The type of peril coverage you have depends on the type of homeowners insurance you purchased. Common insurance perils include fire, lightning, theft, ice, snow, sleet, wind, hail, smoke, vandalism, and freezing.
Although standard homeowners insurance covers hail damage, some carriers do not cover “cosmetic damage” or “aesthetic impairment” from hail. According to the Claims Journal, cosmetic damage includes visual markings that impact the appearance but not the function of your home. For example, if hail dents your roof, but your roof still prevents water from entering the home, that might be considered cosmetic damage.
In states where hail is common, there may be a hail exclusion that requires additional windstorm insurance to cover hail damage. Check with your homeowners insurance company to find out the limits of your hail coverage and to see if windstorm insurance is recommended.
Damage to your car from hail will be not be covered by homeowners insurance. If your car is damaged by hail, contact your auto insurance carrier. This usually requires comprehensive
*Available as add-on coverage if not part of policy
**Flood insurance is available through the NFIP and approved insurers
Floods, earthquakes, government seizures, mudslides, ordinance updates, sewer backups, and sinkholes are all perils that won’t be covered by homeowners insurance, according to Hippo Insurance. Those will require add-on coverage using a rider policy.
Windstorm insurance is not a replacement for homeowners insurance — it’s an add-on to your homeowners policy.
Tornadoes and hurricanes produce high winds and hail. Wind and hail are named insurance perils in standard homeowners policies. However, most insurers require an additional high-coverage windstorm rider and separate deductible if you live near coastal areas, according to Steve Wilson, senior underwriting manager at Hippo Insurance.
Wilson said windstorm coverage is regional, and premiums will vary geographically. Your deductible is based on a percentage of your coverage amount.
Some states where hail is common have a “hail exclusion” that may require additional windstorm insurance to cover hail damage.
According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), the following states had the most hail claims in 2019:
- North Carolina
If you live in areas where hail storms are frequent, you may need windstorm insurance as an add-on rider to your homeowners insurance. It will be an additional cost on top of homeowners insurance and the price varies geographically.
The average annual homeowners insurance premium in the United States in 2017 was $1,211, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).
Because windstorm coverage is available in certain areas, quotes aren’t online. However, the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA) states that the average policy is $1,700. Including homeowners insurance, the cost would be $2,911.
After experiencing a disaster, Wilson recommends staying in touch with your homeowners insurance company to let them know what’s going on at your home and take the following steps when submitting insurance claims:
- Contact the insurance carrier to file a claim in a timely manner. For homeowners, your carrier may provide a list of contractors and offer advice on do-it-yourself tips to prevent further damage. If you’re a renter, you should also inform your landlord or property management company.
- Take pictures of the damage before disposal and cleanup.
- Beware of price-gouging contractors and door-to-door scammers. Ask contractors for their license and insurance credentials to avoid fraud. If you’re a renter, your landlord is responsible for the building and structure.
- Prevent further damage to your property.
- Don’t do something you’re not comfortable with/that doesn’t look safe. Homeowners insurance has a condition to prevent further loss. Focus on a temporary fix instead of something long-term so insurance can properly access a permanent fix by a professional.
Ronda Lee is an associate editor for insurance at Personal Finance Insider covering life, auto, homeowners, and renters insurance for consumers. She is also a licensed attorney who practiced litigation and insurance defense.