When it comes to owning a home, several things can go wrong. As a homeowner, it can be difficult to imagine that uncontrollable circumstances could potentially destroy everything you have built, despite your efforts to maintain your property and prevent them. One of the most common causes of home insurance claims is wind damage.
While it is true that areas prone to natural disasters and heavy storms are more at risk for these types of damages, no property is truly safe from spontaneous winds. As a result, all homeowners need to educate themselves on what wind damage looks like, to deal with any situation that comes and prevent further expenses wherever possible.
What Does Wind Damage Consist Of?
Wind damage is essentially the event of high-speed winds coming in direct contact with a home and causing the need for repairs or replacement. The results after a wind storm are unpredictable, and there is only so much a homeowner can do to resist the impact.
The wind that destroys property is usually caused by natural disasters and storms, including tornadoes and hurricanes. Both of these storms come with extremely high winds moving at hundreds of miles per hour, depending on the severity.
These types of damages can also be caused by strong winds that come with thunderstorms. For wind to be severe enough to damage a property significantly, warranting the need to file a home insurance claim, speeds must be over 50-60 mph
Those who live in areas that are at high risk for thunderstorms, tornadoes, and other tropical storms should be on high alert for potential wind damage. The effects can range in severity depending on where the property is located, as well as what type of structure it is.
For example, mobile homes are more prone to wind damage that could destroy the entire property, flipping onto the ground completely. However, all homeowners should be aware of what wind damage looks like in order to be able to recover from the damages as quickly as possible, regardless of what type of property they reside on.
What Does Wind Damage Look Like?
Wind damage is one of the most significant causes of home insurance claims, being that it is a large component in most natural disasters and storms. Although it is a very common occurrence, many homeowners are confused at the thought of wind damage as a whole. What exactly can be affected by high-speed winds?
Damage to the exterior structure of the home, the roof, as well as the interior can all become victim to wind damage.
These are the areas of your home that are most at risk for wind damage following a storm:
- Entry doors
- Garage doors
The first areas to be aware of around your home during an episode of high-speed winds are the entry doors. When wind speeds get out of control, they can push into doorways so hard that they are pushed open, inviting the elements into your home.
This is especially true for doors that contain glass. If the wind is strong enough to open the door on its own, the windows will most likely be shattered as well.
In addition to the entry doors around your property, garage doors can also fall victim to wind damage. The combination of increasing wind speeds and a wide garage door can result in the entire thing coming off the hinges and flying away.
Just like the doors of your home can be pushed open by wind, your glass windows can shatter from the intense pressure being placed on them, resulting in pieces of glass circulating the air inside your home.
The roof is one of the most vulnerable areas of the home while being targeted by high-speed winds, since it can be accessed through all other points of entry. Besides the fact that the roof is one of the first things the wind will hit on the exterior, the whole thing can pop off if enough entryways are opened up, letting the pressure build up inside.
Inspecting Your Property After The Storm
When you have experienced strong winds on your property and you suspect some areas of your home might have been damaged, the first thing that you will need to do is complete an inspection to figure out what has been affected. This will allow you to understand the damages that you are dealing with after the fact.
While you are completing this task, you must keep yourself safe from any potential hazards that might not yet be visible.
Here are some helpful safety tips to keep in mind while you are walking through your property for the first time following a storm:
- Use a flashlight (if needed)
- Stay away from any loose objects above you
- Watch out for anything on the ground that could trip you
If lighting is necessary, you should always use a flashlight instead of any kind of open flame. This is due to the fact that gas lines could be out in the open as a result of the damage, sparking a fire if a candle or lantern is being used to light the way.
While you are walking, you should stay away from any loose objects above you, such as tree branches that could fall or unstable entryway structures. Additionally, watch your step in case there are any broken pathways or obstructive objects that could trip you.
Is Wind Damage Covered By Home Insurance?
What is covered by home insurance in the event of wind damage will vary between individuals, so it is always important to understand your policy before you could potentially be affected. However, home insurance companies will generally offer two main types of coverage in this aspect, as explained below.
Dwelling coverage has to do with the outer structure of the home, including exterior walls, windows, doors, and entryways that experience damage. Insurance policies that offer dwelling coverage will cover repairs and replacements for these areas if necessary after a claim is filed.
Personal Property Coverage
Personal property coverage, on the other hand, deals with the inside of the home. If any personal belongings are damaged or destroyed as a result of the wind, they will be repaired or replaced as necessary.
This also includes any damage from water, dirt, or dust that may have entered the home after any openings were created from the exterior of the home.
How To Prevent Wind Damage To Your Home
As a homeowner, there are a few precautions that you can take before an upcoming wind storm in order to lessen the impact on your home as much as possible.
First and foremost, you should always keep up with weather predictions and warnings in your area. If you happen to live in a location that is prone to tropical storms, you should be prepared for storm season every year.
If you suspect that high-speed winds will come near your home, you should take preventative measures around your property before the storm begins.
Here are some things that you can do before the storm to lessen wind damage:
- Trim loose branches on trees and plants
- Get rid of gravel and small rocks
- Put shutters over your windows
- Strap down your roof and any entry doors
The main goals of wind damage prevention are to get rid of any obstructive objects that could be thrown at windows and doors and to secure any openings that could be destroyed by the wind.
How To Protect Yourself After Experiencing Wind Damage
Although you can do everything in your power to prevent wind damage, it does not necessarily mean that your home will be completely exempt. Weather is unpredictable, and wind can always reach your property if it is strong enough.
If you find yourself in a situation where a wind damage claim is necessary, it is important to know how to protect yourself and your home. Below are some steps you can take to piece your life back together after experiencing wind damage.
Understand Your Insurance Policy and Coverages
Before you can take advantage of your ability to file an insurance claim, you will need to understand your policy and the coverages that you possess.
Coverage limits are very important to understand in the event that you need to go forth with a claim. Even if your insurance policy includes damage caused by wind, your settlement will always be capped at the specified amount that you pay for within your policy.
This limit is usually chosen when the insurance policy is purchased and will affect the premium that you pay to your insurance company every month. In other words, the amount of money that you can receive from your insurance company will reflect on how much you are paying for that protection.
Make Changes To Your Policy If Needed
Although a coverage limit will be in place within your policy, you are always able to make changes to that number if you feel it is necessary. If a storm is anticipated, you can contact your agent to increase your policy before any damages occur.
Otherwise, it is always smart to get ahead of any unpredictable thunder and wind storms, ensuring that you have the maximum amount of coverage for any potential damages.
Hire a Public Adjuster To Represent You
Even though wind damage is something that is usually covered automatically by most insurance companies since it is considered a peril, the process of filing and winning a claim can get a lot more complicated than you might have anticipated once you are thrown into the situation.
To ensure that the claims process goes as smoothly as possible, you can hire a public adjuster to help you through to the end. Public adjusters are professionals in the insurance industry who specialize in home damage claims.
With their vast knowledge of the entire process, they will be able to file the claim for you, making sure that everything is correct, and advocate for you against your insurance company until you receive the proper settlement check.
It is beneficial to have a public adjuster by your side because they will help you come out with exactly what you need, without the additional headache. There are so many mistakes that can be made when attempting to complete a home insurance claim without any assistance, being that coverages can get complicated and there are a lot of technicalities.
For instance, your insurance policy might include dwelling coverage, but will not pay for your personal belongings inside, and vise Versa. Before going through with the claim, your adjuster will make sure that you understand what is being covered, so that you know what to expect at the conclusion of your case.
While your public adjuster will most likely be able to get you a larger settlement than you would have gotten by yourself, they will always provide you with realistic expectations based on the damages you have experienced and what is a fair exchange as far as settlements go.
On the other hand, insurance companies are known for doing everything they can to pay out a lower settlement. These tactics can include requesting recorded statements, asking the same questions over again, and even ignoring or denying the claim as a whole.
This is a huge disadvantage for inexperienced homeowners who are unsure of their rights in a situation where a claim must be filed for damages. This is why it is so important to work with someone who shares your best interest and will fight for you all the way.
During the claims process, your public adjuster will handle all of the communication for you, meaning that you will never have to speak to your insurance company directly. By hiring and working with a great public adjuster, you can guarantee that the outcome of your claim will be a positive one.
And as always, if you’re in Bulldog Adjusters’ service area, we recommend contacting us in order to put through a damage claim with your insurance company. Bulldog Adjusters is one of the largest public adjusting firms in the United States. We pride ourselves on getting our clients the largest possible settlements on their home damage claims and we’ll fight for you.