What Is Windstorm Insurance?

Windstorm insurance is a special type of property-casualty insurance that protects policyholders from property damage caused by gales, winds, hail, and other gusty hazards. A subset of storm insurance, windstorm insurance is usually offered in the form of a rider on a standard casualty insurance policy through the extended coverage endorsement.

Key Takeaways

  • Windstorm insurance is a special type of property-casualty insurance that protects policyholders from property damage caused by gusty events: tornadoes, hurricanes, gales.
  • Windstorm insurance will typically cover physical damages to the property and personal belongings.
  • Windstorm coverage is typically affixed as a rider to a homeowners insurance policy.
  • Many policies limit the time frame during which you can file a claim for windstorm damage.

How Windstorm Insurance Works

Windstorm insurance covers the types of excessively gusty events, such as hurricanes and cyclones, that are often considered vis major and so might be excluded from standard homeowners insurance policies. Those who live in areas susceptible to this type of peril must purchase this additional coverage to protect themselves. Residents of coastal states and midwestern states, where hurricanes and tornadoes are relatively common, fall into this category.

Windstorm insurance will typically cover physical damage to the property and personal belongings inside the home. Many policies also include coverage for detached structures such as garages and sheds. When big winds harm roofs and windows, rain and debris can cause additional damage. In such cases, most policies will cover repairs as long as the claim is filed soon after the event.

Sometimes, windstorms are followed by storm surges and flooding, but windstorm insurance will not typically cover damage caused by these rising waters. Flood insurance coverage must be purchased separately, and it takes 30 days to go into effect.

Windstorm insurance will not cover the repair or replacement of a vehicle that is damaged by a wind-toppled tree or other blowing debris. A person must carry a comprehensive auto policy to cover a car.

Filing a Windstorm Insurance Claim

In order to file a windstorm insurance claim, a policyholder must take certain steps. The most important thing is to act quickly. Many policies limit the time frame during which you can file a claim for storm damage. Often, this is because failure to fix problems promptly can lead to more damage later.

Immediately after a windstorm, a windstorm insurance policyholder should:

  1. Record the storm date and save news articles about the storm as proof.
  2. Assess and record all damage that they see from the ground with pictures and/or video.
  3. Have at least two reputable contractors inspect the property and provide written estimates for damages.
  4. Contact the claims department of their insurance carrier, provide all the information they have gathered, and request a visit from a claims adjuster.
  5. Ask one of the contractors to be present during the insurance adjuster’s inspection to ensure a fair assessment.
  6. If a claim is denied, request another evaluation. Policyholders are entitled to meet with three different insurance adjusters.