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Wind Damage - Know What's Covered

Wind Damage - Know What's Covered
Wind damage is a common cause for insurance claims across all of Canada. Below we offer some general information on what may be covered under your homeowner’s insurance policy, however, it’s important to read and be aware of the limitations within your own coverage. 

If you’ve experienced wind damage to your home there are three priorities to consider: 

  1. Your safety and the safety of your loved ones and neighbours. 
  2. Thoroughly documenting the damage with photos and written statements from professionals. 
  3. Contacting your insurance company. 
When it’s safe to be outside without physical risk, be sure to document all the damage with photos. If your roof is damaged, then leave the photo-taking to the roofing professionals. It’s imperative that you do not put yourself in harm’s way. 

Immediate attention 

If the damage is an “emergency-type” of a situation, then it’s acceptable to begin the process of repair without receiving a visit from an insurance adjuster. 

What constitutes a necessary emergency repair?

Destruction which requires immediate attention because it is either dangerous to remain unfixed or has the potential to cause further damage. This type of emergency repair likely needs to be “temporary” in nature as your insurer will be required to evaluate the extent of the damage to determine and guide you to permanent repair options. 

An example may be if a tree limb causes damage to a roof, and there is the potential for further damage due to water entering the attic and thereby the home. A tarp installed on the roof immediately, and temporarily by a roofing professional would be considered an acceptable emergency repair. 

Power outage 

A power outage is a common occurrence as the result of a windstorm. It’s important to note that house insurance will likely not cover additional living expenses, such as a hotel stay, due to a power outage. However, if the outage is related to a safety issue, such as live hydro wires laying across your property, making the home unsafe, additional living expenses may be covered. 

Food spoilage due to a prolonged power outage may be covered, be sure to review your policy and speak with your insurance professional. 

Fallen trees 

If a tree falls on your home, vehicle or property then it also falls within your insurance responsibilities - regardless of who actually owns the tree. The cost of removing the tree is not covered, beyond removing it from the damage it created as a result of the wind. 

An example may be if a neighbour’s tree falls on your home, tears a hole in your roof and damages the eavestroughs, this will fall under your homeowner's insurance coverage. The cost to remove the tree from the damage it caused will be covered, but the rest of the tree removal cost will not be covered. 

Damage to fences 

Insurance only covers the area of the fence which requires repairs or replacement. Insurance does not replace the entire fence to match in appearance. If the fence has fallen but is not damaged, it may be reused, as determined by the insurer. 

If the fence is mutually owned by two neighbours, your insurance will cover half the cost and your neighbour’s the other half. 

Be proactive to prevent potential wind damage, during times of high winds: 

  • Secure outdoor items such as patio furniture, sheds and trampolines. 
  • Park your vehicle away from trees, streetlights and hydro lines. 
  • Trim your trees and remove dead limbs as they occur. 
  • Inspect your roof annually, looking for loose shingles and flashings. 
  • When improving your home with a new deck, patio, fence or exterior building, be sure to consider the potential for wind damage. 
As with all aspects of insurance, it’s important to be proactive and keep in contact with your insurance professional to ensure you’re covered. Please reach out to us if we can help or answer any questions you may have: 1-800-679-2640