Filing a Storm Damage Insurance Claim on Your Home
storm damage insurance claim

You have likely already heard of the butterfly effect. It is the theory that one tiny event can have enormous future consequences. For example, if a butterfly flaps its wings in Japan. It might set into motion a course of events which ultimately leads to a storm ripping the roof and siding off of your house in South Dakota.

Unfortunately, butterflies are currently flapping their wings all over the world. This is why you cannot predict when a storm will come to damage your home. All you can do is prepare ahead of time by purchasing homeowners insurance.


Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Storm Damage?

In a word: Yes! Homeowners insurance typically covers damage caused to a home by the following natural phenomena:

● Ice
● Hail
● Wind
● Water
● Treefall
● Lighting
● Power surges

The exact coverage provided by homeowners insurance is predetermined by the terms of the policy. For example, the amount of reimbursement a policyholder is entitled to following hail damage is limited to a certain amount. But homeowners insurance doesn’t necessarily cover all damage to the policyholder’s home. Hail damage to a fence, shed, detached garage or other unattached structures falls under other structures coverage. This is not included in all homeowners policies.

Homeowners insurance usually covers repairs for a roof that collapsed under the immense weight of ice The hotel bills the policyholder incurs in the meantime would be covered by additional living expense coverage, which is similarly not included in all homeowners policies.

It is also important to bear in mind that homeowners insurance may not cover property damage that could have been averted through proper maintenance. For example, homeowners insurance typically does not cover frozen pipes in the event that the policyholder failed to maintain a minimum temperature inside their home. Similarly, in the event that a collapsed roof allows snow to enter a dwelling, homeowners insurance may not cover damages from meltwater if the policyholder failed to take steps to prevent additional snow from entering their property.

All of this is to say one thing: It is essential that you read and understand the terms of your homeowners insurance and any other policies it includes. Your insurance provider will follow the language of their own policies right down to the letter. If their agents detect a reason not to reimburse you for property damage, they will not forego that opportunity to save their own money.


Does Homeowners Insurance Cover All Types of Property Damage?

This is a perilous assumption to make, as there are in fact several types of property damage which homeowners insurance does not cover. These include:

● Flooding
● Earthquakes
● Bird damage
● Mold damage
● Rodent damage
● Termite and other insect damage
● Smoke damage resulting from nearby industrial facilities

If you believe your home is at risk of one of these types of damages, then it is necessary to purchase the additional applicable coverage you would need in the event of a loss.


How Do You File a Homeowners Insurance Claim?

Making certain that you receive the maximum amount of reimbursement your homeowners policy entitles you to in the wake of a storm or other disaster requires that you act immediately. Even though damage to your home will likely cause you immense stress, it is crucial that you begin undertaking these steps at once:

    1. File the claim – Whether you contact your insurance provider directly or elect to have your insurance agent in South Dakota contact them on your behalf, don’t postpone filing a claim one second longer than you have to. If a storm damaged your home, then it very likely damaged other homes in your neighborhood as well. That means your insurance provider will be busy, which also means your initiative will place your claim toward the front of their queue.


    1. Document the damage – Your insurance provider will require a record of all the damage that requires repair or replacement. The sooner you can provide that detailed record, the better.


    1. Make temporary repairs – Your insurance provider may decline to reimburse you for repairs for damage that could have been averted had you taken immediate action following the storm. For example, if you fail to board up your windows, and a burglar takes that opportunity to steal your jewelry, then you will likely not receive reimbursement for that loss.


    1. Keep your receipts – Your insurance provider will almost certainly decline to cover the costs of temporary repairs unless you provide unambiguous proof that you performed them. In that vein, if your homeowners policy includes loss of use coverage, then you must save receipts. Any hotel stays or restaurant meals you have to pay for while you are displaced from your home may qualify.


    1. Communicate with the claims adjuster – Politely yet firmly assert the extent of the damages to your home to your insurance provider’s adjuster. They represent the interests of a multi-billion dollar company – not your own – so providing clear and consistent information is key.


  1. Find the best contractor – Your insurance provider will advise (but not insist upon) a certain contractor to perform the repairs required to make your home whole again. They almost certainly have preexisting ties to that contractor, but that doesn’t mean their contractor is best suited for your home’s unique needs.

Of course, all of those steps will prove irrelevant to your situation if you failed to purchase homeowners insurance ahead of time. If you live or do business in South Dakota, then we welcome you to contact McKinneyOlson Insurance today for all your insurance needs!