Wind Damage and Home Insurance in Florida: What You Need to Know

Even outside of hurricane season, Florida is no stranger to damaging winds. All kinds of weather patterns and storms can lead to winds that cause all manner of damage to homes, from lost shingles on the roof to serious incidents like windows being blown out or the entire structure needing to be rebuilt. Wind damage is one of the most common causes of property damage after a storm. 

During four years from 2014 to 2018, the Insurance Information Institute reported more wind and hail damage claims than any other loss in the class, including water damage, theft, and fire. Of course, not all of those claims were payable by a standard home insurance policy. There are several factors to consider in figuring out when wind damage is covered and when it might not be. 

What Qualifies as Covered Wind Damage in Florida?

On a Florida home insurance policy, most damage that is caused by wind will be covered. This can include winds from storms like: 

  • Hurricanes and severe thunderstorms
  • Hailstorms
  • Microbursts
  • Tornadoes 
  • Nor’easter storms

If the damage was caused to your home or other structures on your property as a result of high winds or any of the storms above, you should be able to file a claim with your home insurance company and get compensation for repairs or replacements. 

If there are any exclusions or limitations to your wind or storm coverage, your insurer should advise you of that right away so that you know how to proceed. 

What Can Wind Damage Do?

The wind is a lot more dangerous than people often realize. Even outside of major storms, straight-line winds can rip roofs and awnings off buildings, break windows, uproot trees, and more. Wind can damage the siding, windows, and roof of your home, as well as landscaping, the garage, vehicles, and more. 

For example, if a storm comes through that causes a tree to fall on your house and your car because it hangs over the driveway, you will file it all as a home insurance claim due to storm damage. Some insurance providers might want you to file a separate claim for the vehicle damage under your comprehensive coverage, but that will depend on several factors that they will discuss with you when you call to report the damage. 

Wind damage ranges from moderate to severe, but it’s one of the most serious of nature’s elements that you need to worry about as a homeowner. No matter the level of damage, it’s important to make sure that your home is protected. 

Protect Your Home with Preventive Steps in Florida

The best thing that you can do is to make sure that your home is in good repair so that it’s less likely to be susceptible to issues like this. For starters, regular inspections and maintenance of the roof of the home are essential. Especially in a state like Florida where storms can come out of nowhere, making sure that your roof is in good condition is essential. Make sure that you have loose shingles replaced and look in the attic to make sure that light isn’t peeking through anywhere. 

You’ll also want to inspect and clean your gutters and downspouts. When they are clear, they won’t cause water backup and other issues that could lead to roof damage and other problems. Inspect your siding and make necessary repairs as they arise. Reseal siding and trim, and make sure that you check for any areas that may require professional attention before they become the victim of storm damage. 

Eliminate projectiles, too. If you know a storm is coming, you should move all patio furniture to a shed, garage, or elsewhere so that it is safe from the elements. Make sure that trees are trimmed and dead branches are removed so that these don’t become a projectile that causes serious damage to your home in other ways. 

Although you can’t prevent everything, you can do a lot to protect your home from wind damage if you take the time to prepare a little bit. You should also learn about how to prepare for hurricanes and tropical storms if you’re not already familiar. That will help you keep your home in better shape and make sure that you have fewer needs for damage repair in the long run. Of course, you can’t prevent every single instance of damage, so knowing how to handle it is a good strategy. 

Does Home Insurance Cover Roof Damage?

Wind damage to roofs should also be covered as a part of your insurance policy. As long as the damage can be tied to recent winds or storms, then you can get coverage for your roof replacement or repairs. The age of the roof and unresolved maintenance issues could impact what is covered by the insurance company, but you can always argue for a higher settlement after they make an offer. 

The only time home insurance won’t cover roof damage caused by wind is if it’s exclusively prohibited in the coverage details. Otherwise, if the roof of your home needs minor or major repairs, it should be covered as a part of your standard home insurance policy. If it’s not, you can always appeal the case or try to file a claim another way. A public adjuster might be able to help you decide. 

What About Flood and Hurricane Insurance in Florida?

Some Florida residents live in areas that are more prone to flooding, hurricanes and related storm surge, and other potential risks. Therefore, they may be required to purchase a separate hurricane flood insurance policy that is issued by the National Flood Insurance Program in conjunction with FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency). 

Anyone uncertain of what they are required to purchase in terms of home insurance should contact an independent agent to discuss their needs. Flood and hurricane insurance coverage in Florida is unique, but it may be necessary for people who live in certain areas. Usually, wind damage is not included in these specialty policies, but there are always exceptions. 

This is why it’s important to have someone on your side to walk you through the insurance process and ensure that you get the perfect policy from a provider that you can rely on. 

What If My Insurer Denies the Claim?

Of course, just because your insurance should cover wind damage doesn’t mean that it always will. If your insurance company denies the claim or only tries to pay a partial claim, you may need to seek assistance in getting the compensation that you deserve. Before you get ahead of yourself, though, ask a few questions:

  • Did you file the claim paperwork properly?
  • Did an adjuster come to survey the damage?
  • Is there some type of exclusion in your policy?

There are several reasons a claim may be denied. Some insurance companies will avoid the full denial by trying to offer a partial settlement. For example, if you file a claim for roof and siding damage that was caused by wind, they might agree with the siding damage but claim that the roof was in disrepair, and therefore not covered. 

There are so many potential things that can go wrong when it comes to filing an insurance claim with your home insurance provider. Fortunately, if you are educated and prepared for the claims process, it will be easier to navigate. You can also improve the process by choosing an insurance company that has a reputable, highly-rated claims process. 

After all, customer service is great and that initial conversation is important, but what happens when your insurance company drags its feet or simply refuses to pay a claim? Or what if the claims process is a nightmare that takes more effort than necessary? When you’re buying insurance, make sure that you choose a company that has a good claims process and reviews that speak to its effectiveness and efficiency. 

Get a Second Opinion

Too often, people hear back from the insurance company, telling them that they can’t get coverage or that only part of the claim will be covered. Perhaps they will cover the claim, but they only offer a small settlement compared to what is deserved—this is a tactic companies use to keep from paying more than they should. Don’t let this deter you. 

If you don’t like the settlement you get from the insurance company, you do not have to accept it. You can counter-offer, or simply tell them that they’ll have to do better and wait for them to reach out again. Alternatively, you can hire a third-party public adjuster to review your claim and help you get the best outcome. They will be able to go over all the details of your claim and ensure that you have the best chances of success. 

The Bottom Line

If you are facing an insurance company that’s making filing a home insurance claim difficult, you don’t have to go through it alone. You also don’t have to spend a fortune on an attorney to represent you in the process. With the help of On Target Claims, you can get an independent review of your claim and find out just what you can get for your wind damage. 

At On Target Claims, we have helped millions of people and businesses to get the settlements they were owed from various insurance claims, including home insurance claims related to wind damage. Instead of trying to fight the insurance company alone, reach out and find out how we can assist you. Contact us today at 954-266-0541 or schedule a consultation

Related Content: How Do Fire Insurance Claims Work in Florida?

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