Not All Weather Is Created Equal
Insurance is one of those words you read and immediately become uninterested in because it’s not exciting and it’s not free. Unfortunately, living in New England means we have some crazy weather that can cause unexpected damage to our homes, especially lately! As a homeowner, it’s important to stay educated on what kind of insurance you have and what exactly it covers. We reached out to one of our favorite insurance companies, G&N Insurance, because they make the word insurance easy to understand and less intimidating. Matt Naimoli, a co-founder of the company, was able to give us his point of view on homeowners insurance and explain why not all weather is created equal!
Too many people think that since they have home insurance that any type of claim for damage to their property will be covered. Insurance companies vary when it comes to the way they interpret losses, policies vary in terms of what is covered and what is excluded, and certain types of weather related incidents are never covered on home insurance. Here are a few weather related incidents and typical outcomes:
Water damage from a burst pipe is a covered loss by almost all reputable and recognizable insurance companies. Water that leaks in to the house from the outside and damages the basement is typically not covered. Flood insurance is a separate policy that would need to be purchased to offer flood coverage, but there are a number of qualifying events that need to occur in order for the policy to kick in. In general, coverage for damage to finished basements due to surface water leaking in to the house is rarely covered. This is why it’s so important to ensure proper drainage around your property and make sure your snow plow company (if applicable) has insurance to protect you in the event their operation causes damage.
Damage to fences, sheds, and roofs are typically covered, after the standard applicable deductible, when caused by the force of wind. If wind causes a tree or limb to fall and it causes damage to your house, most policies offer protection. Some companies, however, will only offer to cover the cost to remove the tree if there is subsequent damage. Where things get tricky is if the damage is caused by a weather event that is considered a hurricane or named storm. Certain companies and policies will apply a separate % deductible in these events, which can sometimes be 10-20 times your standard deductible. It’s an often overlooked feature of a policy, but tends to be more common with homes closer to the coast. Be sure you know if you have a separate wind or hail, named storm or hurricane deductible.
sleet or hail damage
Most standard home insurance policies offer protection against damage to siding or roofs due to sleet. Many times this is an overlooked event by homeowners, especially if the event occurs in the winter. It can be difficult to notice roof damage from the driveway but it’s always a good idea to ask a professional to evaluate your roof if you’re in question. Like wind damage, some insurance companies offer separate deductibles, making it important to evaluate your policy when in question.
Very few home insurance companies offer protection against earthquakes on a standard policy form. However, most do offer the protection as an endorsement on a standard policy. It generally costs a few hundred dollars more a year to obtain this type of protection in New England but should always be considered when buying a home or reviewing your policy annually.
It’s very important to evaluate the quality of your policy with an independent insurance agent. Not all companies or home insurance policies are created equal. Additionally, there are numerous optional endorsements that can make a B- policy an A+ in terms of protection afforded to the home owner. It’s also very important to evaluate filing claims with your insurance agent before doing so. After the deductible and potential loss of claim free credits, it may not be in your best interest to proceed and entirely depends on the type and amount of damage.
If insurance feels confusing, it’s because it is. The insurance companies make it that way due to the variability of potential losses, in terms of frequency and severity. If you are a homeowner and wish to obtain a free insurance check-up, visit www.insurewithgn.com to submit copies of your policy. They will conduct a review and provide you with their recommendations. We hope you found this helpful!