Windstorm Insurance, Simplified

Image of a hotel and palm trees with wind and rain

You may love a good wind gust on an incredibly hot day, but we all know windstorms are an entirely different experience. Ranging from speeds of 60 mph to 100 mph, fast-moving winds from thunderstorms, hurricanes and other harmful catastrophes can damage hundreds of miles of land during a single event (via NSSL).

And though homes are built to withstand a variety of weather conditions, high-speed winds can break glass, lift outdoor furniture and damage the external structure of your home. You’ll want to consider windstorm insurance when looking for complete home protection. Read on to better understand how windstorm insurance plays into your home insurance policy and its exactly covered.

Key takeaways:

  • Windstorm insurance protects your home, personal belongings and additional structures on your property from high wind and hail damage.
  • Windstorm insurance doesn’t cover hazards such as floods, storm surges and water backups.
  • Your windstorm deductible is on a percentage-based system and is dependent on how much coverage you decided to purchase (up to five percent).

What is windstorm insurance coverage?

Windstorm insurance protects your home, personal belongings and additional structures on your property from high wind and hail damage. Most home insurance policies cover standard wind gusts. However, if you live on the coast or in another high-risk area, you may be required to purchase a high-coverage windstorm insurance rider. This is because areas prone to hurricanes and tornadoes have a greater chance of extreme weather damage and need more protection.

Hurricane insurance differs from windstorm insurance in that it only covers damage from a named hurricane. Meaning that if a tropical or severe storm rolls through and the high winds damage your home, your hurricane insurance wouldn’t cover it. For that protection, wind insurance is your best bet.

What does windstorm insurance cover?

Thankfully, windstorm coverage is pretty extensive. Most things you can think of that might get damaged by intense windstorms and hail inside and outside your home will be covered  — think windows, walls, roof shingles, your personal belongings and any other structures on your property. That means if a hurricane or severe storm ripped through your town and slammed your fence into the side of your home, damaging the wall and several windows, your rider would cover the damage.

What does windstorm insurance not cover?

Though various storms can cause wind damage, not all aspects of these storms are covered by windstorm insurance. For example, if a severe storm created a hole in your roof and rain poured into your home, the roof repair would be covered, but the water damage wouldn’t. 

Windstorm insurance also doesn’t cover other hazards such as floods, storm surges and water backups. For coverage for those events, you’ll need a separate rider, such as flood insurance or water backup coverage.

How do I know if I need windstorm insurance?

Understanding if you need windstorm insurance depends on the amount of coverage your base policy provides. If you are in a low-risk area, you’ll probably have wind and hail insurance written into your home insurance policy. However, if you live in a higher-risk area, it often won’t be included. Instead, many insurance companies will require you to purchase a separate policy.

Even if you aren’t legally required to have this coverage, you should still consider what protection you’ll realistically need. Keep in mind that even inland states can experience high wind gusts and hail just like coastal cities, as unpredictable tropical storms move across the country. Unsure if your state requires this insurance rider? Check out the full list below to see if you need to give your insurance company a call (though some state governments offer this rider as well):

How do I file a windstorm claim?

If your home gets damaged by wind, it’s essential to file a claim quickly. There is a time limit associated with each storm, and while they vary by company, you’ll be on the hook for any repairs required if you don’t file a claim within that time frame. 

When you’re getting ready to file a claim, you’ll want to take plenty of pictures and videos and make sure to send your insurance company proof of the storm from news outlets and weather reports. Getting at least one inspection of the damage, if not more, will also give you an idea of how much the repairs could cost. 

Once you have all this information, call your insurer’s claims center to get a visit scheduled with one of their claim adjusters to approve the dollar amount you’re requesting. 

What will my windstorm deductible be?

Your windstorm deductible, or the amount you’ll pay out of pocket when filing a claim, is on a percentage-based system and is dependent on how much coverage you decided to purchase (up to five percent). Not all companies require a deductible for this type of damage, but if you live on the coast or in an area where tornadoes are common, you’ll likely be required to pick a deductible percentage.

When deciding on your wind and hail deductible, take a look at your finances to determine how much you can pay out of pocket if your home is damaged. If you don’t have a lot of disposable income or savings, you may want to consider a lower deductible amount to help keep out of pocket expenses low (but your premiums will be higher). Alternatively, if you have a rainy day fund set aside and would prefer to pay lower premiums, you can raise your deductible percentage to achieve that. Either way, your deductible amount will always be viewable on your declarations page.

How do I protect my home from windstorm damage?

Taking preventative measures to protect your home from wind and hail damage is always a good idea, as it will help lessen the damage (and your out-of-pocket costs) after a major storm. Securing the roof by repairing and replacing any damaged shingles and grounding your appliances early on will help prevent any major disasters from occurring. And if the radar is showing a storm heading your way, bringing in outdoor lawn furniture/equipment and covering your windows are quick ways to add more protection at a moment's notice.

A little bit of wind damage shouldn’t mean total destruction to your home (and your bank account). If adequately protected, either through a state program or a private insurance company, you won’t have to stress over paying the full cost of a broken window or loose shingles. Are you interested in learning more about home insurance and other hazards? Check out our learn center for expert insights on everything that might come your way.