Hail and wind: learn what insurance covers and does not cover

Jul 14, 2017 2 minute read

Hail and wind: learn what insurance covers and doe...

Severe wind storms and hail can cause damage to home roofs, siding and windows, and lead to costly repairs for car bodies and window replacement. Learn what’s covered under home and car insurance coverage if affected by hail and wind damage.

What classifies as a hail and wind storm?

  • Hailstorms –Hail occurs when weather systems, such as a thunderstorm, contain strong upward gusts of wind forcing precipitation up and down through clouds with below zero temperatures. This cycle repeats until water droplets freeze and enough layers of ice form as hail. Most hail is small, roughly the size of peas, but depending on the strength of a storm, can be the size of golf balls. . Hailstorms can occur throughout Canada, but are most common in Alberta and southern Ontario.
  • High wind storms – when wind exceeds 60-65 kilometres per hour, government agencies will issue wind warnings. As wind reaches more than 90 kilometres an hour it is classified as a wind storm. Blowing debris is common during a wind storm can become a danger in windstorms and so homeowners should take precautions, such as storing unsecured outdoor furniture. Falling trees, branches or other heavy objects can damage vehicles and homes.

What does home insurance cover?

Covered

Most home insurance coverage will protect homeowners from wind or hail damage. This includes broken windows, siding and the home’s roof. In the event a homeowner needs to file a claim for roof damage, some insurance providers will account for depreciation meaning based on the age of the home, roof construction material and even the location of the home. In southern and central Alberta, roofs can deteriorate faster than other locations because of frequent hailstorms and fluctuating winter temperatures (chinooks).

Depreciation and the deductible on the home can mean there may be some out-of-pocket expenses for a damaged roof.

Other aspects of the home, such as siding and windows, are usually covered at replacement cost.

Not covered

In addition to home insurance coverage, there are options for protection from water damage or extra living expenses that may accompany severe storms.

If rain accompanies wind and hail storms, debris from wind or even large amounts of hail can clog water systems. Water utility systems can become blocked form branches or leaves which could cause water back-up in a home. There are options for homeowners to protect their home sewer back-ups, but it’s also important to remove debris from gutters and downspouts that could lead to future issues. Learn more about how homeowners can protect their property from water damage here.

If power lines or utility poles are damaged during a severe windstorm, some residences could experience power outages or a blackout. Depending on the length of time without power and the damage caused by outage, filing an insurance claim may be an option. Learn more about how insurance can help if impacted by a blackout.

What does car insurance cover?

Covered

Car insurance with comprehensive coverage includes damaged caused by hail, high winds or flying debris. As with any claim to start the repair process, the insured must pay, the deductible.

In the event repair costs exceed the value of a vehicle, the car may be written off. Depending on the insurance company, the current cash value of the vehicle may be used insurance companies will typically provide the current cash value of the vehicle. The current cash value is how much the car or truck would be sold for in the present market.

Not covered

For car insurance with basic liability coverage, hail damage, falling debris or other damage caused by wind storms will not be covered.

Don’t get blown over by unexpected storm costs

Being prepared can help avoid unfortunate circumstances in the event of hail and wind storms. In addition to proper maintenance, it’s good practice to review insurance coverage and understand what is covered.  Contact a BrokerLink broker to get the best home and car insurance coverage.