Weather damage is covered by your home insurance, but it’s not always easy to understand exactly what cover you have and what part of your policy it falls under.
For example, acts of nature are classed as storm damage, which is included on most buildings insurance policies.
But if an incident occurs as a result of the natural event – such as water damage from rain coming through a storm-damaged roof – your insurer might class this as accidental damage.
”As accidental damage cover is often sold as an optional extra on home insurance, you might not be covered if you didn’t take this out too.Top TopComparity New Zealand
Problems with weather damage claims
Weather damage can be a contentious area for insurers and there are a few things to look out for when making a claim.
Proving storm damage
Your insurer might dispute whether a storm happened at all, whether the damage to your home was actually caused by a storm or whether the storm was the primary cause of damage.
Instead, it might suspect that lack of maintenance was the cause of the damage, or at least a contributing factor and refuse your claim in these grounds.
If you genuinely believe stormy weather was the cause of the damage, you should explain this to your insurer and send it any evidence you have, such as local weather reports.
High winds and heavy rain, snow or hail are all likely to be classed as stormy weather.
Your insurer can use the Beaufort Scale to help judge, but the wind speeds measured by weather stations can be different from your local conditions.
Accidental damage after storms
Most buildings insurance policies will cover you if a storm blows tiles off your well-maintained roof, as that’s clearly weather damage.
However, damage caused by rain coming through the gaps will likely require accidental damage cover.
Damage caused by large quantities of snow that has built up after the initial storm will be classified in the same way.
For peace of mind, you could buy an accidental damage policy, but you shouldn’t assume it’s included as standard with your home insurance.
Here’s a list of incidents generally classed as weather damage:
- Hail damage
- Roof damage
- Wind damage (including fallen trees and dislodged shingles or bricks)
- Water damage
- Sewer back-up
- Freezing pipes
- Fallen trees
- Ice dams forming on the roof
- Weight of snow and ice on the roof causing damage
- Loss or displacement due to power failure, which might include food loss
- Flooding due to melting snow, a sudden thaw, or excessive rainfall
- Water infiltration into the home, depending on how the damage happens