Does my homeowners insurance cover damage from a storm?



Insurance experts say don’t assume that homeowners’ insurance policies will automatically cover any and all storm damage.

While most of the damage from wind and falling trees is covered, flooding is another matter. Experts say it is important to understand what exclusions are on the insurance policy.

“For example, if you did not keep your rain gutters clear and back-up rain gutters caused the problem, you may have an exclusion,” said Nancy Kincade, spokesperson for the California Department of Insurance. “Often, they have an out for maintenance.”

What about damage caused by tree that crashes into a home? Is that covered by most homeowner policies?

“Yes, absolutely,” said State Farm Insurance agent Michael Yee. “Your homeowner policy would cover that sort of instance where wind blows down a tree, whether it’s your yard or a neighbor’s yard.”

Yee said that if a giant tree limb crushes your parked car, that damage is generally covered by automobile insurance.

What about wind damage to your home or patio?

“We’d cover that all under the same loss,” Yee said. “Any damage from the wind, whether it’s fencing, structures connected to your home or your home itself, would be covered.”

Yee added that if wind damage results in water leaking inside and causing damage, that would generally be covered.

Flooding is a different story — homeowners’ policies don’t cover flooding caused by a creek or plugged storm drains. That protection requires a separate federal flood insurance policy, which most insurance agents can arrange.

“The two perils in any homeowners’, renters’ or condo policies that are excluded are earthquake and flood,” Yee said. “Those are the two things, as residents of this area, we really need to pay attention to.”

Kincade said homeowners and renters should take cellphone video or pictures of all their possessions to help prove claims after disasters.

Yee said taking an inventory of everything, including jewelry, art and valuables, is strongly recommended.

“We live in the River City,” Yee said. “We must be prepared.”

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