Your Homeowners Insurance Can Help with Blizzard Damage

04 Feb
New York Blizzard - 2016

The Blizzard of 2016 was one of the biggest storms the East Coast has ever seen.

East Coast residents who are still digging out from the recent epic blizzards will be happy to know that most of the damage caused by winter storms are covered by their homeowners insurance policy.

The Blizzard of 2016 was one of the biggest storms the East Coast has ever seen. Washington, D.C., Baltimore and New York City were hit with more than 2 feet of snow and wind gusts of 30 to 50 mph, which lead to extensive drifting.

The snow and wind did a lot of damage, causing roof cave-ins, downed power lines and trees and in some areas, extensive flooding. According to Moody’s Analytics, the Blizzard of 2016 will cost homeowner’s and businesses roughly $2.5 to $3 billion.

If your home was damaged, during the storm, once of your first questions will probably be, will my insurance cover this damage, the good news is that in most cases, the answer is yes.

What is covered?

Damage from heavy snow, ice and high-winds are usually covered by a standard homeowners policy. As an example, if high winds blew your roof off and the interior and your possessions were damaged by the snow and ice that made its way into your home those damages would be covered.

Damage caused by burst pipes because of freezing temperatures is also covered. If water makes its way into your walls or attic due to ice dams your insurance policy should pay to have repairs done.

If a tree that has blown down and damages your house you should be able to make a claim on your own homeowners policy. This is true even if the tree is your neighbor’s but it falls across property lines on to your home.

Damage to any vehicles you own that is caused by the blizzard would not be covered by your homeowner’s policy but would be covered by the comprehensive portion of your auto insurance policy. If you do not carry comprehensive coverage on your vehicles the cost of damages would fall to you.

It is important to remember that all damage related to blizzard claims is subject to your deductible. The deductible is the amount that will be subtracted from any claim payment because it is the amount the homeowner has agreed to cover. In most cases a homeowners insurance policy carries a $500-$1000 deductible.

One other point to remember is that homeowners must make reasonable efforts to prevent further damage to the home. As an example, if your roof is damaged or has been completely off, you should make reasonable efforts to have the hole covered. Turning your heat off and leaving your home when a blizzard is on the way can also be construed as homeowner negligence, which can result in the claim being denied.

What isn’t covered?

Flood damage is never covered by a homeowner policy. If your home is flooded due to storm surge or rising rivers and streams you will not be able to make a claim under homeowners policy for the damage. In order to recover damages due to flooding, a homeowner would need to carry a flood insurance policy.

The majority of flood insurance policies are backed by the National Flood Insurance Program, which is administered by Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). There are currently about 5.1 million flood insurance policies in force across the nation with a heavy concentration of those policies in the South.

Flood insurance prices vary dramatically depending on where your home is located. Homes in high-risk flood areas will obviously pay much more than homeowners who are located in low-risk floodplains.

On average the typical flood insurance policy cost roughly $700 a year. According to FEMA data the average flood claim from 2010 to 2014 was a whopping $42,000 so in most cases flood insurance can be a financial lifesaver if your home is damaged by flood.

Hopefully, you now have a good idea whether or not the damage caused by the Blizzard of 2016 is covered. Now it’s time to get your agent on the phone and start filing your claim if your home has blizzard damage.

For Flood Insurance questions, please call 888-620-1954 for information, rates, quotes and more. If you need to evaluate your current homeowners insurance policy for additional coverage, please enter your zip and compare up to 12 home insurance quotes now.

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