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Contact:
Karl Newman, President
Sandi Henke, Communications Director
NW Insurance Council
Phone: (800) 664-4942
Fax: (206) 624-1975
karl.newman@nwinsurance.org

sandi.henke@nwinsurance.org
Follow at Twitter/nwinsuranceinfo

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Fall Windstorms: Are you insured?

SEATTLE - Today's storms and weather service wind advisories for Western Washington/Western Oregon are a reminder to make sure you're prepared before the next high winds hit your area. November typically marks the beginning of windstorm season in the Pacific Northwest and often puts thousands of homes, businesses and vehicles at risk of severe damage.

The first step to getting ready is to review your insurance policy with your agent or company representative to make sure you have adequate insurance to cover losses from a windstorm.

"Homeowners, renters, vehicle owners and business owners who are insured can be confident that their insurance companies are there to help them get back on their feet," said Karl Newman, president of the NW Insurance Council. "Damage from wind is covered under a standard home, auto or commercial policy."

Homeowners Insurance and Business Insurance policies cover wind damage to the structure of your home or business and your belongings. If you have Renters Insurance, only damage to your personal possessions is covered. Wind damage to vehicles caused by falling trees or other wind-driven objects is covered if you have optional Comprehensive Coverage on your Auto Policy.

NW Insurance Council offers the following coverage facts for wind damage:

What's typically covered:

Your Home

  • Damage to your home from wind and falling trees. Your policy protects you regardless of whether the trees fall from your property or a neighbor's property.
  • Removal of trees that have fallen on buildings.
  • Damaged personal property (both home and renters) inside a damaged building.
  • Additional living expenses such as increased housing costs, extra food costs and furniture rental if you can't occupy your primary residence due to storm damage.
  • Costs for reasonable temporary repairs to prevent further damage to the building or contents.

Your Vehicle

  • Damage caused by wind and falling trees if you purchased optional Comprehensive Coverage.

What's typically not covered:

Your Home

  • Removal of trees that have fallen in your yard without damaging a building.
  • Upgrades that weren't part of your home before the storm.

Your Vehicle

  • Damage to your vehicle if you don't have Comprehensive Coverage.

What to do if your home or vehicle has been damaged:

  • Document damage and take pictures.
  • If safe to do so, make temporary repairs to prevent further loss from rain or wind. Save receipts for reimbursement.
  • If your home or property is damaged by a windstorm, contact your insurance agent or company to file a claim immediately.
  • Filing a claim quickly enables your insurance company to get to you sooner.
  • Use only licensed, reputable building contractors and be sure they get the proper building permits.

What to avoid if your home or vehicle has been damaged:

  • Avoid contractors who ask for a large deposit up front or bids that are remarkably low. This may indicate a willingness to cut corners or leave work unfinished.
  • Don't pay a lot for temporary repairs unless authorized by your insurance adjuster. You could get stuck with the bill if the repairs are deemed excessive.
  • Don't discard anything that is damaged until it has been examined by your adjuster. You could miss out on coverage for that item.

Tools to help you prepare:

  • Visit GetReadyNW.org to learn about windstorm and disaster preparation resources including evacuation plans, disaster readiness kits and tips for filing claims.
  • Develop a home inventory of your personal property. You can access free, downloadable Home Inventory software from the Insurance Information Institute.
  • For business owners, the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety offers a disaster planning toolkit called Open for Business and a new toolkit created specifically for small business owners called OFB-EZ (Open for Business EZ).

For more information, call (800) 664-4942 or visit GetReadyNW.org.

NW Insurance Council is a nonprofit, public-education organization funded by member insurance companies serving Washington, Oregon and Idaho.

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