Karl Newman, President
Sandi Henke, Communications
NW Insurance Council
Phone: (800) 664-4942
Fax: (206) 624-1975
Follow at Twitter/nwinsuranceinfo
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."
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
What's typically covered:
- 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.
- Damage caused by wind and falling trees if you purchased
optional Comprehensive Coverage.
What's typically not covered:
- Removal of trees that have fallen in your yard without damaging
- Upgrades that weren't part of your home before the storm.
- 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
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