Spring has made its appearance, and with it comes our first taste of windy spring weather. Winds reaching up to 80-kilometres per hour will leave damage in its wake. High winds can knock over fences, bring down trees, rip siding down from homes and blow shingles from roofs. If you experience any of these damages to your property, you’re probably wondering: Does homeowners’ insurance cover wind damage? We dive into what qualifies as wind damage and examine the types of coverages available through homeowners’ policies.

What exactly is wind damage?

Damage from the wind is known as an unavoidable loss as a result of high-force winds. It can also be due to debris or foreign objects, such as tree branches. If wind causes a foreign object to create a hole or opening in your home, any further harm to your property or belongings will be classified as wind-related damage. Research shows that homeowners filed more claims between 2014 and 2018 due to wind and hail damage. In other words, this was more than any other type of loss, including fire, water damage or theft.

What is known as wind damage under a homeowners policy?

Most damage by wind in any type of storm will be known as wind damage. In other words, there is typically coverage for this under a homeowners policy. Damaging winds can cause destruction to roofs, windows, and siding, as well as structures on your property, such as sheds.

There are several types of storms that can cause damage that typically fall under coverage in a homeowners policy:

  • Tornado
  • Hurricane
  • Thunderstorm
  • Hailstorm
  • Microburst
  • Derecho
  • Nor’easter

Understanding your coverage

Your homeowners insurance typically covers most types of wind damage. Dwelling coverage of your homeowners policy helps pay for repairs or to replace damage to the roof, siding or windows. Your policy also includes personal property coverage to help repair or replace items that suffer damage from the wind. It’s important to be clear and review your policy coverage. Take note of coverage limits, deductibles and exclusions. Not all damage by wind storms entitles you to coverage. If wind damages your home, you will typically have coverage on most policies. However, there are often some conditions. If a windstorm knocks over a tree and it falls onto your house, the policy will often cover the damage. But what many people don’t realize is that it will not pay to remove or replace the tree!

Types of coverage

Many home insurance policies can (and do) cover wind-related damage. However, the type of policy that you have can influence whether you’ll receive coverage or not:

Named Perils

If you choose to add wind coverage to your Named Perils insurance policy, your home and its contents have protection. If you decide not to add wind coverage to your Named Perils insurance policy, you won’t receive financial coverage.

Comprehensive ‘All-risks’

It is best to have what is known as a Comprehensive or an “All-Risks” policy. This provides coverage for all types of losses, except specific exclusions in the policy.

Most home insurance policies include damage from hail and wind. If you have a comprehensive home insurance policy, you simply need to look at the exclusions. Is hail or wind an exclusion? If not, you have coverage.

What qualifies?

According to the IBC website, coverage for wind-related damage is defined as the following:

1. Damage to homes from hail, wind, snow or rain is usually covered. This includes:

  • Losses as a result of flying debris or falling branches/trees.
  • Losses to your home and contents from water or snow entering through sudden openings resulting from wind or hail.

2. Damage to vehicles from wind, hail, ice or water is usually covered in a comprehensive or all-perils auto insurance policy. These coverages are not mandatory, so check your policy.

3.  Damage to mobile homes or trailers from wind may be covered. As policy wordings vary, it’s best to ask your insurance representative for more information.

4. Homeowners who are unable to live in their homes because of insurable damage may be eligible for additional living expenses. However, this may only be under certain circumstances.

If you’re unable to live in your home because of insurable damage, you may be eligible for additional living expenses. However, this would be under specific circumstances. Check with one of our isure representatives to confirm the coverage in your current policy.

Protect your home

Wind-driven events can potentially to cause significant damage to your home. Taking a proactive approach to protect your investment from damage is important. Here’s what you can do:

  • Regular roof inspections
  • Check your gutters and downspouts
  • Inspect your siding and replace damaged sections
  • Eliminate projectiles if a windstorm is imminent

FAQS about wind damage and your homeowners policy

Are tornadoes covered by insurance in Ontario?

Have your isure broker confirm the coverage you have with your current policy. Damage to homes as a result of a tornado, including wind and rain, is usually covered. This can include flying debris or fallen trees and/or branches.

How long do homeowners have to submit a wind-related claim in Canada?

It varies. Some home insurance providers give policyholders up to 12 months (from the date of event) to submit a wind claim. Others only give 90 days (from the date of the event) to take action.

How long does a wind damage insurance claim take to get approved?

It’s difficult to say. Each case has its own set of factors and variables. Initially, if your wind-related home insurance claim is cut-and-dry, it can take up to 48 hours. However, if your claim is more complex, it may require more time and expertise to assess it. As a result, it can take up to 12 months for more complex cases.

Is there a timeframe to start and finalize a home insurance claim?

Yes. Most insurers have a time limit where you must open your claim. Some provide you with up to one year to open and finalize it. Your insurer may allow as little as three months up to one year from the damage/loss date. However, if you do not finalize it after one year, it can be denied.

Is damage to my satellite dish covered by windstorms?

Unfortunately, if you have damage to your radio antennae or satellite dish, they are both common exclusions from wind damage.

Will homeowners insurance guarantee coverage to my roof repair?

Your home insurance does cover roof damage. However, the amount of coverage you’ll receive will depend on the quality of your roof before the damaging winds. If your roof has existing issues, you will not receive as much coverage as someone with a brand-new roof. Issues may include missing shingles, rotten wood, etc.

Does homeowners insurance cover wind damage to siding?

Homeowners insurance will likely cover wind damage to vinyl, metal and other kinds of siding. Your coverage will help to replace wind-damaged siding with siding that assures a reasonably-uniform visual appearance.

Does homeowners insurance cover wind damage to fences?

If you have Other Structures Coverage in your homeowners policy, wind damage to your fence is generally covered. Other Structures Coverage is the part of your home insurance policy that pays to repair, replace or rebuild structures on your property that are separate from your actual home and have been damaged by a covered peril. Payment you receive for the fence up is only up to its current value. This would be minus the deductible and the amount the fence depreciates since its purchase.

Following extreme weather, if you notice roof damage, contact your isure broker immediately. It is important to know that your insurer will generally try to repair the damage before replacing the entire roof. However, depending on the amount of damage, your roof may need a full replacement, if necessary.

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