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Hurricane Preparation. What is covered during a Hurricane or Tornado?

Jul 9, 2013

Extreme weather conditions accompanied by hail, destructive high winds and heavy rain are all too common for residents living in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Learn more about hurricane and tornado insurance coverage before tragedy strikes. Feel confident that you are covered should either of these natural disasters damage your home.

Hurricane insurance coverage

Homeowner policies cover most of the damage caused by a hurricane with the exception of flooding. However, most companies also have a higher policy deductible for wind losses. The homes of New England residents are at risk for hurricanes that cause both high winds and flooding.

During a hurricane, your homeowner's policy covers your home and all personal property inside the home and any other structures on your property such as a garage or pool house. Should your home become uninhabitable, most policies include a "loss of use" clause that pays out if you are forced to live somewhere else. How much the company pays, and for how long, depends on your specific policy.

Your car is another matter. Be aware that if a tree falls on your car during a hurricane, don't expect your homeowner's policy to cover it. Fortunately, a comprehensive automobile policy will.

Tornado insurance coverage

Insurance companies view tornadoes as the same type of destructive force as hurricanes even though they are very different types of storms. You may not even see the word "tornado" used in your policy because many companies use the general term "windstorm" to cover tornadoes, hurricanes or other wind-damage events.

These types of storms share extremely high winds that cause catastrophic destruction. When Hurricane Camille created winds in excess of 155 mph, it was comparable to a category 5 tornado, which is classified as sustained winds over 155 mph-different storms, yet the high-velocity wind damage is the same.

As with hurricanes, your homeowner's insurance policy usually covers tornado damage that is not caused by external flooding, but there can be contradictions to this rule. Review your policy with your agent in case your coverage doesn't apply specifically to all windstorms and to see if you have any deductibles that apply. Also, if you have a yard full of trees, verify that you're covered for tree removal should you need it. There are insurance companies that require separate coverage for tree removal after a windstorm.

It's comforting to know that most states will not allow insurance companies to cancel coverage if you are forced to use your hurricane or tornado insurance during a natural disaster. Owners cannot be singled out for a rate increase caused by Acts of God that cause severe damage to their homes.

Safety offers many home insurance coverage enhancements. Please check out our products for more information. Contact your independent agent if you have any questions about the hurricane or tornado coverage on your homeowner's insurance policy.

We would like to thank Safety Insurance who put together this very valuable information!

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