It’s Hurricane Season: What Does Your Policy Cover?
In Massachusetts, homeowners’ policies provide coverage for windstorms. Hurricanes are simply large windstorms that can wreak havoc on your home. Although your policy will respond to the damages , your policy may contain some special limitations or deductibles in the event of a hurricane or tropical storm.
Insurance companies may impose a separate windstorm or named storm deductible. This deductible may be a flat amount as low as $1,000 or it may be a percentage of the amount of coverage you carry on your home. The closer you are to the coast the higher your deductible will be.
Damage to Trees, Shrubs and other plants caused by a hurricane or windstorm is not covered under a standard homeowner policy. However, homeowner policies do provide some coverage for the reasonable expense to remove fallen trees from your property caused by windstorm (hurricane) or hail or from the weight of ice, snow or sleet. It may be necessary for the tree to hit a covered structure such as your house, shed, fence, driveway, etc. for coverage to apply.
If your neighbor’s tree falls in your yard you will have some limited coverage for the removal of the tree. The same stipulations discussed above apply here as well. There will be a limitation on the amount you can collect, usually $500.
If your tree falls in your neighbor’s yard your homeowner’s policy will not normally pay to have it removed from the neighbor’s yard. Your neighbor’s homeowner’s insurance would cover the removal of the tree, provided certain requirements are met.
Coverage for windstorm or hail does not include loss or damage to personal property contained in a building caused by rain, snow, sleet, sand or dust unless the direct force of wind or hail damages the building causing an opening in a roof or wall and the rain, snow, sleet, sand or dust enters through this opening. Damage to watercraft and their trailers, furnishings, equipment and outboard engines or motors, is only covered while inside a fully enclosed building. There is a limitation for coverage to watercraft, their trailers, furnishing, equipment and outboard engines or motors, usually $1,000. There is also a limitation on trailers not used with watercraft, also usually $1,000.
The above synopsis is informational; the actual coverage provided will depend on your individual homeowner’s policy. Please contact your agent for more information on how these coverages apply to your home.