Windstorm insurance covers property damaged in weather-related natural disasters. The term has different meanings in different geographical contexts, but always refers to property and casuality insurance. Windstorm insurance is available for personal, commercial, and auto policies. In areas that are historically vulnerable to windstorm damage, protection may be excluded from basic policies. In case of windstorm damage, property losses should be carefully documented before being cleaned up.
Depending on their exposure to weather-related losses, different countries define windstorm insurance differently. In the United States, windstorm insurance usually refers to coverage from hurricanes, tornadoes, and hail. In Europe, it can refer to damage from hail, winter storm ice and snow, and flooding. In Asia, windstorm usually means typhoons and may include tsunami damage. Most insurance policies will carefully define terms and carefully outline what is included and excluded from coverage.
Windstorms can damage all types of property. Home owners' policies typically cover fallen trees and other wind-related damages. Comprehensive car insurance protects from weather-related damage, although collision insurance does not. Many different commercial windstorm policies are available, covering machine damage, crop damage, and business interruption, as well as many other financial risks.
In zones that are particularly exposed to windstorm damage, expensive supplementary policies may be required. For instance, in Florida and Texas, most insurance companies will not underwrite hurricane policies to oceanfront zones. Special insurance pools have formed to protect an owner’s property. Likewise, most insurance policies specifically exclude flood damage, especially if claims have been made in the past. In the United States, the National Flood Insurance Program offers insurance for property located in flood zones that private insurance companies refuse to insure.
In the chaos of a natural catastrophe, most people attempt to save themselves and their families and worry about their property later. In the days that follow, the sentimental and financial gravity of the situation sinks in as the clean up begins. Insurance companies are very wary of the many unscrupulous people who will try to take advantage of the situation and who will try to make a fake claim during these trying times.
It is best to document losses through photos and by keeping damaged goods. Most insurance companies will send out an expert to verify claims as soon as possible. It may be very difficult to look at damaged property without cleaning up, but it is the best strategy to ensure a full indemnity for the loss.