Seeing the devastating hurricane that pounded southeastern Texas, brings to mind some of the storms that have impacted our neck of the woods. The New England Hurricane of 1938 claimed the lives of 600 people before exiting the northeastern coastal region. Both Hurricane Carol and Hurricane Edna delivered copious amounts of rain and high winds in 1954 producing damage throughout the area. Edna came with destructive wind gusts up to 120mph. More recently, Irene made her ninth landfall near Coney Island, resulting in the Hudson flooding and storm surge violently pushing forward until it was underneath the Boardwalk, and further inland in some places. And who can forget the devastation of Superstorm Sandy in 2012? We have had more than our share of high-impact storms on Long Island over the years. Are you wondering why this week’s Renewal by Andersen replacement window blog post is about hurricanes and extreme weather? Because the best time to prepare for recovery is before a weather disaster strikes. So, here’s a question for you:
If not, you should check with your agent. In the meantime, here are some things you may not know about insurance coverage in general, and some things specifically related to home windows, damage and coverage.
If a hurricane-spawned tornado shatters your windows it would be usually be covered by a homeowners policy. Most insurance policies cover perils – damage from a specific event, such as fire, vandalism, theft, wind, hail, and falling objects, like trees. This means that if a projectile – a tree limb propelled by the wind, a rock thrown up by the lawn mower, or a bat swung by a criminal trying to gain entry – damages your window beyond repair, your homeowner’s policy would likely pay for replacement windows and any interior damage caused by the event.
However, time isn’t considered a “peril.” As wood and metal windows age, the weather-stripping weakens. Exposure to harsh sunlight causes some sealants to shrink. Expansion and contraction during seasonal weather changes can make the window unit separate from a home’s exterior surface. All of these processes create the potential for air and moisture leaks. So, if your aging wood windows fail, resulting in excessive moisture indoors that causes damage to your drywall, you probably won’t be able to get your insurance company to pay for new windows. It is important to check your home windows periodically, especially if you notice excessive condensation build up on window glass or drafts around your windows.
Water damage claims in general are often problematic. Even if your policy covers the cost to remediate water damage, it may not cover the source. For example, if a water heater springs a leak and floods your basement, many policies will cover the cost (within the limits of your policy) to replace drywall damage, furniture, and affected belongings. However, it is rare that the policy would cover the cost of a new water heater.
One of the major sources of damage during a hurricane event is flooding. Even if you don’t live in a flood-prone area, excessive rain can trigger an overflow of inland waters. And, tidal surge during a storm often produces temporary flooding. Flood coverage is rarely – if ever – included in a standard homeowners policy. The good news is that The National Flood Insurance Program offers flood insurance at low rates – and is available to everyone, even if you live in a low-lying area and have filed previous claims. Remember, rain water that enters your home through storm-damaged windows, roofs, and walls is not considered a flood water.
Hurricane season is upon us. While we hope that this season we don’t experience any catastrophic storms, we want all of our friends and neighbors to be prepared. One way to prepare is to make sure you have adequate homeowners insurance. Research suggests that as many as two-thirds of homeowners are underinsured. Before a storm strikes, contact your insurance agent to discuss coverage and exclusions. Here some things to remember.
While we cannot guarantee Renewal by Andersen of Long Island replacement windows will survive a hurricane event, we can guarantee installing Energy-Star certified replacement windows will help you boost energy-efficiency and beautify your home. We encourage all of our friends and neighbors to explore insurance coverage options now, before you are faced with recovering without adequate protection. And, if you’re dealing with aging home windows that no longer block drafts and keep moisture out, let us help you update your home. Just fill in the short form on this page or give us a call at (866) 609-5033 to learn how we can help with a free, no-obligation consultation that includes checking your existing windows for damage.