Severe Weather Awareness Week: Understanding how insurance works for damaging winds

Published: Mar. 9, 2023 at 5:16 PM EST|Updated: Mar. 9, 2023 at 5:22 PM EST
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(WHSV) - With severe weather, tornadoes often get attention but severe thunderstorm winds are much more common. Damaging winds can happen in individual storms or from large clusters of storms.

Downed trees from a severe thunderstorm in Staunton last July.
Downed trees from a severe thunderstorm in Staunton last July.(WHSV)

The derecho of 2012 had severe thunderstorm winds that took down thousands of trees and led to millions without power. Damaging winds can be unpredictable so you want to make sure you are prepared for the worst. So is there any way to prepare for damaging winds?

“Sometimes you can have a different deductible for wind so again that’s going back to making sure that you know your coverage, your policy, and what your deductibles are because some policies will have a higher wind deductible,” said Kim Carderelli of Blue Ridge Insurance Services.

Carderelli said securing loose objects is also key in preparation as you may be held responsible if your property damages another home.

“It depends on what carrier you are with and it depends on what the property is. So if it’s something that flies over into your neighbor’s house and busts out a window, then the liability from your homeowner’s policy may cover that or they may have to file it on their homeowner’s policy,” said Carderelli.

With fallen trees, it’s about where the damage is, not whose property the tree is on.

“If you do have trees in your yard that are damaged or knocked over from wind and they fall onto the neighbor’s fence, that’s actually going to be a homeowner’s claim on the neighbor’s insurance, not on the homeowner’s insurance which a lot of times is a little confusing and it sounds a little odd but the neighbor would have to file that on their home owner’s policy,” Carderelli said.

To learn more about the kind of storm winds we deal with in our area, click here.