Snow, sleet, hail, wind, and rain: you're bound to encounter some form of extreme weather conditions during the winter season. And that can mean damage to your personal and commercial property. Before the next snow or rain falls, take some time to familiarize yourself with the different types of insurance policies that may help protect you when the winter weather gets wild.
What Insurance Policies Cover Winter Weather Damage?
The good news is this: weather storm damage is often covered by a variety of insurance policies. However, not every policy will include coverage for all conditions, so it's important to know what coverage you have, what's typically excluded, and where you might be vulnerable when winter storms strike.
Winter Weather Insurance for Personal Property
From your homeowners insurance to auto insurance, there's a good chance your personal property is covered against winter storms.
Winter storm damage is typically covered by homeowners insurance. Your policy will likely protect you against damage to your roof from snow and ice, frozen or burst pipes, or damage from falling trees and branches.
However, floods from excessive rainfall may not be covered; flood protection is generally excluded from a standard homeowners policy. To protect your home against damage from flooding, mudflow, landslides, tsunami damage, or backed-up drains and sewage, you'll want to carry flood insurance in addition to your homeowners policy.
Even if you don't own your home, you can still get protection for your personal property with renters insurance. Your landlord likely has an insurance policy in place to protect their property -- the physical building that you rent. However, their property insurance protection doesn't extend to your personal belongings. This is where renters insurance steps in, to protect what's yours in the event of a covered peril. Winter storm damage from wind and hail is commonly included in a renters policy. Your renters policy may not cover every type of damage, so make sure you understand your policy completely. Flood or earthquake damage are likely to be excluded.
The type of coverage you have on your vehicles will dictate whether or not they're protected against the perils of winter storms. Collision coverage is designed to protect your vehicle in the event of a collision with other vehicles or objects. If you hit a patch of ice on the road and collide with a tree or fence post, for example, collision coverage will help cover the cost of your repairs.
Comprehensive coverage can help protect your vehicle from non-collision damage, such as falling objects like trees, branches, and icicles. Comprehensive coverage can also help cover damage if you hit an animal or your windshield cracked during a storm.
Winter Weather Insurance for Business Property
If you own a business, then commercial insurance coverage may help protect your business assets when the rain and snow begin to fall. Not all commercial insurance policies will cover winter weather damage.
Commercial property insurance is designed to protect your place of business and the property, equipment, merchandise, and other business assets inside the building. A commercial property policy typically covers winter weather damage from snow, ice, and the cold. However, like a homeowners policy, flood and other water damage may be excluded from your commercial property policy.
If your commercial auto policy has collision and comprehensive coverage, you can rest assured that the vehicles your business owns and operates will be covered during the winter season. Don't rely on your personal auto policy to cover business vehicles; personal policies aren't designed to cover vehicles used or owned by your business. If you use a vehicle to travel to clients, to transport goods or merchandise, let your employees drive your vehicle, or your business is the registered owner of a vehicle, you'll need the right type of commercial auto, no matter the season.
For contractors and construction business owners, builders risk insurance can help protect against the risks of winter storm damage while a project is still under construction. A builders risk policy, also known as course of construction, can help protect the time and materials you've already invested in a project that's not quite finished yet. Imagine you've completed a roofing project, but heavy snowfall and ice collapse the roof before the job is done. Builders risk insurance can help you repair, replace, and rebuild without having to be out of pocket for the winter storm damage.
What Insurance Will Protect Your Property Against Winter Storms?
These are a few of the insurance policies that typically include protections against winter storm damage. For a more personalized list of policies that can protect your personal and business assets, talk to an experienced insurance professional. Find out exactly what policies and how much coverage you need to ensure you have peace of mind throughout the winter months, no matter how wild the weather gets.