9 Surprising Types of Damage After a Hurricane
Large destructive hurricanes such as Hurricane Andrew, Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Ian cause obvious damage to homes and commercial businesses – like water damage and roof damage. However, there are also less obvious types of hurricane damage.
With this year’s Atlantic hurricane season expected to be “well above average,” it’s important for homeowners to educate themselves.
Today, we’re explaining some of the less obvious types of damage that may occur to your home or commercial property after a hurricane.
By learning to spot these damages, you can hold your insurer accountable, increase your payout by thousands, and get the payout you deserve. If you are currently dealing with an insurance claim for hurricane damage also see this info on handling claims and hurricane adjusters as well as tips for hurricane insurance claims.
Hurricanes can destroy carpeting. If water leaks into your home and onto your carpet, it can force you to remove all carpeting from the affected area of your home.
Your insurance company should cover the cost of replacing damaged carpeting in your home.
However, some insurers push back against how much carpeting they need to replace. Your insurer may only pay to repair the damaged carpeting in one corner of your living room, for example, which means you need to pay out of pocket to replace the remaining carpeting throughout the rest of your living room.
Homeowners insurance policies rarely cover mold. However, if your insurance company has dragged its feet on your hurricane damage insurance claim, allowing mold to build up, then your insurer may need to cover these damages.
Mold thrives in damp conditions, which is why it’s common after a hurricane. If your insurer acted in bad faith by denying or delaying your claim without cause, and this inaction caused the mold to grow, then you may be entitled to compensation.
Hurricanes can cause extensive damage to your landscaping. They can uproot trees, destroy gardens, and ruin the appearance of your yard.
Unfortunately, homeowners insurance does not usually cover the cost of repairing or replacing damaged landscaping after a hurricane.
Chipped Lead Paint
If you have an older home, then you may have lead-based paint. Normally, you want to remove this paint.
Insurance does not generally cover the cost of removing lead-based paint from your home unless a covered event causes the paint to chip.
A hurricane could cause lead paint to chip away. Once the paint starts to chip, it poses a health risk. Insurance may cover the cost of removing this lead-based paint from your home – something it would not normally cover.
Hidden Roof Damage
It’s no secret hurricanes cause extensive damage to roofs. However, much of this roof damage is hidden.
Some homeowners check their roof after a hurricane and see no obvious damage, so they assume the roof is fine.
However, there could be hidden roof damage. Get a professional roofer to check your roof for damage. Your insurer may be required to repair or replace the roof after a hurricane – even if your insurer initially argued there was no roof damage.
Hurricanes often lead to power outages. Power outages lead to spoiled food.
Some insurance companies pay for loss of food in a freezer or a refrigerator under “ensuing damage” in your policy. Unfortunately, this amount is almost always capped at $500. If you have a large family or store a lot of meat, this might not cover all of the food that was lost.
However, there are steps you can take to minimize losses before, during, and after a hurricane, including:
- Set your refrigerator and freezer to the maximum coldest setting in the days leading up to the storm
- Unplug major appliances before the hurricane hits to prevent the storm from damaging the electrical components (say, with a power surge)
- Add containers of water to your freezer or fridge; this will keep your fridge or freezer colder for longer in an emergency situation
Equipment and Appliances
Many homeowners expect home damage after a hurricane. However, not all homeowners expect damage to appliances and other equipment. Commercial property business owners often have large amounts of expensive equipment that suffers damage during a hurricane.
Some of the most common types of equipment and appliances damaged by hurricanes include:
- Electrical equipment
- Air conditioners
- Computer equipment
- Telephone systems
- Water heaters
Flooding and power surges can wreak havoc on your equipment and appliances during a hurricane.
Check your equipment after a hurricane to verify it works. Some homeowners don’t spot damage until after the claim is settled, leaving them with less compensation than they deserve.
Standard homeowners’ insurance policies do not cover landscaping damage or the cost of replacing an uprooted tree during a windstorm. However, the policy will usually pay to remove a felled tree if it is blocking access to your home or driveway, has fallen on your home or “other structures”, such as a fence or patio, or has fallen on another person’s property.
The cost to remove the tree is usually calculated by the diameter of the tree and the cost to stump grind so that it will not grow back. The policy will not pay to replace that tree.
If you have multiple trees that are important to you, such as fruit or shade trees, then ask your insurance company about downed tree coverage and see if you can purchase this extra endorsement for your policy.
Hurricanes can damage the foundation of your home. A hurricane can leave cracks in the foundation or structure of your home, which is a serious issue.
If a hurricane has damaged the structure of your home, then your home may not be livable. Make sure your insurer checks the foundation of your home to verify its integrity after a hurricane. Otherwise, your insurer may be avoiding a significant payout.
Final Word On Damages Caused By Hurricanes
Generally speaking, an Insurance company’s goal is not to pay the full value for every hurricane damage claim. Instead, insurance companies typically want to minimize losses and make as much profit as possible.
That’s why many insurers may avoid looking for additional damages. This could leave you with thousands of dollars in less compensation than you deserve.
By learning to spot damage after a hurricane insurance claim, you can help ensure you get the claim settlement deserve from your insurance company.