Wind damage can be quite extensive, depending on the situation. Yesterday, in West Hollywood, California, we heard about a dangerous occurrence. Heavy winds picked up pieces of scaffolding from a high-rise building under construction and sent pieces of metal and wood into three apartments at the property next door. This occurred around 4:30 a.m at 8277 West Fountain Avenue.
This was a terrifying situation for the residents who experienced the damage. They were awoken at the crack of dawn to the noise of pieces of metal and wood piercing through their roofs. Luckily, no injuries were reported, although the three units were evacuated, and Fountain Avenue was shut down for a while so the construction teams could fix the scaffolding.
If you had a California renters insurance policy, would there be coverage in a situation like this? Who pays for the damage to the apartments? Is the construction company responsible, or is this considered a natural peril? We’ll get to that in a minute, but first, let’s talk about wind.
Is Wind Damage Covered By My Renters Insurance Policy?
Like many situations that occur in the insurance world, the answer is not just a simple “yes” or “no,” but sort of both;
The No. Many coastal regions of the country are likely to exclude wind coverage on a policy if the area is hurricane-prone. The most common places you see this would be the coastal parts of Texas, Florida, Mississippi, and Louisiana–mainly the south and Gulf Coast regions. But the entire East Coast has also been known to get hit by hurricane damage as well, most notably in the Carolinas.
Generally speaking, if a region looks like it could be overwhelmed by an incident, then coverage may not be available. There is a high level of risk associated with insuring coastal properties, and one hurricane alone could be enough to drain an entire claims reserve, which would mean higher premiums for everybody. But to be sure you have this vital coverage, make sure to check with your insurance provider.
The Yes. For areas of the country that experience tornados, there is wind coverage on a standard renters insurance policy. And for areas of the country that aren’t coastal or hurricane-prone, wind coverage is included. This includes just a plain old gust of wind, not necessarily a named windstorm of any kind.
Is There Coverage?
So let’s look at some wind damage examples to illustrate coverage. These situations are not examples of catastrophic windstorms, but they are examples of wind causing damage. So, would there be coverage?
Let’s say you are in a parking lot, getting out of your car, and the wind catches your open door like a sail. It swings it into the car parked next to you and dents it. Would this be covered by your auto policy as a natural peril or would it be considered an at-fault incident?
This type of damage would most likely be determined to be a no-fault incident, particularly since your car was parked and not even in motion. You have done everything within your power to operate and secure the vehicle in a safe manner, and had the wind gust not happened, no damage would have occurred. Comprehensive coverage on an auto policy covers “acts of God” which is just another way of saying nature or weather-caused damage.
For the West Hollywood incident, where the scaffolding was carried by a gust of wind into the next door property? The construction company is actually responsible for the damage. The reason the wind was able to blow the scaffolding next door was because the construction crew had improperly tied a tarp to it, so it operated as a kite to carry over the pieces of metal and wood. So if the people whose apartments were damaged had renters insurance, it’s likely that their policy would pay for the damages. Then, their renters insurance company would subrogate from the construction company.
Hopefully this simplified wind damage coverage for you. As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to call (800)892-4308 or click to get covered - whether you need renters insurance quotes online or coverage anywhere else!
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