Our San Francisco insurance claim attorney know that there are many ways nature can cause problems in a state as big and diverse as ours. Last week this blog talked about a flood (see here). This week another act of nature caught our eye- wind and wind damage. In early December, hurricane force winds pummeled areas of Southern California and left hundreds of thousands without power. Estimates say the storms may have caused $40 million in damage. The Santa Ana winds toppled countless trees, especially in the hard-hit Pasadena area.
When Californians are faced with these weather emergencies, it is a good wake up call to the rest of us to ensure we are as prepared as we can be for natural disasters. People often have specific insurance coverage for earthquakes or for floods, but do you know how wind storm damage will be handled by your insurance companies?
Most homeowner’s insurance policies will include some coverage for wind damage, such as a tree falling on a house. “So long as that tree has damaged something on your house or property, your homeowner’s policy will typically have some amount available for tree removal,” said Candysse Miller, executive director of the Insurance Information Network of California to the Pasadena Star-News earlier this month. Other less visible kinds of damage can be more difficult to deal with. Insurance companies often try to claim things like damaged or loosened tiles or shingles on your roof due to high winds is actually caused by normal age/ wear and tear. Roof problems can lead to other expensive home issues, such as water leakage, if the roof is not properly repaired. Insurance companies may also try to claim that only some tiles or shingles need replacing, but before you agree to that make sure you know the true extent of the damage to your roof and do not accept a partial fix to a much bigger problem. You pay for your homeowner’s insurance and you deserve the full benefits you need.
More problems may arise with your car insurance. California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones pointed out that physical damage is not always covered, and you have to choose to include it in your insurance policy. A comprehensive policy should cover damage from wind storms, while the minimum auto insurance required- liability insurance- will not.
Wind damage is fairly common and occurs in big storms all over the United States. It is important to know what exactly is covered under your insurance policies before a disaster happens, so you are informed about what you are paying for and what benefits you can expect. A San Francisco insurance lawyer can help go through your policies and make sure you have the coverage you need and can watch out for any fine print or hidden clauses that could affect your benefits.
Even being informed sometimes cannot protect you from unscrupulous insurance companies trying to deny benefits. When you are faced with substantial damage from a natural disaster, it is always a good idea to consider talking to a San Francisco insurance claim attorney. Insurance companies may be more willing to negotiate or settle claims if the claimant has an experienced attorney on their side.
In closing this week, everyone here at the Brod Law Firm wishes our clients and friends a happy and safe holiday season!
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