It’s springtime in Oklahoma—and that means potentially hazardous weather is on the way, including the storms that accompany the change in seasons. The Oklahoma City area has more than its share of severe thunderstorms, hail, microbursts, and even tornados to contend with. And as a result, Oklahoma City area homeowners must plan ahead to adequately handle potential home water damage.
Roof leaks, in particular, are a frequent problem during stormy weather. The question is, are you prepared financially to handle one if it happens? Does your homeowner’s insurance cover roof leaks and other forms of water damage? In addition to buying insurance, what else can you do to prepare for roof leaks and other potential storm damage?
We answer those questions below, so you’ll know what to do if home water damage strikes during stormy weather
Does homeowner’s insurance cover water damage?
Yes. A standard homeowners insurance policy normally covers roof leaks and other forms of water damage. Typically, a roof leak from a storm occurs because the storm forces a hole to open the roof’s structure. The types of damage covered can include leaks caused by winds, rain, hail, and trees falling through shingles, among other issues.
Are there exceptions that can invalidate an insurance claim for roof damage?
Yes. Insurance policies generally do not cover what is termed “preventable damage.” If you have been negligent in the care of your home, failing to perform routine maintenance that would have prevented the damage, your claim might be denied.
But if it can be shown that the leak occurred due to a sudden, unexpected event that could not have been prevented, such as a microburst tearing up a new roof you just had installed a few months earlier, you are much more likely to have a successful insurance claim.
Note: Every insurance policy’s terms may include specific coverages and exclusions, so always read the fine print to be sure you understand what is and is not covered under your particular policy.
What forms of maintenance should you perform on your home to help prevent damage before it occurs?
As we pointed out above, “preventable damage” isn’t typically covered by homeowner’s insurance. But what is considered preventable damage, and what should you do about it?
In essence, as a homeowner, you should regularly inspect your roof, siding, gutters, and water run-off and drainage systems to ensure everything is in good shape. When you discover problem areas, fix them right away. Proactive maintenance not only lessens the likelihood that you’ll incur damage in the first place, but it also helps to show you are not being negligent in caring for your home when it comes to making an insurance claim.
Areas to address before storms hit include:
- Preexisting holes in your roof, no matter how small
- Loose or missing roof tiles/shingles
- Clogged rain gutters
- Clogged or faulty water run-off systems around your home’s foundation
- Streaks, discolorations, and other visible signs of leaks or mold on your interior or exterior walls
- Loose or missing siding
Do you need specialized insurance beyond the standard homeowner’s policy to protect you in case of water damage?
It depends on where your home is located and what you want to cover. Some forms of water damage are not addressed by standard policies but can be handed through additional coverage, such as water damage due to sewage and drain backups.
Another form of water damage that isn’t covered by standard homeowners insurance is damage from flooding. You can purchase flood insurance separately.
What about damage resulting from flaws in building materials?
Generally speaking, damage due to manufacturing defects in your roofing materials or siding materials are not covered by homeowners insurance. Neither are errors made during installation by your contractor. For this reason, making sure you work with materials and companies that offer warranties can be useful.
How else can I protect myself from home water damage due to storms?
Beyond homeowner’s insurance, you can work with a water damage restoration company and invest in a protection plan for your home. Such plans give you an on-call restoration company that already knows your needs, has established a plan for recovery with you ahead of time, and can be on your property as soon as you need them to begin the process of stopping water damage in its tracks and getting your property and your life back to normal as quickly as possible.
At TRILINK, we offer both family and commercial emergency restoration management plans for homeowners, commercial property owners, and property managers to ease the process of recovering from storm damage. And with the Oklahoma City area frequently at risk for storms, such a plan may be just what you need to give you peace of mind that your valuable, beloved home and property will be taken care of the instant you need us.
Visit us online to learn more about TRILINK’s emergency management plans for family/home properties as well as commercial properties. Call us anytime at (405) 525-5465 or contact us online to learn more about our services and find out how we can help protect your property, restore it, and give you peace of mind.