April Showers Bring... Homeowners Insurance Claims?
April showers have arrived, and the potential for storm damage to your home is at its height. What do you do if spring storms damage your gutters? It depends. At Gutterworks, we think that information is your best defense against uncertainty! This blog outlines the most common types of storm damage for spring. We will also discuss your options for repair and provide some prevention strategies.
Wind can damage your gutters in multiple fashions. First, when strong winds make contact with a structure's outer wall, it can flow upwards. That upward force strains gutter fasteners/hangers and the gutters themselves. Gutters may become loose or even disconnect from the building. Further, gutter seams can separate due to wind damage. Any strain on your gutters can cause damage, and preventative measures help your gutters weather a stormy spring.
Protect your gutters against wind damage by checking for current loose connections or open seams. If your gutters are functioning optimally, there’s less risk of major damage. However, high winds will almost certainly wreak havoc on gutters that are already damaged. Schedule an inspection for your gutter system. Even if your system is relatively new, the installation may be faulty!
Falling trees and limbs
Spring storms are notorious for damaging trees. If you have trees on your property, be mindful about how violent winds or rain can blow limbs into your home or even knock an entire tree into your home. Such events are almost certain to cause damage to your gutters, like dents, tears, and scratched finish (which leaves the gutter vulnerable to corrosion).
Prevent tree damage by anticipating damage to older trees and keeping them pruned away from your house. Putting some distance between the threat and your structure can be enough to keep you in the clear. Even so, some storms can create unanticipated risk, so be ready for anything.
Even if a storm does not physically damage your gutters, it may fill them with debris that could lead to a clog. Winds can carry seeds, twigs, nuts, pods, and leaves to your roof, where they get caught in your gutters. Sometimes, you can't see the collection of debris from the ground, so a professional can help assess.
Prevent most issues caused by debris by regularly cleaning your gutters or considering installing gutter guards. When your gutters are free of obstruction and debris weighing them down, they operate properly and are less vulnerable to damage.
When your gutters or roof incur damage, you may be in a position where repairs must be made immediately to restore your home’s integrity. In these situations, understanding your homeowner’s insurance policy is paramount to making the best decision quickly.
Making claims on your homeowner’s insurance policy involves weighing your options. Many insurance policies require homeowners to pay a hefty deductible: $500, $1,000, or $2,000. Be informed about what you will pay should you file a claim. Most homeowners debating whether to file a homeowners insurance claim wonder whether premium rates are likely to increase if a homeowner files a claim. The long answer is that it’s complicated. According to Experian.com, the average increase in homeowners insurance premiums for filing one claim due to weather damage is 16%, and for two claims, rates increase 29% on average. Despite these numbers, “a 2019 Consumer Reports survey found that 50% of respondents who filed a home insurance claim in the previous three years didn't experience a premium hike; just 12% said premiums rose by $200 or more annually.”
Since filing an insurance claim costs you money no matter what (even if your premiums don’t increase, you’re still paying a deductible), you need to gauge how much money you’re actually saving in the long run. For example, if the repairs needed are $1,200, and your deductible is $1,000, it’s probably not worth filing a claim to “save” $200 when you could pay that in higher premiums (and then some).
Another consideration for whether to file a claim is whether your policy covers the type of storm damage you have. Insurance policies vary from homeowner to homeowner, so inspect yours to see what stipulations exist. Most policies cover wind damage, hail, and damage from fallen trees. Any water damage stemming from wind damage, hail, or tree damage is usually covered. Roof and gutter professionals like our experts at Gutterworks are well-versed in figuring out which repairs your home needs. You should call us for an inspection following a big storm, especially if there are high winds. Homeowners cannot always see damage from the ground.
We can help you prevent spring storm damage
When you are doing your due diligence to protect your gutters against storm damage, you can trust our experienced professionals at Gutterworks to give you honest answers and solutions. We know which factors put your home at risk during a storm, so we know exactly how to prepare your gutters for the rest of spring.
Call us at (304)848-9870 to learn more about how we can help!