Wind Damage

There are two types of wind damage. Damage caused by wind itself and damage caused by a tornado. While wind doesn’t always reach high enough speeds to cause damage there are instances when wind alone can knock down trees into your yard, a fence, or your home. A tree knocked down by wind into an open area such as your yard where it has done no damage to a fence, your garage or your home is not covered by insurance so the bill for removal and clean up is yours to pay. Now if that tree comes down into a structure such as a house, garage, or even a fence then it is covered by your insurance company. A tree branch can cause damage to shingles or gutters, so an entire tree can and usually does cause major damage to a structure. Whether the tree is yours or that of your neighbor, it is still your liability. There for, you are the one that needs to file an insurance claim, it is often too hard to prove negligent on your neighbors part after the fact.

Wind damaged is measured on the Fujita Scale. It reads as follows:
  • EF-0) light damage: Wind speeds of 65-85mph can cause some damage to shingles and siding.
  • EF-1) moderate damage: wind speeds of 86-110mph can cause considerable damage. Trees can be uprooted, single-wide mobile homes can be over turned and flag poles bent.
  • EF-2) considerable damage: wind speeds of 111-135mph can destroy most single-wide mobile homes, permanent homes can be shifted off their foundations, flag poles collapse and softwood trees debark.
  • EF-3) severe damage: wind speeds of 136-165mph will debark hardwood trees and destroy small portions of homes.
  • EF-4) devastating damage: wind speeds of 166-200mph cause complete destruction of well built homes and large sections of school buildings.
  • EF-5) incredible damage: wind speeds of 200mph causes significant structural deformation of mid and high-rise buildings.

A tornado is defined as a violently rotating column of air extending from a thunderstorm to the ground. With wind speeds of 250mph or more, damage can be in excess of one mile wide and fifty miles long. The U.S. reports over one thousand tornadoes per year, more than any other country in the world, along with that we have the most violent tornadoes in the world! While tornadoes are common in many states, most tornadoes happen in the southern plain states in an area known as “tornado alley”. An area described as west of the Appalachian Mountains and east of the Rocky Mountains. Because Wisconsin sits directly east of the southern plain states and atop of tornado alley, we are eminently at risk of not only tornadoes but violently destructive ones as we seen in Eagle,WI during the summer of 2010.

While some cases are more clear cut than others, wind and tornado damage are claims that are not cut and dry. Hurricane Katrina is a good example. While it seemed to be a no-brainer so to speak, the vast majority of the insurance companies were let off the hook. Rain and wind were covered but due to the massive flooding, the insured was not covered. Insurers claimed the damage was flood NOT rain and wind. Here in Wisconsin, similar situations of the insurance company using loopholes to deny claims in the wake of the devastation that a tornado created in the town of Eagle, WI in the summer of 2010. With widespread damage, insurers incurring huge losses from the “obvious” damage claims, to the “not so obvious” damage claims were down played. The insured with a $5-10,000 deductible was told by their insurer that the contractor they sent out to assess the damage was less than their claim deductible. In this instance, the insurer is allowed to save untold amounts by not having to pay out on one or any number of claims.

A few tips:

1) Be proactive in the claim process.

2)  Think of your claim as a business negotiation. You are dealing with a FOR PROFIT company. Therefore you are not on a level playing field when making and dealing with an insurance claim.

3) Give your insurance company a chance to do the right thing but don’t mistake a friendly claims adjuster for a friend!

4)  Seek out a fair and accurate assessment of the damage. Hiring a contractor that has that intention in mind, is your right!  Allowing the insurance co to determine the extent of the damage and deciding who should fix the damage is NOT recommended!  That is your DECISION TO MAKE, NOT THE INSURANCE COMPANY.

5)  If you have questions, concerns, or just need answers, call Accent Construction and Remodeling LLC.  We are very knowledgeable and experienced in all claim scenarios.