Monday's windstorm probably will not rank among the biggest insured catastrophes in Colorado history, according to the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association.
The storm and its hurricane-force winds did plenty of damage to trees, homes and vehicles and will generate many claims, but generally wind storms must be accompanied by a tornado, hail or a large amount of wet, heavy snow to cause damage that is widespread enough to generate $25 million or more in insured claims, said Carole Walker, the association's executive director. A July 28 hailstorm in the Colorado Springs area, for example, ranks as the sixth worst in state history, triggering more than 80,000 claims totaling $352.8 million in damage to homes and cars.
"Damage from storms like this runs the gamut from roofs, trees, limbs falling on homes, cars, fencing and siding, but it is not as widespread as you see from hail or heavy, wet snow," Walker said. "This kind of damage is generally covered by standard homeowners insurance, but damage to landscaping such as trees and bushes is excluded from coverage, unless it damages the house, then it covers that damage and part of the cleanup cost. The cost of wind damage to fences typically won't meet or exceed the most common level of deductible, which is $1,000."
Wind damage to vehicles is generally covered by auto insurance, even if caused by a tree on your own property, and then only if the policyholder has comprehensive coverage, which is optional in Colorado, Walker said. The cost of any damage must exceed the deductible limits in the policy, she added.
If a homeowner has damage, Walker recommends that they document the damage with a photo, then make any temporary repairs needed to prevent further damage, document the cost of materials or labor for the repairs and contact their agent or insurance company directly to initiate a claim. For more tips, go to www.rmiia.org.
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